Telepathy. ESP. Thought transference. Ley line riding. Welcome to Possum’s Lunar Gardens: a psychic exploration of the collective cortex, the capture of cosmic energy and the alignment of astral flux.
Entirely self-produced and recorded in communal sessions outside city limits, the quintet of Brandon Bak, Tobin Hopwood, Patrick Lefler, Christopher Shannon, and Bradley Thibodeau intently explored new directions at the intersection of influence and intuition. Lunar Gardens’ only passing resemblance to the group’s 2019 debut Space Grade Assembly comes in the jagged guitar and driving rhythm of opening track Clarified Budder. As the LP veers into heretofore uncharted realms; jazz, komishe, funk, and psych all project forth in waves of cerebral creation. From the succinct Gala At The Universe City into the flowing Heywood Floyd, the LP's extended palette and extended chords provide the perfect support for Hopwood’s trademark horn-like guitar splatter. Add in Gala’s observations that “Sacred shapes are every place, they are a sign” and one can almost see the universal meeting of the minds.
Possum elaborate on the contrast between Space Grade Assembly and Lunar Gardens:
“While Space Grade Assembly dealt more with space in a cold literal sense, Lunar Gardens’ approach is more 'space as metaphor for consciousness in all of its infinite expanding fractal forms', a surrealist escapist space fantasy of impossible spaces — the type of place you might go when the things are too heavy here in 3D. If we were talking movies, one might say Space Grade Assembly is 2001: A Space Odyssey and Lunar Gardens is The Holy Mountain.”
As the album folds forward with equal doses of precision and improvisation, the breadth of Lunar Gardens becomes even more apparent. Ranging from the psych jazz of Guest Of The Moon to the musical mission statement that is Leyline Riders, with its Mwandishi era Hancock groove, Possum achieve that magical feat of drawing on the past while sounding completely contemporary. Perhaps Leyline’s questioning verse, “Can these prisms modulate space outside of time?” has already been answered; one just needs to listen closely. The astonishing ensemble playing continues for the remainder of the album, through the staccato groove of Moonjuice to the space jazz drone of Dance Of The Eclipse, all culminating in the title track: the Wyatt-esque Lunar Gardens. This finale acts as the comedown, a reading of the sights and sounds one has just experienced transversing the album’s universe and ensuring a soft landing for all.
Not to be outdone Lunar Gardens is presented in its physical form with stunning effect by Possum’s constant collaborators The Oscillitarium. Sarah and Sophia Bassakyros with Tobin Hopwood went deep into experimental photographic techniques utilizing light from multiple projectors, mylar reflectors, crystals, glass, gelatinous globs, plantlife and liquid manipulated colour to weave an enchanting lunar ecosystem for the album’s artwork. They created visual feedback loops by rephotographing and reprojecting images in video, film and polaroids; nothing was artificially enhanced in post production. The mixing of digital and analogue is akin to the band’s own process of nodding to the past while gazing to the future.
The results are prominently featured on the vinyl’s album jacket and printed inner sleeve. A special effect, limited edition will be available in a 4 colour combo (Cobalt, Tangerine, Orchid, and Violet) Colour-in-colour with splatter pressing never previously attempted by the pressing plant plant and will also include a 12 page booklet of additional full bleed images taken by The Oscillitarium.