Heard a bit from this one when I posted a track a few weeks back, but now the release is out in the wild and its definitely one worth gettin a copy on the speakers. Gardner is one half of RSTB faves Elkhorn and he’s hooked up with a few more familiar faces for his first solo album on Eiderdown. With Andy Cush (Garcia Peoples) and Ryan Jewell (Mosses, Chris Forsyth) backing him as the rhythm section in a pre-Covid recording at Black Dirt, its a formidable lineup all the way down. As is the case when he’s in Elkhorn, Gardner primarily focuses on the electric here, weaving a set of shorn-earth blues and desolate picking that walks through Sun City / Rick Bishop territory on more than one occasion. There’s a fraught tension that runs through the eponymous album, that plunges the players into a twilight psychedelic territory, with Jewell filling out the percussive element with bells and shakers channeling a bit of a Sun Ra, Alice Coltrane aura on “The Road To Eastern Garden.”
While splicing some disparate styles, from the raga, the aforementioned psychedelic jazz, night-possessed blued, and high plains heat shimmer strummers, the assembled players knit the pieces with a deft hand. There’s a soundtrack quality to the release offering moments that feel transformative, jaded, and conflicted. Personally, I’m hoping that this isn’t a one off for this lineup, as this album seems like the vibe between them just getting started. Whether that’s the case or not, Drew’s first under his own name is a high point in an already stellar 2021 from Eiderdown. Recommended going deep on this one with the sun low on the horizon.
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