Drew Gardner’s on a hell of a run over the past couple of years, with two Elkhorn releases finding light, and an archival collaboration with John Tchicai, Marco Eneidi, Roberto De Haven, and Vytas Nagisetty coming out on Astral Spirits earlier in the year. His latest album from Feeding Tube splits the psych and jazz nodes along a slippery axis. Revisiting the trio he’d formed on his eponymous debut for Eiderdown in ’21, Gardner finds himself alongside Garcia Peoples’ Andy Cush on bass and the ubiquitous (at least in these circles) Ryan Jewell on drums. Like the first session, this was recorded by Jason Meagher as part of his Black Dirt (now Drowned Lands) sessions. The record sharpens the impulses that arose on the Eiderdown tape, spreading out into four longform pieces that offer up a hazed vision of exploratory psych and heady, hazed post-Dead jazz.
That Raccoon Records, and Joe Bauer in particular, again come up as a touchstone this year only serves to prove the longevity of that lost classic. While Flowers In Space is nowhere as shaggy as Moonset, it does share its low-slung touch — a quality of feeling like it’s constantly coiling, letting off the tension to almost spring, but never quite fully embracing the entropy. The quality comes through most expertly on “Sun Dagger,” the album opener that finds Gardner’s guitar slipping through the humid clouds of the cosmos with languid ease. Likewise, standout “Birds In And Out” has a slink to it that exemplifies the album’s smoked glass glide. As I’d said, Drew’s been part of some exemplary releases this year, but this one ranks among his best yet.