[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS
(23:07; Melodic Revolution Records)
TRACK LIST: 1. Forever Leaving Home 6:03 2. Sister of Theft 2:48 3. Woman In the Waves 5:54 4. Finding Home 1:46 5. Rare Birds 3:49 6. A Dance to the Music of Time 2:47 LINEUP: Martin Springett - vocals, guitars, bass with: Kevin Laliberte - guitars, bass, sound design Drew Birston - bass Sari Alesh - violin
Prolusion. Canadian project THE GARDENING CLUB is the creative vehicle of composer and musician Martin Springett, named after his solo album from 1983. In recent years this project has sprung to life releasing new material at a steady pace, with two albums appearing in the last three years or so. At the start of 2021 an EP appeared, with A Gardening Club Project named as the artist name, something that indicates that this production is something of an offshoot from the regular one I presume. The EP is named "The Time Trilogy", and was released through US label Melodic Revolution Records. In the summer of 2021 an expanded version of this EP was released as a limited edition CD, featuring a further three songs.
Analysis. The material on this trilogy does take a few steps away from what I can recall The Gardening Club explored on their first two albums. At least the opening two songs, that to my ears mainly revolve around world music instruments and rhythms, with a wee bit of jazz thrown in for good measure alongside elements that may be pulled from either progressive rock or classical music, with chamber music the specific detail if the latter is the most correct one. A wide array of plucked and textured instruments come, go and fluctuate here, with rhythms added in and out as appropriate for the needs of the composition, with a nice array of different roles supplied by strings as the icing on the cake. Details that may possibly have more of an Asian origin or inspiration are noted on the first of these songs, as well as some other elements I generally note down as world music without further specifications, and I believe there may be some Indian or raga elements tucked in with for the shorter second track, alongside some spirited flamenco elements. Both of these have their own unique flavor, both of them with more of a foundation in world music than anything else in my opinion, and both of them haunting affairs to boot. The concluding song of the original version of the EP takes us more back to the kind of material I'd expect from The Gardening Club, material more rooted in rock music traditions. Folk music elements are a part of the totality here too, but much more toned down, with space and room for more atmospheric oriented passages like a dream laden guitar solo, floating keyboard textures and the acoustic guitar as well as the rhythms used in a less world music oriented manner in general. Rather different from the opening two tracks, but with points of reference that doesn't quite make this song the odd one out on this EP. The first of the new tracks on the expanded EP, 'Finding Home', is a most elegant blend of ambient textures, world music elements and an array of tonal and atonal details and effects that in sum conjures a sacral, mystical and haunting mood and atmosphere. The stuff that dreams are made of, and a creation showcasing just how magical music as an art form can be. 'Rare Birds' have more of an acoustic rock flavor to it, using multiple layers of contrasting effects to create a stunning and breathtaking song that maintains tension and interest with ease. Folk and world music elements flavor the proceedings on this composition as well, while a bit more carefully, but they become a tad more prominent towards the end. A special mention is merited for the manner in which lead and backing vocals are applied here, as well as the choice to opt for a big drum sound. Smaller details both issues I guess, but it is such smaller details that in sum elevates the listener experience. The final of the new trio of songs on this expanded EP combines a wandering elegant guitar motif with a flamenco style percussion pattern, with a soft and elegant symphonic texture gradually growing in as a top layer in the second half. A song a bit more laid back in stature and execution than the other songs, but a most charming creation nonetheless.
Conclusion. The original songs as well as the new material on the expanded version of this EP are interesting and inspiring, haunting and captivating, with Springett's lived in vocals and some inspired but subtle layered vocals and vocal harmonies as the icing on the cake. Perhaps not music that will be universally enjoyed, but those who get the music here will probably get it in a major way. If folk music, world music and mainly acoustic based music flavored with a touch of jazz and progressive rock sounds like your kind of music, this production should be well worth an inspection. Personally I find that both the original EP and the expanded version of it are brilliant productions, with the use of subtle elements as one of the most alluring elements throughout.
Progmessor: September 2021
[ SHORT REVIEWS | DETAILED REVIEWS - LIST | BANDLISTS ]