The music often has a largo-esque, dreamy quality. There is a kind of primal archaicism of simple rural Americana or ages past--not really like the shape-note hymns that were a part of early American Colonial musical life and survived in various permutations in rural areas. Not really and yet there is something non-academic about the voicings and harmonies that follow a path of earthly "unschooled" expression like that. And yet it is a Garland sound and feel. The second quartet is a bit more complex rhythmically and sonically, yet both works work together to give a unified impression/expression, at least to me. And it is the sure hand of Garland that constructs a world that is not truly archaic in that the music is written in the full light of our present-day musical consciousness, and so there is a meta-presence there, so to speak, that generally would not be in some earlier musical expression of this kind, made for unselfconscious social music making in a local place. That is inevitable and not necessarily a bad thing, of course.
These are highly original, very moving, beautiful works. They have their own logic, primal but transcendent. If it's post-anything, it's also pre-post-anything as well. What's important is the listening experience. You tend to savor each intervalic expression, each harmonic foundation as somehow looking back, forward and inside the memory-self to a place that gives us pause, brings us to a place before most everything was what it is today or when it will be what it currently is not. It's music that is the opposite of a cell phone. It does only one thing. It doesn't add things to the one thing but continues the thing until it has been made existent. . . then it goes on . . . to do another thing something like the first thing without being in any way identical. So there is nothing in the way of classical form going on here that I can discern, nor is there a collage collation of many things getting short spaces to be themselves. It's not either.
These are landmark string quartets of our current era. Very highly recommended.