Listening to Sun Secrets from German duo The Cosmic Garden is like having a friend show up who apparently wants to have a good time, but then halfway through the visit gets a little too serious and rambles a lot and generally overstays his welcome. This album is a mixed bag of concepts that in many places don’t seem to gel. When it works, it’s spot on. The opener, “Instellar Waves” kicks things off in grand style, rapid-fire glitchy beats laying down a serrated sound-bed Sigi Hummer and Tibor Friedman then proceed to slash at it with dubby guitars, percolating synth melodies and a big, spacey, 70s rock sensibility. Like I say, off to a good start. They then shift into a quieter space for the start of “Absteig in die Unterwelt” (which, early on, uses a lifted throat-singing sample), an interesting bit of near-ambient drift–and then it begins to unravel for me. A tangle of echoing piano shows up briefly, some chanting, neither of which ever to get comfortable. The track loses its way, and I lose interest. This is what I find happens too often on Sun Secrets–the pieces seem to be too long for Hummer and Friedman to comfortably move them through to a logical place, and in trying to shift gears, they just make things clunky. “In Love With Rosy Rosy,” for example, starts out slowly and a little waywardly, but manages to find, a couple minutes along, something of a workable groove. A lounge-worthy beat enters, along with a punchy bass riff, but suddenly the duo play with the tempo and it feels like things go off kilter just a bit. What might be meant to be poly-rhythmic just turns into a jerky twist of intentions. “Im Tal Der Eremitten” is another ambient piece that rides on big bass pads spiraling downward. It starts a little awkwardly, but smooths itself out after a few minutes. But just as I find myself slotting into it, the sound starts falling apart. Redemption comes in the form of “Where Have All the Flowergirls Gone.” Loungey at the outset, it picks up another solid beat and then gets fantastically assailed by wailing, heavily fuzzed guitars. “Purpure Liquid Plejades” is another winner here, weird and off-putting at first, but resolving into a pulsing, guitar-driven joyride. At just over four minutes, it comes, makes it mark, and gets out. Thus, it works. There is potential on Sun Secrets but it feels like Hummer and Friedman are pushing themselves too far and they’re not able to satisfactorily close the deal on most tracks. There’s some improvisational basis at work, but you still need to be able to bring an improv full circle to make it work. It’s definitely worth your time to check out some samples and decide for yourself.
Available a number of places, all listed at Soundcloud.