Exposé Online banner

The Gardening Club — The Riddle
(Gonzo Multimedia , 2018, CD)

by Jon Davis, Published 2019-05-14

The Riddle Cover art

Martin Springett’s 1983 album called The Gardening Club is a pretty obscure item. I do not personally know anyone who’s heard it, though it was reissued in 2017 by Gonzo Multimedia and seems to have generated a bit of interest at that time. Apparently that reissue spurred Springett into reviving the project, and now, 35 years after the debut, there is a new Gardening Club album. This is an expertly made set of gentle folk-rock with some progressive tendencies. It’s a very English-sounding music, and one could easily expect to see Anthony Phillips listed in the credits — but no, this is a Canadian group featuring Springett with Norm MacPherson, Sean Drabbit, Wayne Kozak, and James MacPherson (I can’t find any listings saying who plays what other than Norm MacPherson being described as a guitarist). Other comparisons might include Ciccada and Celeste, for those familiar with European music. In addition to composing the music, Springett is responsible for the lovely artwork. He is a retired graphic artist, and has album credits going back to the 70s including Argent’s Circus album cover. “The Riddle Overture” that starts the album is one of the pieces that approaches progressive rock, with a full-band sound featuring some lovely synthesizer and slide guitar parts backed by acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and what sounds like a small string section. “Whirled Away” sounds kind of like a cross between a George Harrison song and something Anthony Phillips might have done on Sides. Other songs stake out related territories, even bringing to mind some of Peter Blegvad’s work. There are lovely interludes with finger-picked guitars and fretless bass to inject a hint of jazz; “Pauline” features a bassoon as the lead instrument; and I can’t help noticing the outstanding slide guitar on most of the tracks. The Riddle is a beautiful album, superbly crafted and full of nice touches without many hints of darkness. Normally I might be put off by this lack, but The Gardening Club drew me into their world, and I thank them for it.


Filed under: New releases, 2018 releases

Related artist(s): The Gardening Club / Martin Springett

More info
http://gardeningclubmusicandart.ca/the-riddle

Latest news

2020-02-18
Jon Christensen RIP – Word reaches us today of the passing of Norwegian drummer Jon Christensen, a musician whose sensitive playing did much to help define the atmospheric sound of ECM jazz recordings. His work with Jan Garbarek, Bobo Stenson, Terje Rypdal, and many more was sensitive and varied, adapting to a wide variety of styles while maintaining a distinct identity of its own. Christensen was 76. » Read more

2020-01-21
Gong Announces UK Tour for 2020 – Having spent the last few years touring the world, including dates in Japan with psych legend Steve Hillage, multiple headline European tours and festivals, America’s Cruise to the Edge festival, a South America headline tour, and a headline performance at Tomorrow Festival in China, the band have won the hearts of both traditional and modern Gong fanbases. During this live journey, Gong has delved further into the truly psychedelic, exploratory, and mind-expanding side of the music. » Read more

2020-01-15
Carlos Alvarado RIP – Carlos Alvarado, pioneering composer, multi-instrumentalist and pioneer of progressive rock and electronic experimental music in Mexico, passed away January 14th, 2020 at age 68 after a two year battle with cancer.  » Read more

2020-01-12
Wolfgang Dauner RIP – Pianist Wolfgang Dauner, one of the pioneers of both European free jazz and jazz rock, has died at the age of 84. With his own groups and with the United Jazz+Rock Ensemble, his playing and compositions were a prominent presence in European jazz from the mid-60s until just recently. » Read more

2020-01-12
Michael Allison RIP – Michael Allison, who since 1997 has been recording as Darshan Ambient, passed away on January 9th after a long and brave battle with cancer. He has been at at the forefront of the new ambient/electronic music scene, with over eighteen releases to his credit. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Frogg Café - The Safenzee Diaries – First things first. This is one of the absolute best sounding live albums this writer has heard, made even more surprising because nearly every track across the 2CD set was recorded at a different...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues