The Flowers of Hell – Keshakhtaran (Space Age Recordings) – The sixth album from Toronto-London experimental group The Flowers From Hell has just emerged via the rather respected Space Age Recordings label (home to Spacemen 3, Spectrum and The Telescopes). “This tripped-out instrumental journey involves 20 artists, including Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, Beck) on sitar and avant-accordion legend Angel Corpus Christi (Suicide, Spiritualized, Dean Wareham)” so reads the press release. What we do know, from the three albums we’ve encountered (and kind of reviewed) so far is that you never quite know what you’re going to get. You do know what you get will be something rather beautiful, something warm, glowing, rewarding, be it a divine Joy Division cover, a take on The Carpenters or a slowly levitating orchestral space rock epic, you know it will be rewarding. You might not know what you’re going to get but there is a finger print, an identity, it does all hold together as one body of really strong work, The Flowers have a strong identity.
These two tracks, these two pieces, or one piece in two parts, Keshakhtaran Part 1 and 2 clock in at just over twenty minutes a track. Two parts that slowly glide, that build, that are alive with a glowing warmth, and almost angelic knowing. peaceful, vast, it is kind moving and sounding like you might expect space travel to sound. Relaxing, refined, at times orchestral, pastoral, kind of vaguely in a slightly more mystic, slightly more Eastern Dark Side of The Moon kind of way. There’s some beautiful detail, little bits of wind or horn floating by, as clichéd and lazy as it is to say it, it is kind of like being in some very mellow floatation take surrounded by candles, low light and fragrant smell. Keshakhtaran sounds like roses as it moves along in a time all of the band’s own making, just slowly floating, details building, never increasing the speed, taking all the time they need to go wherever they want to, or maybe to never go anywhere? Wherever we are or aren’t going, the journey is refined, relaxing, mellow, beautifully detailed, uncluttered yet full bodied. We’ve kind of arrived late for the Flower of Hell party, we can’t be these first every time, we’re busy catching up with the Flowers here, three albums in (three more to explore), we’re rather liking it all so far. Keshakhtaran is a beautiful album, highly recommended.
Footnote: Tf you are in London on June 7th, catch them at The 100 Club, along with London psych-rockers The Confederate Dead, Pete Bassman (Spacemen 3), Philip Parfitt (The Perfect Disaster) and Tim Holmes (Death In Vegas).
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Previously on these pages…
ORGAN THING: Classic prog from Yes man Chris Squire, Something rather special from the space rock orchestra known as Flowers Of Hell, the ever rewarding Gentle Giant’s Interview, three vital albums reissued…
ORGAN: Five music things – The ever wonderfully positive heart-warming Commoners Choir (but do listen), The Flowers of Hell, an excellent Shakin’ Stevens single (yes really!), Miss Tiny, Dead Sheeran with another public information film and…
A cover of a Czech dissident classic, written by The Plastic People Of The Universe’s Milan Hlavsa and the poet philosopher Egon Bondy under communism, first recorded by the group Garáž in which Ivo Pospíšil played bass. From the recently re-issued 2012 covers album, Odes.
“After the Russians rolled their tanks into Prague in 1968, experimental rock was banned and the musicians took to holding illegal gatherings in the countryside, where the fans and groups risked heavy persecution from the communist state in order to attend shows like this 1974 one. For the full history of underground music in communist Czechoslovakia” – More about the Plastic People here
And more, from six years ago
And we have shared this befroe, but it is worth sharing again…
“Here’s a clip of us performing a bit of ‘O’ at, erm, the Tate Britain’s Beardsley opening – in front of our Come Hell album and some other great LPs with Beardsley related sleaves. While the exhibition was shuttered two weeks later due to covid, we can happily say that it re-opened July 27th and ran until late Sept that year and then moved to Paris’s Musee d’Orsay…”