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GARDENIA

Eclectic Prog • Argentina


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Gardenia biography
Gardenia is a progressive rock group formed in 2005 in Salta, Argentina, after the dissolution of two relatively known bands from the Saltenian underground scene.

Always with an original sound, but loosely influenced by acts like King Crimson, The Mars Volta, La Máquina de Hacer Pájaros, Pink Floyd, Ástor Piazzolla, Luis Alberto Spinetta's work, folk music, some jazz and blues, Gardenia makes an experimental/progressive approach on music, taking special care of the melodies and vocal parts.

The band's work takes extreme care not only of the music, as a complete set of projections and visual art on their shows and in their lyrics, also heavily influenced by Spinetta's work, the band shows lots of dreamy landscapes, filled with philosophical questions, mythology, love stories and dreams of personal growth.

Gardenia has released so far two EPs (Vol.1 - 2006, Sidera Visus - 2006), one studio album (Invocación a los Pájaros - 2010) and a DVD/EP (UMMO - 2011); all of them show the band's original sound and can be streamed and downloaded for free on the band's Bandcamp page (http://gardeniaespacial.bandcamp.com).

:::Lima96:::

Gardenia official website

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Gardenia: Iii [CD]Gardenia: Iii [CD]
Sonic Records
Audio CD$13.93
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GARDENIA discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GARDENIA top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.43 | 8 ratings
Invocacion a los Pajaros
2009
3.83 | 12 ratings
El Libro de los Soles
2013

GARDENIA Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GARDENIA Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GARDENIA Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GARDENIA Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

2.00 | 1 ratings
Sidera Visus
2006
3.95 | 3 ratings
Ummo
2011

GARDENIA Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Invocacion a los Pajaros by GARDENIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.43 | 8 ratings

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Invocacion a los Pajaros
Gardenia Eclectic Prog

Review by apps79
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars From the region of Salta hails this Argentinian band, beginning its activities in 2005 around guitarist/singer Ivan Luis, bassist/singer Sergio Caram, guitarist Pablo Moreno and keyboardist Adrian Moroni.They recorded a 10-min. EP the following year with drummer Adrian Chocobar, featuring also past members Facundo Salvatierra on keyboards, Nathaniel Fernandez on drums and Rupert Corimayo on guitar.Three years later Gardenia would add Guido Rojas in their line up, who played synthesizers and the bandoneon.As a sextet they recorded their first full-length album ''Invocacion a los pajaros'', released in 2009 as a free download.

Gardenia unleash their tendency towards creating short and very dense tunes with both lyrical and instrumental flexibility, mixing Latin-spiced soundscapes with atmospheric textures and powerful guitar riffs.Each track is vastly different from the previous or following one, making it a bit hard to fully focus in the listening.Thirteen tracks combine for a work around 35 minutes long, characterized by its furious rhythms, complex breaks and pronounced vocals and the music shifts constantly between bombastic, almost Prog Metal grooves and lighter passages with mellow psychedelic touches and strong Ethnic/Latin vibes through the clever use of bandoneon.The performances are quite tight with solid thematic changes, the question arises though from the combination of so many different influences in such a short album, which even features some discreet jazzy flavors in a few cuts.Let's get clear this band has tons of talent, the music is pretty great, complex and maybe each individual piece has its own decent value.The problem comes from the rather inconsistent result as a sum.However it is really hard to pass by these emphatic grandiose parts, the comfort the group changes the sceneries and the extremely high level of technique.

A free listening of this album will convince you of Gardenia's impressive skills.A more consistent songwriting would also lift this band to another level.For the moment, ''Invocacion a los pajaros'' is a warmly recommended for all fans of diverse, complicated and adventurous Progressive Rock.

 Sidera Visus by GARDENIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2006
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Sidera Visus
Gardenia Eclectic Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

— First review of this album —
2 stars This is apparently the first release from this incredibly varied (and very good, to boot) band, released several years before any of their later work. With that information in mind, I have to say that I went into this release with rather low expectations. Gardenia's later material is so tight and so polished that I suppose I just assumed that they must have worked up to it, and so I was expecting something rather amateurish here. While this certainly isn't the work of a band at its peak, however, there's still some quality stuff on this very short EP.

The 16-second "Intro" provides a bit of background ambience before "Y en las mañanas" begins. I have to say that it is probably the weakest of the proper songs on this release. With obvious nods to Pink Floyd and some nice variation provided by folky as well as metal elements, it has a lot of promise but never really delivers on any of it, with its 2 and a half minute run-time proving far too short to develop fully the ideas the track presents.

Things get better with "Lida," which I think could have fit in passably well on Gardenia's excellent later releases. Starting off with a frenetic guitar part, "Lida" is for the most part a very psychedelic track with vocal melodies and harmonies that recall, of all people, Italian songwriter Lucio Battisti. I can hear a shade of Mars Volta influence as here as well, a trait that would grow far stronger on the group's further releases. "Lida" should provide the example of how short prog songs ought to be done, with a lot of far-reaching influences and sounds blended together very well in the scant space of under 3 minutes.

"Ganimedes" is another super-short track that just provides a bit of atmosphere before "Ciclamén" starts. Beginning with a bit of a Yes vibe, the track quickly veers into psychedelic territory, though there's brief snippets of metal thrown in as well. I can honestly even hear some similarities to the Beatles, though they're fairly fleeting. Overall, though, this is an excellent song that crams a lot of content into a very small amount of time without sounding forced.

However, despite the two very good songs here, Sidera Visus is absolutely outclassed by Gardenia's later releases. "Lida" and "Ganimedes" are good songs, but they certainly don't stick out any more than anything on Gardenia's later work. Additionally, at only 10 minutes, this EP can't compete with the later work from any kind of holistic standpoint, either. If you have a very small amount of time with which to check out new groups, this might be a good introduction, but otherwise there's not much reason to listen to this unless you're simply starving for Gardenia material. Fans/collectors only sounds about right.

2/5

 Ummo by GARDENIA album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2011
3.95 | 3 ratings

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Ummo
Gardenia Eclectic Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars This being the second review I've done of this excellent eclectic prog band, I'm quickly learning that brevity is no hindrance to good music. In a genre often bloated with multi-hour albums and disc-long epics, it's a bit refreshing to discover a band that can do so much with so little. Though "Ummo" is but an EP, clocking in at just under 18 minutes, it's nonetheless an incredibly varied and satisfying listen and a good reminder that no matter how long a release may be there's no substitute for good composition.

"Tras la aurora: las doradas manzanas del sol" starts off with an introduction that, like much of Gardenia's previous album, reminds me heavily of the Mars Volta's quieter moments. Languid bass, guitar, piano and perucussion interlace under high pitched vocals before a wonderfully melodic, almost Floydian solo from the guitar begins. As the music begins to grow a little bit heavier courtesty of a distorted guitar part, vocals re-enter, embarking on a brief but soaring section that leads into an even more intense ramping up: the guitars speed up and go from merely existing to full-on riffing and the vocals almost begin to approach growling. A much more subdued piano and guitar section provides a break, with prominent percussion and psychedelic guitars moving the track towards jazzier territory. This is but a brief respite, however, as the crunchy guitar riffs soon return full throttle to create a sonic blitz that closes out the track.

"Así el tiempo se va..." follows this up on a spacier note, beginning with a swirling introduction of ambient synth sounds that hearkens to the music of Klaus Schulze. I really am impressed with Gardenia's ability to come off the hard rocking ending of the first track and go straight into a very convincing electronic/ambient section, but I suppose my previous listenings to the group's album Invocacion a las Pajaros should have convinced me that variety is not something Gardenia lacks. Indeed, their commitment to avoiding similarity in their work is admirable, with this particular track moving from Krautish ambient to a more post-rock-ish flavor once vocals come in. The ambient electronics remain, but percussion and bass are added, giving the latter half of the track a rather shoegazing feel that works very well and as a result ends up being one of my favorite tracks in my (admittedly limited) listenings to this group.

The EP closes on a much shorter track, "Un punto azul." Immediately establishing a rather ominous, cinematic tone, the track blends elements from the first two tracks, with a definite psychedelic heaviness reminiscent of the first track but also a decidedly languid delivery that recalls the second. I mentioned in my other Gardenia review that the group can pack a lot of punch into a very short amount of time, and though this closer is only about half the length of the first two tracks it's no less effective and is another excellent addition to this short-but- sweet release.

I've always liked the EP format because it gives artists a chance to try new things without a lot of pressure. Ummo is understandably less focused than was Invocacion a las Pajaros, but it also shows a different side of Gardenia; one that didn't have a chance to come through on the previous album. Where a 7 and a half minute shogaze/ambient piece like "Así el tiempo se va..." would have sounded incredibly out of place on Invocacion, here it can merely exist in its own space and be judged on its own merits. So, while you shouldn't go in to Ummo with the same expectations you would have for a so called "full-length" album, this is a great listen in its own right as well.

4/5

 Invocacion a los Pajaros by GARDENIA album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.43 | 8 ratings

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Invocacion a los Pajaros
Gardenia Eclectic Prog

Review by VanVanVan
Prog Reviewer

4 stars I'm not sure I've ever heard an album that was described so fittingly by the label "eclectic prog." Not content to have a variety of styles scattered throughout multiple tracks, Gardenia instead elects to include multiple genres in every single song. Of course, this is not unknown within the prog world, but what really makes it impressive is how seamlessly the group is able to pull it off as well as how short an amount of time they need to incorporate this genre bending. There's not a single song on this album over 5 minutes long, but there's also not a single moment that feels rushed, forced, or overly busy. A very eclectic album indeed, and one that's very much worth a listen.

"El Simurg" begins the album on a fairly calm note, with floaty, almost ambient keyboard and guitar parts creating a thoroughly psychedelic atmosphere. Some nature recordings add to the ambience, while percussion and bass keep a consistent but non-intrusive beat. It's a very cool opening for the album, but it's definitely more of an introduction than a song proper, and it's not until "Golem" begins that the listener truly begins to get a sense of what this album is all about. Sounding like an incredible three way cross between a klezmer band, a metal band and a south American folk group, "Golem" is an incredible song with some definite similarities to The Mars Volta, though decidedly more melodic and a bit less insane.

"Milkimeda" starts up with some punchy bass before a psychedelic keyboard part comes in. The vocals, when they appear here, are significantly more laid back and melodic then on "Golem," as is the overall feel of the track. There's even a killer, jazzy keyboard solo. The end of the track picks up a little bit, adding some more distorted guitar riffing before fading out and transitioning with some swirling sounds into "Viento y viajar." This is probably the most chilled-out track that's appeared on the album yet, with a relaxed, open bass line keeping the rhythm behind gorgeous vocal harmonies and bittersweet, folky melodies. Like several of the tracks before it, "Viento?" picks up in intensity (and heaviness) towards the end, but it never loses its rather calming theme, even as the instrumentation gets a bit louder.

"Mammatus" begins with some interesting interplay between drums, keyboards and guitars, with complex rhythms and high-pitched vocals again inviting comparisons to the Mars Volta. However, like "Golem," "Mammatus" has a strong folk flavor that helps set it apart, as well as a brief section in the middle (and again at the end) that almost approaches extreme metal. Gardenia really has a lot of skill at packing a lot of sound into a small amount of time, and "Mammatus" is an excellent example of that.

"Donde el mar" follows, starting off with a down-tempo, insistent drum part before spacey keyboards and guitar come in. Those same high pitche, Mars Volta-esque vocals again return, but "Donde el mar" as a whole is in general far more relaxed than anything TMV have done, despite the multiple metal-flamenco breakdowns that occur in brief intervals throughout the track. There's also a rather doom-flavored section towards the end of the track, proving that there's no limit to the number of genres Gardenia can manage to get into a single song. Amazingly, it never feels disjointed or forced, which is really a testament to how good the composition is here.

"Se hagan vida" is another genre bender, with proggy, technical metal parts layered over folky melodies and instrumentation in a way that somehow comes off sounding perfectly seamless and connected instead of needlessly juxtaposed. Another pseudo-tech metal section makes an appearance towards the end of the track as well, with almost-growled vocals and frenetic, heavy guitar parts. A fade into a wash of distortion seamlessly transitions into "Padmasan," which begins with a vocal section backed by a groovy bass line and some spacey, floaty guitar. This, in turn, transitions into a guitar and bass crescendo that itself resolves into a folky synth solo. Crushingly heavy riffs toward the end of the track round out the sonic palette, leaving "Padmasan" with a fascinating blend of sounds that makes for an incredibly varied and satisfying track.

"Carlssin" begins with perhaps the most intense intro on the album, with a complex, rhythmic guitar part that definitely has a bit of a math-metal vibe to it. This quickly gives way, however, to a haunting blend of synth sounds and spare guitar, over which a powerful vocal section reigns, replete with some of the best melodies on the album. The math-metal returns in the second half of the track, trading the spotlight back and forth with a little psychedelic folk melody while a combination of clean and growled vocals sing in the space above. The 7 second "Maskaram" serves as a sort of postlude to the track, adding a brief guitar melody to the end of the song.

"Mil veces" closes out the album on a decidedly psychedelic note, with swirling synths, acid- drenched guitar and hypnotic, throbbing bass providing the background for delicate, ethereal vocals. This transitions to a more uptempo theme midway through the track, with traces of folk, metal and symphonic music all blending together to create a singular, awe- inspiring finale for this incredibly diverse album.

Albums like this are perfect counter-arguments to those critics of progressive rock who would claim the genre is stagnating. While there are hints of other groups on this album, overall it feels incredibly original and fresh. Though it is quite short (just a little under 36 minutes), "Invocation a los Pajaros" is an incredibly engaging album, and while I can't guarantee you'll like it, I think I can pretty safely bet you won't be bored.

4/5

Thanks to epignosis for the artist addition.

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