The last record from Edena Gardens has barely left my turntable and the band’s already set with not one, but two releases for 2023. Accompanying an excellent live LP that captures the band in fine form at Jaiyede Jazz festival, where they explore their more psychedelic improv side, the band has also crawled back into the cavern of contemplative aural landscapes for another studio set. Feeling like an extension of their eponymous debut, Agar again finds the members of Causa Sui, Papir, London Odense Ensemble, and Sun River assembling for a record that weaves its intentions between Chicago post-rock textures and crystalline psychedelics that carve up light into painted kaleidoscope patterns. There’s an aqueous aura to the album that feels right at home in the deep blues and aquamarine swirls of the album’s cover.
Where the live set finds the band leaning into the collected players’ embracing of their psychedelic jazz strenghts, the record doesn’t let them skew that slippery, instead feeling like a meticulously crafted well of darkness that builds into towering tempests of sound. The album feels almost topographical, stretching out into chasms and crevices, stalagmites and sheer walls of waveform that hide away from the sun. It’s an extension of the debut, but also a deeper dive into the auditory expanse that the band seem to be mapping. From the breathless build of centerpiece “Veil,” to the looser amble of “Dreich” and “Ascender,” the record proves to be the kind that a listener can get lost in for days.
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