Coming soon: Mammoth Gardens ‘Slow Candle’

It’s spring, and it looks like something else has sprouted up within Mammoth Gardens.

This time, it’s a single release — digital only, for the time being — for a song that some of you who are familiar with one of my other musical exploits, Galore, might know from 2002’s ‘Parader’ album. This version, however, is radically different.

Some time in the late 1990s — I’m guessing maybe 1997 or 1998 — I was blocking out studio time with the amazing (and at the time, Halifax-based) producer/engineers Terry Pulliam and Laurence Currie, who were both running their own studios in town (SoundMarket and Idea of East, respectively). The band I had been with for the bulk of the ’90s, Cool Blue Halo, had just begun what seemed at the time to be an indefinite hiatus (thankfully, that status has changed to a degree) and I was aiming to do something quite different from the guitar-based power pop that CBH had carved out a reputation for. I was striving to do something more atmospheric, perhaps a little more electronic, something a little outside of my comfort zone. A local filmmaker had asked me to contribute one or two songs to a project he was working on, and that seemed like the perfect opportunity to branch out and try something. So, via sessions both at SoundMarket and Idea of East, under the ‘nom de plume’ of Electricity (I still think that’s a great band name, for the record — ubiquitous and calling for subversion, a la Television) I recorded a couple of tracks: ‘Sleepwalker’ (which was used in the film in some capacity) and ‘Slow Candle.’ My memory of the events is not photographic, unfortunately, but I believe initial recording was done at Terry’s studio and more tracks were added at Laurence’s with Laurence also handling the final mix of at least ‘Slow Candle.’

I have no idea why I didn’t release ‘Slow Candle’ at the time. Perhaps it was because I was in the process of plotting a short-lived first stab at living in Toronto, or because it was somewhat left of centre compared to the other stuff I was demoing with Halo’s drummer, Glenn MacCulloch, which eventually was released as the first EP from Galore, ‘Pilot Light.’ Either way, the track was put aside and resuscitated somewhat for the first Galore full-length album, ‘Parader,’ albeit in a much more stripped-down fashion, with just acoustic guitar, piano and vocal.

Fast forward 24 years or so, and I’m sifting through storage bins housing assorted bits and pieces of a bygone life, and I stumble upon a CD master for the original ‘Slow Candle.’ I pop it into a CD player and instantly I’m transported back to that time of experimentation, dabbling in all forms of studio wizardry with Terry and Laurence, with an exploratory mindset that was determined to create something new to us, and hopefully to others.

Sometimes one is more comfortable in leaving the past in the past, but in this instance, I thought that bringing this original version of ‘Slow Candle’ out of the shadows would provide an interesting curiosity for those who are familiar with the Galore version of the song, and perhaps a fresh experience for those who don’t know the song at all. For me, it’s certainly been both.

This will be available for streaming and download purchase via the usual outlets, through DistroKid, with a release date TBA (but expect it sooner rather than later). I will also provide a sneak audio preview in a subsequent post.

The song was produced by Terry Pulliam, Laurence Currie and yours truly; mixed by Laurence Currie at Idea of East Studios in Halifax, NS; with final mastering by Noah Mintz at Lacquer Channel, Toronto and additional sonic enhancements by James Parker. Performed and written by yours truly.

Stay well,

Barry Francis Walsh