Flowers Must Die: Kompost

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Ask many self-styled music aficionados, and they’ll tell you that rock in the early to mid ‘70s descended into a mire of boundless self-indulgence and instrumental virtuosity, in which the a whole generation of progressively-minded musicians and listeners effectively lost the map in a feverish pursuit of excellence and one-upmanship that ended in tortuous track-times, daunting concept sagas and boundless pomposity. This phenomenon has now become the stuff of cultural cliche -after all, how many more music documentaries do we all have to watch in which footage from Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s heyday is interrupted by the Sex Pistols?

Not so in Sweden. For there, music in the countercultural heyday of psychedelia and progressive rock was an explicitly political pursuit, and central to this was the idea that absolutely anyone could make music, no matter how either expansive or limited their technical ability – indeed the egalitarian spirit that many thought revolutionary to punks in the UK was nothing new for the heads to be found enjoying the cult Swedish psychedelia of bands like Träd, Gräs och Stenar, Älgarnas Trädgård or Baby Grandmothers, borne of a free-flowing aesthetic and utilitarian mindset where inspiration was key. 

It’s exactly this lineage forty plus years later where one can find Flowers Must Die, the six-piece Swedish outfit. They pursue an improvisation-based approach removed from the codified realm of contemporary psych, and exploring uncanny and unhinged territory fuelled by diverse record collections yet unique to their own collective headspace. 

Formed while at art school – initially in an attempt to put together a Sir Lord Baltimore style hard rock band – the band quickly took on a life of its own, with Jonas’ passion for soul, disco and jazz interspersing with Rickard’s background in the local noise scene amidst a plethora of other disparate ingredients. Rickard’s brother Martin, guitarist Sven Walan and drummer Lars Hoffsten (a successful artist from the family of well-known Swedish jazz and blues musicians) soon joined the fray, before vocalist and violinist Lisa Ekelund completed the circle, spurring the band on to new levels of psychic abandon.

True to a record encompassing a countercultural rawness and experimental ethos that spans five decades, The members of Flowers Must Die’s ages range from 28 to 63, and the sound of ‘Kompost’, in all its wayward, wild glory, follows suit. The band may have taken their name originally from an Ash Ra Tempel song, whilst the strains of Amon Duul II and the repetition of Can lurk within these overgrown sonic pathways. Yet ‘Kompost’ shows them honing their improvisatory excursions into coherent songcraft amidst spectral techno and cosmic disco shapes, as the angular post-punk pop of The Sugarcubes sits alongside the narcotic clangour of prime Royal Trux, and one-take spontaneity locks horns with nocturnal revelation. It’s a potent assault that’s already seen them make converts aplenty at festivals like Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia, Copenhagen Psych Fest and Supernormal. 

Here the outward-looking spirit of 1971 and the anything-goes mentality of the Scandinavian freaks of yore is transposed elegantly to a modern era in need of new horizons, and in a manner refreshingly and paradoxically bereft of retro chic. What’s more, who’s to say what dimensions this alchemical force have yet to explore?

Flowers Must Die live up to their reputation with this fine first full-length offering for Record Recordings. A crucial component in Rocket’s already landmark year of releases.

CLICK HERE TO READ A REVIEW OF NEW ALBUM KOMPOST

https://flowersmustdie.bandcamp.com/

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The Mysterious Goat

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The word about Goat’s startling debut album ‘World Music’ has been spreading through the music press like wildfire recently, and rightly so; the record is a vibrant concoction of psych-rock histrionics, defiant afro-beat swagger, tribal Voodoo magic and crunchy garage punk stomp. Imagine if Fela Kuti had accompanied Can circa 1972 on an intrepid, hallucinogen fuelled expedition into the heart of the Amazon jungle and you’ll be somewhere near the right ballpark, but ‘World Music’ truly is a trip that must be experienced for one’s self – it’s kind of like the musical equivalent of a Shamanic, ayahuasca based rite of passage.

But just who are these mysterious folk responsible for this gloriously eclectic aural odyssey? According to their press release, the band hails from the tiny, remote village of Korpilombolo in Sweden. Apparently Korpilombolo has had a long history of Voodoo worship, which informs Goat’s music and hangs over the village to this day. Living out in a nearby commune, Goat consists of 3 core members but is an ever-evolving and adaptable entity, existing in some form or another for centuries as a traditional communal practice and only now venturing out into the wide world of popular music.

Whether you believe their tales or not, I’d wager your interest is certainly piqued right now. Shenanigans and questionable backstory aside, there’s no denying the righteous funky fury of their music -‘World Music’ is one of the freshest and most absorbing listens of the year so far. Their first ventures into the live arena (well, outside their commune, of course) are bound to be revelatory rituals; the band has claimed in recent interviews that the live experience will be much more expansive and free-form than their recorded debut, leading us to believe that there truly will be some kind of Voodoo magic summoned during their set at Supersonic…!

You can visit Goat’s website to find out more.

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