Reviews:: Flowers of Hell O

It’s hard to put emotional experiences you take from O into words for countless reasons. First, the new record from classical, orchestral shoegazers Flowers of Hell is a single track that spans 45-minutes. There is nary a word, and Greg Jarvis purposely wrote the piece as an absolute. There is no story, no imagery and no references to anything outside of the music. Oh, and Greg’s neurological condition - he’s a timbre-to-shape synaesthette - means that each note he hears appears as a shape and is by nature, a very solitary, personal experience.


Amazingly enough, a 45-minute epic built with no easy emotions to hold onto or even related to, still provides the listener with a tangible experience. We may not see the shapes Greg does, but as layer after layer slowly reveals itself you sense the appearance and manipulation of squares and triangles. Knowing that the song was done in a single take, and how in tune the musicians would need to be makes it even more impressive. Even as horns, chimes, guitars and strings wash over each other, the sounds are always crystal clear and the song never becomes stagnant or repetitive. In an iPod/MP3 era, it’s hard to keep anyone’s attention for 45 second, let alone 45-minutes but these notes, as all music should, live, breath and grow like an shapeless, constantly evolving organism.


You sense the subtle color changes that mixer Tom Knott sees when he hears the song, and how that impacted the final output. You feel Jon Drew‘s talented touch on the recording. Most importantly, for a song that set out do to nothing other than exist, you feel heartache, love, pain, and anger. You feel nostalgic, you feel life slipping through your hands too quickly and you feel time stand still for all to brief moments. You race through memories and linger on regrets.


I know you could probably download the track somewhere, but Flowers of Hell have put some thought and effort into this release. O obviously has the original, 45 minute classical-meets-shoegaze track, but the CD/DVD is double sided and the flip side is a 5.1 surround sound mix, along with a live concert film and some bonus clips. All in all, that’s pretty amazing.

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

MP3:: Flowers of Hell - O (special 3-minute edit)



Tags: Flowers of Hell

This entry was posted on Wednesday, October 20th, 2010 at 8:51 am and is filed under 2010, Canada, Music, Reviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply