The Flowers of Hell, a transatlantic experimental orchestra, unites a dynamic ensemble of roughly 16 independent musicians hailing from Toronto and London. Guided by synesthetic composer Greg Jarvis, the collective delves into the timbre-to-shape synesthesia that provokes Jarvis to involuntarily visualize sounds as abstract, floating forms. Drawing upon his experiences with luminaries such as David Bowie, The Moody Blues, and Malcolm McLaren during his time in the music industry, Jarvis founded the Flowers of Hell in 2005. For the last eighteen years, the collective has garnered accolades from icons like Lou Reed, the group’s primarily instrumental sonic tapestry bridges the realms of classical music with post-rock, shoegaze, space rock, and drone music—often likened to an orchestral expansion of The Velvet Underground and Spacemen 3.
The Flowers of Hell have announced their upcoming album, ‘Keshakhtaran,’ set to be released via the UK’s esteemed label Space Age Recordings. Offering a tantalizing glimpse into their first studio album in six years, they introduce the transcendental instrumental single ‘Foray Through Keshakhtaran.’ Appropriately named after the urban dictionary definition for “pursuing nirvana via meditative sound, particularly when under the influence,” Keshakhtaran features a 42-minute instrumental psilocybin meditation piece split into two segments. The composition is grounded in sax, flugelhorn, chimes, harp, sitar, and opera soprano vocals, enriched with tremolos, flutters, horns, woodwinds, strings, and percussion. This hallucinatory instrumental odyssey, spanning two 20-minute sections, enlists the talents of special guests Rishi Dhir (Brian Jonestown Massacre, Beck) on sitar, Montreal-based harpist Sarah Pagé, and avant-garde accordion virtuoso Angel Corpus Christi (Suicide, Spiritualized).
“Keshakhtaran began as a 40-minute ‘space guitar’ piece I’d done out of bits and bobs I’d been playing in my home studio for a girlfriend to meditate to in the months before Covid,” muses Jarvis. “During the pandemic, I found I couldn’t write anything new, but I pulled out the guitar track and started sending it to caged up band members and friends to add layers to, and soon I was mixing and editing away, creating a sonic world to escape off into,” says Greg Jarvis. “With massages being some of the only human contact allowed in Toronto at the time and with one of my bandmates being a masseuse, I’d go in and test the mixes while over-microdosing on mushrooms for a truly immersive experience that transported me from the bleak times. I’d then play the work-in-progress for bandmates in my ‘semi outdoor contact’ garage that I’d converted into a psychedelic shack with a lightshow and a fog machine, tweaking things until it reached its final form that you’ll hear.”
Experience a gorgeous trip below:
“Foray Through Keshakhtaran” is available across digital platforms now. The full ‘Keshakhtaran’ LP will be released digitally on May 12th, with the vinyl LP (including an inserted bonus CD featuring a reworking of the piece by Sonic Boom) to follow in late 2023. The album was produced by composer Greg Jarvis, and mastered by Grammy recipient Peter J. Moore (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Joe Strummer).
For Record Store Day (UK), Space Age Recordings will also release a deluxe UK and first vinyl pressing of The Flowers Of Hell’s Odes album, originally released in 2012. The album is a collection of orchestral pop arrangements of some of Jarvis’ favourite songs, with Lou Reed also supporting The Flowers by premiering it on his final radio show.
The Odes LP will also be available in North America two weeks later as an import.
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