Review: Flower Caravan – Village by the River (Flower Ark, Apr 27)

a3777746497_10I’ve known for a while now that my personal dial for cozy music is completely miscalibrated (and only gets worse with time), but at least now I have hope that plenty of other squirrely needles behind busted glass may occasionally align with mine via the conduit that is this website. If you are the sort who often feels bathed or embraced in dense, enveloping distortion rather than buffeted and assaulted, then swivel yourself toward Flower Caravan’s Village by the River, a loud but ultimately languid display of dense analog abrasion. Along with the other projects whose music has been released by Flower Ark, which seems to document a more organic dimension of Melbourne’s noise scene (which I know absolutely nothing about, so it could be that this particular “dimension” actually comprises the entirety of the community), Flower Caravan pairs a classic pedal chain approach with an aesthetic that ranges from neutral to natural; Village by the River makes a firm first impression with its painted cover of what is presumably the titular location, framing its more incendiary contents with an organic softness. Arcane Labor” lumbers with that fluid pseudo-stasis pioneered by progenitors of the wall genre like The Rita and Taskmaster, a sound that’s usually pretty hit-or-miss for me personally, but here the slightest currents of dynamic development provide just enough intrigue for the hulking slab to unfold with time-distorting ease before it sputters and chokes into silence. Malformed hints of melodic remnants lurk beneath the forceful squall of “BVLD” and “Bluefin” dips into the thick, sludgy marsh at the banks of the river, imbuing the second half of this digital release with as much perplexingly comforting warmth as the first. Neighbors too loud? AC unit rattling something awful? Cicadas already overstaying their welcome? Drown it all out and just feel the heat.

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