The songs on the ‘The Indoor Gardener,’ are named for house plants, but don’t dive into this album expecting a collection of flower-child odes to home foliage. The creation of Duncan Thornley, who also creates wonderfully misfit dance music as Weird Weather with partner Laurence Horstman, the LP’s cuts are certainly evocative — but evocative of exactly what is very much up to the listener. Grounded in the familiar but steeped in exploration, it’s headspace material that’s fully accessible while retaining a touch of weirdness around the edges.
The music, at times, feels a bit reminiscent of the mid-’90s material of Mixmaster Morris’s work on his Irresistible Force guise, or Jonah Sharp’s work as Spacetime Continuum in that project’s more placid moments. Like the former, his music has a pleasingly lopsided flow; like the latter, he’s adept at infusing his crisp sound synthesis into something that feels naturalistic. But Thornley’s music feels less spectral and more succinct than either Morris’s or Sharp’s. Every note, every beat has a place of purpose in the mix; though the tracks can be dense, there’s no clutter. That’s likely, at least in part, due to Thornley’s background as an audio engineer — which would also explain why the sheer sound quality of the album is so clean and crisp, even over a less-than-stellar system (e.g.,, this writer’s crappy home set-up).
It’s a pleasurable listen — but that doesn’t mean that ‘Double Geography’ should be slotted into the chill-out section of your record collection. There’s perhaps a bit less of Weird Weather’s overt aural eccentricity here, but there’s also way too much going on in these tracks for them to fade into the background. ‘Golden Pothos’ punctuates a sun-rising synth pad with bell-tone melodics and a radio-transmission voice from the ether, before settling down into a low-slung groove via a rumbling bassline, while ‘Lucky Bamboo’ layers distant orchestration over a repeating pair of percussive drones. The bubbling tones of ‘Yucca’ seem cheerful, but a series of descending chords lend a hint of shadow; the too-brief ‘Century Plant’ has its heavenly reverie interrupted by a series of dripping dings; “Dracaena” fills its dub spaces with crystalline pings and misty chords.
On the album’s finale, ‘A Drop of Water,’ a female voice gently narrates the tale of a driblet, from its fall from the sky through its journey as it flows among tree roots, into the river and finally to the sea, before it all begins again. The track is referencing the cyclical flow of nature, a marvel emphasized by its gently spiraling arrangement. These songs may not be about plants, precisely — but they are about life.