Posts Tagged ‘Flower Room’

Matt Lajoie

So begins another year here at Raven and just as the early parts of 2020 were graced with the transformative meditations of Matt Lajoie, so too is 2021 lit awake with another solo venture. Where the last record was doused in an aqueous glow, Paraclete Tongue takes shape from the glow of embers and the pulse of stars. The album is Matt’s first solo LP to employ electrics throughout and while he’s still a master of delicate sighs even when the the current courses through the strings, there’s a new element to Paraclete Tongue that’s been hidden away from his past solo strikes. Aside the ripples and picks, there’s a gnawing growl of fuzz that crops up, especially on the album closer “Flame of Incarnation” — a sidelong stunner that loops Lajoie’s works through the halo of a distant sun.

Before we get there, though, the first side takes up a trio of pieces that prepare the listener for the voyage. “Kuchina’s Dance” and “Kandlebright Grotto” pirouette through candlelight, an extension of the rivulets of string work that populated Everlasting Spring, while a scarred sunrise opens the record with some of the most froth found in the solo Lajoie spectrum. The second side then opens into a cosmic echo of sound, bouncing Matt’s strings back and forth in the listener’s headspace — a dance of starlight sonar that’s entrancing as it pushes past the 24-minute mark.

Not to be capped at merely one LP’s worth of dazzling guitar glow, Paraclete Tongue boasts a companion piece also released this past week with 40 more minutes of sun-fired fretwork to bolster the album. Sun Language was recorded in one take focusing on Matt’s Fender Mustang as the tool of choice. The four pieces capture the same hazed glow of sunlight breaking through the dawn, acting as a pared-back comedown to ease on out of the shimmer of Paraclete’s shadow. Flower Room proves a beacon in any year, but they’re starting ’21 off strong.



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Matt Lajoie – “Kuchina’s Dance”

Matt Lajoie announces the third in a planned series of five records focusing on elemental forces, just a few months after the cooling force of Everlasting Spring. The focus this time shifts from water to fire, though in the true spirit of Lajoie, the focus here is on warmth and light rather than the destructive force of the lit flame. The first cut to reach the world’s ears is “Kuchina’s Dance,” a meditative, circular piece that dances through the speakers with the dazzling intimacy of a candle’s flame. Lajoie and Flower Room have proven indispensable over the last few months, offering up a cocoon of calm during times that are anything but. The record lands on shelves January 21st and as usual he’s got a handmade version as well that’s limited but lavish. While its always a rush to light up some of these Bandcamp releases, this one might help us all slow down a bit today and just live in its embrace for seven minutes or so.




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rootless

Jeremy Hurewitz’ rootless has been kicking around for a few years, but with his latest for Flower Room, he’s created an album that explores deeper dimensions. The guitarist has popped up on notable labels like Cabin Floor Esoterica, Aural Canyon, and Null Zone, but as the first Flower Room release outside of Matt Lajoie and Ash Brooks’ universe of Northeastern sounds, he’s capturing a meditative aura that’s impossible to deny. Hurewitz connected with multi-instrumentalist Luís Pérez Ixoneztli for his latest. Luís is the overseer of a collection of priceless, one-of-a-kind, indigenous instruments from Mesoamerica (many of them pre-Colombian), and they add a deepened mystery and spiritual aura to the works of rootless. Beside Jeremy’s gorgeous stringwork, Pérez Ixoneztli lets ancient pipes swirl into the mix, floating on a misted haze that’s eloquent in its pre-dawn glory. Per Flower Room’s description these range from “ocarinas and small whistles to dried cocoon shells strung together and used as shakers. The collection includes clay flutes that are possibly over a thousand years old.”

The winds take this record far beyond the standard fingerpicked fare. The deeper the album dives, the more it begins to resemble ritual and rite. The title track especially strays far from the meditative guitar path, pushing into the arms of Pérez Ixoneztli’s spectral mix of instruments and Hurewitz’ intimidating ambient growl. The stitches begin to unravel in a wonderful way, letting the knotted riffs give way to drone and dust and hazed memories that seems to flit in and out of consciousness on the final track. In many ways rootless has always lent a more experimental edge to the fingerpicked canon, but here, Jeremy finds his peak with the aid of Luís, creating a paring that I honestly wouldn’t mind seeing extend beyond this record, though this is more than enough to dig into for the time being.

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rootless – “Lost At Sea”

While the Flower Room family largely encompasses the output of Matt Lajoie and Ash Brooks, it’s great to see that a recent tour with Jeremy Hurewitz’s rootless has lead him to enter into the ranks of the label. While he’s released some lovely tapes on Aural Canyon, Hypnic Tapes, and Null Zone, this LP opens up a new chapter for rootless. Hurewitz’ meditative, patient guitar lines still grace the headspace, but this time the set is augmented by the haunting, yet perfect touches of instrumentation provided by Mexican musician and folklorist Luís Pérez Ixoneztli. Luís Pérez’s prowess comes in subtle waves, adding all manner of pre-Columbian ocarinas, whistles and shakers to the record and they carry with them an earthen ache that sets this track and album apart from the rootless catalog. Docile Cobras arrives 8/21 and promises to be a necessary addition to 2020.





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Ash & Herb

Maine duo Ash & Herb (Ash Brooks and Matt Lajoie) have been incubating a haven of psyco-delic bliss in the Northeast for sometime. Under their Flower Room imprint they’ve housed releases by both Matt and Ash solo, combined, meditating as Starbirthed and interspersed into different tessellations of the two — with focuses ranging from Kosmiche to folk. When combined, and flying under the Ash & Herb banner, the results can vary stylistically. Their last single hit on a Cosmic Americana choogle that was well received around here. Perhaps someday they’ll return to the grooved graces of that particular valley, but for “Roughin’ It” they travel outward, into the gaseous ether that clings loosely to this Terra Firma.

The pair recorded the bulk of the album live in spaces around New England and it showcases them pushing their improvisational itch into the furthest reaches of headspace harmony. The album kicks in with two tracks that buzz with a writhing energy — insistent hum n’ thrum that resolves into cosmic glances. They soften the approach as the record works its way in, not quite finding breezy but settling on a swayed hiss for “Mudra of Creation.” The song, and really the record on the whole, has a raw quality to it. There’s a vulnerability that feels like it hovers between bootleg live lightning and homegrown private press goodness. The playing is untethered, yet fluid. The band’s not wrong to label some of the nodes here Frippian in their approach and we’re all at the benefit of the mutable magic that takes place over the extent of this tape.

Highlight “Ascension Tea” rides the invisible airwaves through the small bones of the skull, reverberating the senses and looking to lock down the lysergic energy that we all need to get us through the day/week/month at hand. The sounds slip through the soil of our consciousness feeding the soul with a refreshing dose of damp psychedelics and free zone simmer that’s vital when the air fogs with spring’s sop. While this would all be a bounty on any day, Matt and Ash don’t let the spring run on just this release alone. Alongside this they offer up a new EP from Ash that’s every bit the equal to the zones traversed here and a bevy of outtakes too. Plus a stash of Herbcraft sketches that give context to Wot Oz while standing up well on their own. Check the label’s site and get digging into all that they have to offer. Stream the whole album below before it’s out tomorrow.



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Ash Brooks – “Mage”

The crew over at Flower Room has been exceptionally fruitful of late. Following countless meditations by Starbirthed, a solo Matt Lajoie album and news of a new Ash & Herb album, Ash Brooks announces her solo EP Temple of the Roses. Worked into shape over the last five years, the EP showcases Brooks’ patient build and more ethereal approach to the ashram sound that the pair has developed over the past few years. “Mage” is a swirling, pulsating song that curls into the air like smoke from incense, laving its scent heavy on the breeze. With her vocals weaving in and out of the fog of sound, the song works its way towards a tangled ending that braids the past with the present in an entrancing way. The EP is out May 22nd.


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Ash & Herb – “Ascension Tea”

This weekend saw a few great droplets of psych seep out into the ether after hours. In insular times the vibes emanating off of the Flower Room camp are definite essentials, and word that Ash & Herb have a new one out is well received around here. Though I’d been looking forward to some more slow-shucked boogie cookers like the band’s last single, the sunlit ashram psych of “Ascension Tea” is a welcome unwind as well, though it sounds like from the album description that the former may be in order as well. Matt Lajoie is just off of a shimmering solo LP, so its amazing to see that his duo with partner Ash Brooks has this much quality quiver on hand already. That pair never sleeps and when they do its certainly laced with the kind of hallucinogenic dreams that this cut conjures. The new album is on the way shortly, May 22nd, in digital and tape form. Get it marked on the calendars and if you aren’t already, keep Flower Room on your radar as they’ve been doing some great live sessions and the constant stream of meditation fodder flower out of that corner is ambitious to say the least.




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Matt Lajoie

While I’m not likely to do this any extra justice after Jesse Jarnow’s taken a crack at it, a four-day weekend away left this off of my rolls at the end of last week and its more than worth raising more of a fuss about. Lajoie’s been a constant fixture here at the site from Starbirthed to Ash & Herb, Herbcraft and more, but his solo slices come into clear view on Everlasting Spring. The album baptizes guitar in the crystal clear waters of the Kosmiche spring and we all come out born anew because of it. Matt sets the songs adrift on waves of repeated phrasing, mulling figures in circular sway, letting the listener lose themselves in the cascades of notes that fall all around. While this is gorgeous in the room, the headphones hold even more power as they lock the world away outside of the binaural bliss that seems to surround from all sides.

There’s a languid, late morning movement to the record. It’s an embodiment of the unhurried state of mind. Each note holds onto the listener with a subtle comfort, like hands on shoulders in times of pain. In the same regard it only serves to give shelter, shade, and understanding. Lajoie’s creations build a sanctuary of sound that doesn’t feel the need to push or pull with strong arms. Instead the movement of the record is measured in millimeters, but each tiny breeze he stirs up guides the fairest hairs on the skin towards a more enlightened existence by the time the record whispers to a close. Matt’s created a beacon of hope, lighting the path away from the malaise and malign of modern times. Should we all find ourselves inside its beam, we might just make it out, or at the very least make it through another day.



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Matt Lajoie on Lula Côrtes e Lailson – Satwa

Over the years Matt Lajoie has shown up here under many names — with psych folk searchers Herbcraft, alongside his partner in Ash & Herb, traversing folk under his own name, honing kosmiche waves in Starbirthed and Eastern enclaves as ML Wah. He’s back under his own name with one of the most blissful offerings in his vast catalog this year, but before that graces the waiting turntables, Matt sat down to pick out record that’s been lost to the ethers for Hidden Gems. Matt picked Lula & Lailson’s 1973 album psychedelic opus Statwa. Check out how this one came into his life and the imprint it left on him and his own writing below and nab a pre-order of the entrancing new LP Everlasting Spring.

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Matt Lajoie – “Everlasting Spring”

Matt Lajoie is another artist who never seems to rest. After a packed 2019 that saw offerings from Starbirthed, Ash & Herb, and his solo debut, the artist follows that solo record with his second as we tip-toe into 2020. Under the title Everlasting Spring, both the album and the track seek to bring an eternal vernal lushness to the world. Matt’s playing is often more spiritual than some of his fingerpicked brethren, and he showcases the wonder and patience that are his core on this track in particular. The song sparkles with a crisp dewiness that’s cooling, comforting and rejuvenating in a way that wipes away the worry that’s been accumulating in the wrinkles of 2019. The song inhales all the negativity in the room and exhales a peaceful surrender to joy. With the aid of loops and a soft blanket of reverb, Lajoie turns the acoustic ripples of this track into kosmiche meditations that pick up the yoke from Manuel Göttsching and Popul Vuh. Fans of either should find quite a lot to lay into here. Knock this one high atop the pile of 2020’s most anticipated, its shaping up to be an essential release.




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