Garland of Hours' self-titled CD isn't a Dischord release, but all the trio's members have played with Fugazi, Dischord's flagship act, and one of them, multi-instrumentalist Brendan Canty, is a founding member of that band. The chamber-rock group's central figure is cellist Amy Domingues, who also plays keyboards and sometimes sings. Two of these seven pieces, which range from the album's 12-minute jazz-classical-minimalist centerpiece "Esperance/Annamite" to the traditional ballad "Katie Cruel," are Domingues solo showcases. The threesome's melding of genres isn't especially bold, but it is skillful and consistently melodious. Of Washington's many experimental post-post-punk combos, Garland of Hours is the only one that owes more to Erik Satie than to Black Sabbath."
Mark Jenkins - Washington Post (Nov 28, 2003)
Unfulfilled with touring and recording for bands as a cellist and a bass player, Domingues felt she needed to confront her musical issues. Domingues produced a self-recorded demo, authoring five instrumental songs for a 1957 Wurlitzer. After playing two shows, she began singing.
"I'd never taken voice lessons, I just never considered myself a singer. It slowly started happening," Domingues says.
A classically trained cellist and private music instructor, Domingues has toured and done session work with independent powerhouses such as Ted Leo, Jenny Toomey (while she was a soloist and with Tsunami), songstress Edith Frost, and Jets to Brazil.
"I am influenced a lot by formal composition," Domingues explains. "I was never really passionate about [composition] while I was studying. I didn't have the creative maturity to put it into perspective. I do use some classical influences when I'm thinking about writing music and thinking about which chords work together to evoke a certain feeling.
"I'm really into color," she says. "Scriabin [a Russian composer] had this whole theory of tones as colors and seeing sound or hearing colors. I've always been into the idea of trying to paint. I use that metaphor when I'm teaching because kids really understand that. Painting sound. Painting a landscape."
Earlier in the evening, founding Fugazi member Brendan Canty illustrates how he became involved with Garland of Hours. Doing soundtrack work, Canty met Domingues when he needed a cellist. A friend of Jerry Busher (one of Garland of Hours' three drummers), Domnigues performed session work for the Fugazi album The Argument.
"Amy improvises. She writes off the top of her head really well. Her technique is flawless. For me as a producer, it was just really refreshing. We just hit it off immediately, working on these TV shows, collaborating on the sound," Canty describes.
Playing solo as Garland of Hours, Domingues "had just been playing a show and asks if Jerry and I want to play her music," Canty says. "She'd have parts and we'd arrange them. All this Garland of Hours stuff... nothing happens without her writing."
Bonnie MacAllister - Venus E-Zine March 2003 (Mar 31, 2004)