Exposé print issues (1993-2011)
Edena Gardens — Agar
(El Paraiso EPR070, 2023, LP / CD / DL)
Edena Gardens — Live Momentum
(El Paraiso EPR071, 2023, LP / DL)
by Peter Thelen, Published 2023-05-18
We last checked in with Edena Gardens in January of this year (for a review of their debut self-titled album released end-October 2022), and as I write on this last day of April they are already back with two new albums, one studio endeavor and another recorded at the Jaiyede Jazz festival, October 22, 2022, at Theatre Momentum in Odense, Denmark, which actually pre-dates the release of their first album. The band features Jakob Skøtt of Causa Sui on drums, Nicklas Sørensen of Papir on guitars, and Martin Rude of Sun River on baritone guitar handling bass duties, and there are no vocals, so this, as one might surmise, is full-on psychedelic immersion. After reviewing their first effort I was afraid that Edena Gardens might be a one-and-done, but with two new albums available only half a year later, they seem to be here to stay. Agar opens with the seven minute “Forst,” and immediately the listener will be reminded of the jangly, swirling, heavily effected sound of Jimi Hendrix, somewhere between Electric Ladyland and The Cry of Love, guitars howling gently and soaring on high, a style that one will recognize at several points throughout the album’s eight tracks, simmering in overt psychedelicism. Another one of those powerful bluesy cuts is “Veil,” one that just drips with halucinogenic brilliance, building slowly over its twelve-plus minute duration. “Dreich” wanders freely as it goes along its four-minute path, with a bit of backing organ added for good measure. Even shorter cuts like “Halcyon Days” and “Ascender” prove that they can get the job done in much less time, leading this listener to believe that we are dealing with a songwriting style that is primarily borne of improvisation. Even with that said, there isn’t a wasted minute here anywhere, every piece is thoroughly captivating; recordings that are this engaging are rare and few.
Which brings us to Live Momentum, three killer long tracks spread out across thirty-five minutes, the title cut occupying all of the second side of the LP, though we open with “Now Here Nowhere,” a song that featured prominently on the band’s eponymous debut release. The aforementioned “Veil” is here also, occupying the remainder of the album’s first side; in its live form, it’s a wild and stirring adventure, probably a bit more intense than its studio counterpart, with a bit more hard and gritty edge to it. We ease into “Live Momentum” slowly but with purpose as it unfolds across its seventeen minute duration, a slow-moving piece that builds with every measure, and by three minutes in we're in screaming psychedelic guitar territory, going back and forth through cycles of amazingly intense group improv and more gentle spaces. Definitely. Live Momentum offers ample evidence that Edena Gardens can pull it off in a live situation.
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