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Flower Room is the home of multi-disciplinary Portland, Maine artists and collaborators Ash Brooks and Matt LaJoie. Since April 2017, the duo has released a steady stream of limited edition handmade cassettes, vinyl records, calendars and CDs of their original compositions and improvisations. Brooks and LaJoie act as songwriter, performer, producer, graphic designer and manufacturer for all releases on Flower Room, working from their home in Maine. They also regularly perform live both solo and collaboratively under aliases such as Starbirthed, Ash & Herb, and Tonal Cosmology. Their work together in this realm began via guided meditations offered in the back room of a gemstone shop in Portland, Maine in 2015.


Tracklist

Witches Broom – “Night Wish” from Witches Broom CS [Flower Room / Fleure Tapes]

Recorded by the band direct to 8-track tape in a basement behind a graveyard, the nine freakbeat jukebox rippers on this self-titled collection are the perfect introduction to their joyful noise, written and performed with a counterculture sneer and trickster’s wink.” – Flower Room Recordings


Herbcraft – “Last Words” from Trash Heap LP/CS [Flower Room / Cardinal Fuzz]

They can be compared to bands like Woods, Racoo-oo-oon , with shades of Velvet Underground and krautrock. The free form psychedelic guitar lines are a highlight on the album. The drums sound distant the bass guitar sits back in the mix and won’t rattle the walls. – thepsychrock.com


Stonegrass – “Drive On” from Stonegrass LP [Cosmic Range]

On their self-titled debut, the fried-out instrumental combo Stonegrass exhume the stupefying spirit of deep-zone psychonautic meditation and heavy, THC-laden electrified chaos. – New Commute


Bent Arcana – “The Gate” from Bent Arcana LP [Castle Face]

In a lot of ways, John Dwyer of Oh Sees is a guy who doesn’t slow down. The consummate artist, his creativity within the band and with varying side projects appears to know no bounds. Now with a new project called Bent Arcana, Dwyer pleases his inner improvisational and free jazz bugs. Featuring names like Ryan Sawyer, Kyp Malone, Brad Caulkins, Tom Dolas and many more, the group’s lead single “The Gate” lights your ears ahead of their upcoming self-titled album. – Closed Captioned


ML Wah – “Shinki Water (single edit)” from Shinki Water CS [Flower Room]

Shinki Water is the first new solo offering from ML Wah since 2019’s devotional double-shot Deep Roots and Heavenly Host. With soul-jazz, psych-funk, and dub-inspired bass guitar and percussion setting loose parameters for wide-ranging improvisations on guitar, melodica, and trumpet, the EP shares some common ground with those 2019 releases; in spirit and tone, its general vibe more closely resembles the warm summer breeze of the “No Slack” split with Herbcraft [Crash Symbols, 2018]. Despite these links, the music on Shinki Water stands apart in the otherwise mostly-acoustic ML Wah discography due to strong electronic currents and a joyful, wonder-filled tack that excludes nothing from an expanding field of inspiration.


NOON – “C4” bonus track from NOON live at Al Serkal Avenue DL [self-released]

Enjoy our full set from a very special night at Al Serkal Avenue a few months ago – when the world wasn’t turned upside down.

We are releasing this album for free (donations are welcome) as a way of saying thank you to the world and to our fans. It’s a tough time for everyone out there and we truly believe that music has the power to heal.


Ash & Herb – “Ascension Tea” from Roughin’ It CS [Flower Room]

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. – Raven Sings the Blues


Herbcraft – “I” excerpt from Robes CS [Flower Room]

Long-lost tour tape from 2013’s final run of duo Herbcraft shows, featuring Dawn Aquarius on organ and analog synth and Matt LaJoie on electric guitar. The five untitled, longform experimental improvisations on Robes go extra deep on lo-fi psychedelic trance odysseys, from the extreme outer reaches of kosmische and Japanese psych to 90’s and 2000’s noise rock, connecting multiple decades and continents of underground experimental music lineage with the aura of a discreetly recorded occult ritual.


Tambourinen – “Wooden Flower excerpt from Wooden Flower LP/CS [Avant-Unity MusicCentripetal Force / Cardinal Fuzz]

No, it’s not Tambourine the 1960s-flavoured Dutch band from the late 80s, this is Grant Beyschau, drummer and saxophonist from The Myrrors, with his own revivalist take on classic drifty psych. If you’re familiar with The Myrrors this record will hold no great surprises. – The Sleeping Shaman


Bounaly – “Takamba” from Music from Saharan WhatsApp 10 DL [Sahel Sounds]

For the year of 2020, Sahel Sounds presents “Music from Saharan WhatsApp.” Every month, we’ll be releasing an EP from a musical group in the Sahel. Every album will be recorded on a cellphone, and transmitted over WhatsApp, and uploaded to Bandcamp – where it will live for one month only. Available for pay as you want, 100% of the sales will go directly to the artist or group. After one month, the album will be replaced by another one, until the end of the year.<

h/t Holiday at the Sea

See also – Rebel Up show – Nov. 2020


Joshua Massad & Dylan Aycock – “Four” from Joshua Massad & Dylan Aycock CS [Scissor Tail]

I love the free-flowing interplay between Josh’s sitar and tabla and Dylan’s 12-string guitar playing throughout the whole album. That sound is beautifully complemented by the various percussion instruments, air organ, and synths played by Dylan as well. It’s a wonderfully rich listening experience. – The Rhythm Atlas


Matt LaJoie – “Everlasting Spring (single edit)” from Everlasting Spring LP/CS [Flower Room]

Matt LaJoie’s technical verbosity is on the spot here, as all the man-made sounds can be mistaken for something Nature produced out of its vast resources. Everlasting Spring is like a small water spring which flows and flows but can’t eventually flow into a river, being forever condemned to be just this spring. Everlasting Spring lasts almost for an hour (if we count a bonus track), and it’s six minutes for every string LaJoie’s guitar has. Not many men can admire nature for that long. The whole album has that New Age-ish feel, when you can start listening to it from any track, and nothing will change in your views on it. – Dusted Magazine


Gerycz / Powers / Rolin – “Songbird” from Beacon CS [Garden Portal]

To see MJR play on his own has to be sumpin’ else, but it’s the super-trio of Gerycz, Powers, & Rolin, two phenomenal lute-shredders teaming up with a magically hyper-enhancing percussionist, that takes everything you’ve ever heard, APG-oriented, and cranks it to the next fuckin’ level, making “Beacon” an indisputably “Must Listen” release*, which puts “Ohio”, as a companion-piece, on its almost “unplugged” coattails, re: “How the fuck are only two people playing that at one time?” – Cassette Gods

See also – 2020 in Review // Ten Favorite Albums of Matthew J. Rolin


rootless – “shared consciousness” from docile cobras LP/CS [Flower Room]

Recorded during the spring of last year, Docile Cobras is Rootless (AKA Jeremy Hurewitz) at perhaps his most mystical. The record is made up of spacious double-tracked acoustic soundscapes augmented with a cornucopia of rare and unusual indigenous Mesoamerican instruments, played by guest contributor and folklorist, Luís Pérez Ixoneztli. – Record Crates United

See also – review of Live at Rhizome


Laraaji – “Through Luminous Eyes 3” from Through Luminous Eyes DL [All Saints]

To conclude his piano trilogy, New Age composer Laraaji offers “Through Luminous Eyes,” a four-part, fwenty-six minute suite. For this composition, he brings out his beloved zither, and he embarks on a blissful, unhurried journey. Though the first two albums in this trilogy offered stark piano compositions, Laraaji returns to familiar sonic territory. The piano still takes the lead, of course; taken together, Through Luminous Eyes strongly reminds us of his recently departed friend and colleague Harold Budd. Laraaji has always composed with the intention of relieving the world’s stresses and tensions; this song does just the trick. A beautiful, minimalist symphony for trying times and weary souls. – The Recoup


Starbirthed – “In Aquarius” excerpt from In Alignment 2xCS [Flower Room]

Following the In the Key of I and Record of the Year releases at the end of 2018, Starbirthed prepared its third major exploration and demonstration of their Tonal Cosmology astromusical system as a series of ambient meditations for harmonizing with each turn of the zodiac wheel.


Thick Air – “Ultraterrestrial Atmosphere” excerpt from Ultraterrestrial Atmosphere CS [Flower Room]

Ultraterrestrial Atmosphere is THICK AIR’s third full-length release, and the first reveal from Flower Room’s forthcoming Live From the Etherlands concert film.

Across a breathless live-at-home set,THICK AIR’s now-signature panflute Portamento glides and stereo-symphonic waves on the Yamaha PSS-270 meet a new companion on Ultraterrestrial Atmosphere: analog electronic drums.

See also – Tinnist – Next Week in Music


Charlatan – “Sunset Nails” excerpt from Sunset Nails DL [The Jewel Garden]

“Of all the tendernesses at the end there was that bouquet of wild orchids the constant ritual the washing the turning of the body so cleansed by a lover’s hands until the struggle for breath the gasp and the body getting less warm the ceremony and like the Egyptians all preparation then the emerging presence the advent of absence the adornments artifacts in the tombs where the lungs tighten in our awe it’s all there but spirit saying goodbye are you gone it’s difficult to tell you must be.”
– excerpt from “Absence, Luminescent” by Valerie Martinez

See also – For the Record: November 27, 2020


Breathing Flowers – “Origins of the Forest” from Regenerate Landscapes CS [Ruralfaune]

Unearthed tracks by Breathing Flowers, a decade after releases on Cabin Floor Esoterica, Kill Shaman or Sonic Meditations.

Outstanding collection of beautiful instrumentals that bring you to a new, calm and uplifting environment.


Starbirthed – “Star Guide” excerpt from Tour Guide CS [Flower Room]

Expanding on the glimpse of their Summer 2019 tour offered via the “More Messages From Starbirthed” cassette, on “Tour Guide” Starbirthed presents lightly-edited sets performed live in the intimate settings of Brickbat Books in Philadelphia and Trans-Pecos in New York. From tranquil, celestial origins, the two longform pieces flow through sparse, ambient passages of synth tone and acoustic guitar, accumulating live loops until they eventually reach ecstatic release.


Nailah Hunter – “Black Valhalla” single DL [self-released]

Nailah Hunter is a harpist, producer and composer from Los Angeles making gorgeously immersive and meditative music. Built upon glistening synths and the delicate strings of her magnificent harp playing, her brilliant 2020 EP Spells has been one of the years musical highlights, The 6-track release, for local label Leaving Records, is a short, but incredibly sweet affair with each track created as it’s own spell, a singular magical world. – Metron Records


Ash Brooks – “Realm of Sight” from Temple of the Roses EP/CS [Flower Room]

See also – Flower Room Records VOL I

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