★★★ Somnium FULL TIME HOBBY. CD/DL/LP
The Netherlands’ prime psych-head takes a left turn into musical impressionism. Jacco Gardner’s first two albums showcased an adroit skill with crafting a baroqueinfused psychedelic pop. The inventive Dutchman’s third is something else. All instrumental and eschewing a standard song-by-song structure, it is a suite taking its title from the ground-breaking 1608 Johannes Kepler fantasy telling the tale of an imaginary journey to the moon. It was the first science fiction novel. The album’s sleeve carries a quote from polymath philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche on truth not being an absolute. It seems Gardner’s mind has become even more expanded than it was previously. Overall, the resultant opus seamlessly fuses the ethos of Bo Hansson’s first two solo albums, Atem-era Tangerine Dream and third album Kraftwerk: the North European sound of c1973. Throughout, a twinkly otherworldliness is counterbalanced by rhythmic excursions evoking the passage between one liminal world and another. The only appropriate adjective for Somnium is ‘far-out’.