The placid aural landscape that opens Jardin des Étoiles sets the tone for this collection: contemplative, slightly woozy and with a hint of danger. The artist describes the album as seven mood-orientated spaces and starting points for travel and exploration.” I’d say that’s a description that exhibits some healthy self-knowledge; these pieces are evocative, yes, but in a way that leaves things almost entirely open to being processed and filtered through the sensibilities of the listener. That means that what you get out of the experience will be different from my takeaway.
Each track has its own character. There are enough recurring textural touch points to hold the entire work together cohesively, but there’s variety as well. The artist’s own press materials quote a review that likens the music to Side Two of David Bowie’s Low, and that’s a spot-on analysis. Strangely, Jardin des Étoiles doesn’t remind me at all of Brian Eno’s work. A vaguely Middle Eastern character seems to reveal itself in “Jardin des Étoiles III,” but you may hear something different entirely; that open-endedness is a defining quality of this release. And even when identifiable instruments present themselves, they’re in service to the album’s aesthetic in a way that blurs the sonic lines between those instruments.
Markedly different from 2019’s Pale Mirror, Jardin des Étoiles is wholly lacking in that record’s pop sensibility. The name may be the same, but Blue Glass’ latest release is about as different from its predecessor as can be imagined. The seven pieces invite the listener on a trip, but it’s an understated one: a trip that’s psychedelic if that’s what you’re after, and meditative if that’s your preference.
The gatefold sleeve defines minimalism one has to open it to find any text at all; even the spine is blank. The records themselves are pressed on translucent orange vinyl.