The first time I listened to the second recording from this Toronto collective I wasn’t really sure what it was I was listening to. The vocals (for the songs that had vocals) were often distorted and there were all kinds of weird electronic pulses and random percussion. After two more listens I realized I dug this album quite a bit once I started figuring out what was going on.
A hint as to what fire flower revue is all about is revealed through the opening track of the (white & blue album) called “tone poem.” It’s an instrumental piece with a few strummed bass notes and piano, sometimes with a flourish of sweeping strings. The definition of a tone poem is a piece that centres around one specific theme. In other words, the music of fire flower revue focuses on mood and ambiance.
Electronics form the backbone of most of the album’s nine songs and several of the beats are so catchy that when I heard the songs over again I felt like I had been hearing them all my life.
As for the vocals, they are just as shimmery and distorted on my third listen, but it’s purposeful distortion. It adds to the strangely warm atmosphere that the electronics add.
Some of my favourite songs were ones that added percussion to the mix. I couldn’t get enough of the song “Leonardo’s conversation” due to the almost tribal drumming. and “l’or et blanc” also stuck in my head thanks to the very funky drums.
Songs like “marquis d’arlandes” and “parade music” play beats that sound like an organ, adding another a different layer altogether to their respective songs.
“Sandro” ends off the album, displaying warm tones and vocals that sound like a desperate plea for someone to come back.
For non-fans of ambient music, (white & blue album) may not appeal. But those who give it some time may see the music for what it is- pretty infectious.
The album is available via Bandcamp.
Top Tracks: “a mature crysanthemum”; “Leonardo’s conversation”
Rating: Strong Hoot (Good)