Friday, October 10, 2008

Kensington Market - Aardvark (1969)

Started at Yorkville’s Eastern Sound Studios that winter and mixed at the Henry Hudson building in New York, Aardvark is in many ways, the group’s strongest collection and contains such gems as Martynec and Pappalardi’s ‘Help Me’, McKie’s ‘Half Closed Eyes’ and ‘Think About The Times’, and the aforementioned ‘Side I Am’.
More experimental and progressive than its predecessor, several tracks feature new recruit Toronto University music student and Intersystems member, John Mills-Cockell (b. 19 May 1946, Toronto) who adds the unearthly sounds of his Moog synthesizer to the group’s heady brew.
“The idea of using a sequencer that was like in its day very unusual and the way he used it,” says Martynec. “I think John played a big role in that recording, more than people realise.”
Looking back, McKie feels that Aardvark was a step forward musically. Once again, McKie dipped into the past for some of the songs, notably ‘Think About The Times’, which he’d first performed with the Vendettas. Of his more recent compositions, the singer explains that ‘Have You Come To See?’ (co-written with Martynec) was written on the way to California in September 1968 while under the influence of mescaline.
Listening to some of the tracks, there is a noticeable Beatles feel and McKie admits that the superb ‘If It Is Love’ was influenced by that band’s White Album, in particular Lennon’s ‘Cry Baby Cry’.
To coincide with the album’s release in early 1969, Warner Brothers issued the rare single, ‘Witches Stone’, which was a slightly different version from the one that appeared on the album under the guise of the ‘Ow-ning Man’, backed by ‘Side I Am’.
Despite the promising second album, Kensington Market began to unravel in the spring of 1969. “I think my problem with the Market was too much too soon too fast,” says McKie. “Creatively, things were starting to break down. There was no real creative direction. One of the problems we started having was, I was writing tunes that I think didn’t really fit the format of where we were headed. In a sense, the Market would have been really wise to just take a sabbatical at one point. But in pop music if you take a two-week sabbatical, you’re gone.”

1 Help Me
2 If It Is Love
3 I Know You
4 The Thinker
5 Half Closed Eyes
6 Said I Could Be Happy
7 Ciao
8 Ow-ing Man
9 Side I Am
10 Think About The Times
11 Have You Come To See
12 Cartoon
13 Dorian


cgm said...

Thanks. Not an album that broke any new ground, but one that deserves more than its current obscurity. Influenced by the San Francisco sound, Crosby Stills and Nash, and baroque pop with an occasional hard rock edge - a strange mix but it works. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

Do you have a copy of the 45 "Mr. John"? I want it.



Anonymous said...

Some really great songs on here---writing, arranging, and the such. Some of the nice pop songs remind me of the s/t Family Tree album. Anything else I should be looking at in that same vein?....let me know if you get the chance. Thanks much, Gordon Frank