Last year our ears and minds were blessed with the release of Edena Gardens’ debut self-titled release. The trio is a supergroup of sorts; Nicklas Sørensen(guitar), Martin Rude(guitar, bass), and Jakob Skøtt(drums, percussion) are all involved in major creative forces musically, including Causa Sui, Videodrones, Papir, Sun River, as well as Martin Rude Jakob Skøtt Duo and Rude Skøtt Osborn Trio. These three have not only haunted the hallowed halls of El Paraiso Records since the beginning, they’ve helped build the forward-thinking Danish record label into what it is today.
On the band’s debut release back in 2022 there were moments of quiet contemplation, blues-infused doom, and post-rock soundscapes perfect for the Dystopian future we’re heading toward. Imagine a combination of Earth, Sabbath, Tortoise, and This Will Destroy You and you’ll get an idea of the sound world Edena Gardens creates. Nicklas Sørensen lays out fluid guitar lines and melodic passages that meld the technical prowess of Steve Howe and John MacLaughlin with the blues-tinged psych of Jimi Hendrix and Michael Rother. Martin Rude is a musician that can pretty much jump in and do whatever is required; from back up rhythm guitar to powerful bass lines and everything in-between. Jakob Skøtt is a power hitter behind the kit, but he can swing with best of them. Imagine Bill Ward and Tony Williams in the same body and Skøtt is what they’d sound like.
With the three of them together it’s a powerfully-nuanced sound that subtly blows your mind.
Not to be just a one ‘n done project, Edena Gardens returns with their follow-up LP called Agar. The album picks up where the self-titled left off; a set of far-out and expanding tracks that bring to mind visions of mountainous horizons, darkening skies, and swirling contemplations put to music. It expands Edena Gardens’ sonic palate, adding new colors, new vibes, and further cements the band as a premier creative force.
“Forst” opens Agar on a windswept note. Dusty slide guitar, jangly notes, and drums in constant wave of motion, “Forst” paints vast open spaces like a cosmic Ry Cooder. It’s an absolutely gorgeous track that sets a new sonic course for Edena Gardens. “Sombra Del Mar” has a sunset mood to it, as if looking out over a vast open sea as the sun sets fire to the horizon. There’s a very Southwestern spirit in this song, as if the trio hailed from Mesa, El Paso, or Denton instead of Denmark.
There’s a decidedly less shaded vibe overall on Agar. Where Edena Gardens’ debut had more elements of ethereal doom and ambient blues, Agar is more overcast moods with moments of light. “Halcyon Days” shutters with echoing guitar notes and a touch of Daniel Lanois, while “Montezuma” aches like the desert heat and the sizzling highway that leads to nowhere in-particular. There’s a stunning and lyrical guitar solo that leads us through the murk and mire.
There are two epic tracks, “Veil” and “Crescent Helix”. “Veil” is a bluesy, cataclysmic dirge that sways in the burning sun. Nicklas Sørensen goes ethereal in his delivery as echoing guitars melt into each other in slow motion burnout, while Rude and Skøtt give the song a solid foundation. And at 12 1/2 minutes this standout song spreads out and gives us all some zone out room.
“Crescent Helix” closes the album in a kind of sonic chaos, which melds into almost Bitches Brew territory. But the scene is more desert death trip in the year 2050 than NYC, 1969. There’s a feeling of it all nearly falling apart, but the song always seems to right itself at the last moment. The song evolves into a grand ending that finishes out on an almost soulful note.
Edena Gardens not only equals their debut but surpass it. They’ve bested themselves on the grand and beautiful Agar. They can still dirge with the best of em, but what this trio has proven is that they don’t want to repeat themselves. They want to bring something new to their sound, and they have.
Preorder ‘Agar’ over at El Paraiso Records.