14 April 2009

Michael Flower - 2005 - Return to Knowing Nothing (Phase Two)

Quality: 4.75 out of 5
Trip-O-Meter: 5 out of 5

Now here's what I was looking for with that Sitaar Tah! album. Michael Flower is also very interested in trance inducting sound, but his approach is very much rooted in modern minimalism along with those concepts that have carried on from eastern drones. This album is rife with experiments and most of them work out very well. The sound is a little ragged, but very charming. This is music that you'd expect to hear at 2am in the hippest of clubs.

While the emphasis is certainly on droning sounds, there is quite a bit of variety here. Bookending the album we find "FFR #1," which recalls 60's jazz weirdos like Pharaoh Sanders (although with less sax insanity and with more cosmic drone), and "Guitar Solo," which is like the more entertaining moments of your tripped-out buddies jamming in a garage. In between we find the chill drone of "ZAP!...That's Witchcraft," which must be near the top of my favorite song titles. "Antlers and Whiskers" mixes blaring horns with another good Terry Riley impression, while a touch of electronics find its way into "Twelve Tone Down" and "FFR 28 08 05."

This is a fun take on minimalism with a strong, grungy, urban twist. My father and I went to see the Japanese avant-metal band Boris a few months ago, after which he suggested that the band's height of guitar noise was like the sonic equivalent of blue smoke. I'm willing to attach a similar signifier to this album.


Anonymous said...


ge said...

that title's from a Kenneth Anger movie Invocation of My Demon Brother: "... The final message of the film comes with a shot of the staircase again.This time a smoking mummy comes down the stairs with a sign that reads,"Zap. You're Pregnant. That's Witchcraft." This is followed by that all seeing Egyptian eye. The film ends with the moire pattern being projected this time on the man' s whole torso...."

Unknown said...

thanks trip trip

Dr. Schluss said...

ge, I should've have picked up on the Anger connection. The DVD is staring me in the face on my shelf. I love the "Invocation" (although preferably with the alternate soundtrack), but when I'm in the mood, I typically go for "Lucifer Rising." In fact you've inspired me to get Bobby Beausoleil's music for that one on the site posthaste.

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for this. You should check out 'Sun Circle' which is much in the same vein. Also worth digging is much of the stuff from the Autumn Records / Lichen Records labels.