The Flowers of Hell have just released their sixth studio album, 'Keshakhtaran', and launched orders for cult classic ‘Odes’ deluxe vinyl release.
Toronto-London based experimental group The Flowers Of Hell have released their sixth studio album 'Keshakhtaran' via UK cult label Space Age Recordings (home to Spacemen 3, as well as releases by Spectrum, Chapterhouse, Acid Mothers Temple and The Telescopes), previewed by ‘Foray Through Keshakhtaran’.
This tripped-out instrumental journey in two 20-minute parts involves 20 artists, including Rishi Dhir (Elephant Stone, Brian Jonestown Massacre, The Black Angels, Beck) on sitar, Montreal harpist Sarah Pagé, and avant-accordion legend Angel Corpus Christi (Suicide, Spiritualized, Dean Wareham). Produced by the band’s leader and composer Greg Jarvis, this album was mastered by Grammy recipient Peter J. Moore (Bob Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Joe Strummer).
'Keshakhtaran' - an urban dictionary term for "seeking nirvana through meditation to sound, especially when you're stoned" - is suitably named. This 42-minute instrumental psilocybin meditation piece is rooted in sax, flugel horn, chimes, harp, sitar and opera soprano vocals, augmented with tremolos, flutters, horns, woodwinds, strings and percussion.
For 18 years, The Flowers Of Hell have traversed the experimental edges of indie, classical and jazz, with music often rooted in the audio-visual synesthesia of the group’s mastermind, Greg Jarvis. Despite relative obscurity, they have been championed by music legends such as Lou Reed, Sonic Boom, Kevin Shields and members of The Legendary Pink Dots, Death In Vegas, The Wedding Present, The Fugs and The Plastic People Of The Universe, not to mention support from NASA’s mission control team and the Tate Gallery with an album installation and concert just a fortnight before London locked down.
“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. During the pandemic, I found I couldn’t write anything new (nothing in, nothing out), 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-micro dosing 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”.
Having learned directly from the likes of Malcolm McLaren, David Bowie, Jason Pierce (Spiritualized), The Moody Blues, Liz Mitchell (Boney M) and Ivan Kral (Patti Smith Group) while working in the music business, Greg Jarvis formed the Flowers Of Hell in 2005 – a time when London only had two bi-monthly club nights (Sonic Cathedral and AC30) where The Flowers could play their kind of ‘Velvets meets Spacemen 3 meets classical’ music. Since returning to his homeown of Toronto, subsequent albums and tours have involved musicians from both continents.
As of May 12th, 'Foray Through Keshakhtaran' is available digitally via Apple Music, Spotify and Bandcamp. The vinyl LP (with bonus CD insert featuring a reworking of this piece by Sonic Boom a.k.a. Pete Kember) will follow in late 2023.
The Flowers Of Hell also just launched online orders for the first vinyl pressing of their 2012 cult classic ‘Odes’ album (released on Record Store Day UK). A collection of select orchestral pop arrangements, this album is now part of popular music history, with Lou Reed having premiered three tracks from this release on his final radio show.
On June 7, The Flowers Of Hell presents a psychedelic feast for the senses at London's 100 Club, also featuring performances by London psych-rockers The Confederate Dead (Little Cloud Records), Pete Bassman of Spacemen 3 with memoir stories and songs, a rare appearance from Philip Parfitt of cult legends The Perfect Disaster and interim music selections from Tim Holmes (Death In Vegas).
'KESHAKHTARAN' TRACK LIST
Side A - Keshakhtaran (Part 1) 21:50
Side B – Keshakhtaran (Part 2) 20:26
Bonus Inserted CD:
Sonic Boom’s Trip To Keshakhtaran
Foray Through Keshakhtaran
Keshakhtaran (Stone Age Version)