Electric Flower Group - EP II
Record Label: Narnack Records
Release Date: April 11th, 2012
Space, human kind’s final frontier. A vast expanse of emptiness and wonder. This ethereal wonderland was once restricted to the limits of fantasy and technology, but with Electric Flower Group's newest release, EP II, a feeling of cosmic oneness can now be attained through the powers of music. Their expansive sonic soundscapes take the listener into a world where physics are a mere conjuration of the imagination and one’s intuition reigns supreme.
Composed of The Secret Machines drummer Josh Garza and underground L.A phenomenon Imaad Wasif, Electric Flower brings a fascinating combination of forceful drumming, droning guitar work and soothing melodies to uplift the listener to an otherworldly realm. One caught somewhere between reality and the unknown, revealing the innermost depths of the human psyche. These sonic aesthetics combine with strong production work designed to accentuate every one of Garza’s Bonhamesque hits into the stratosphere, while warmly wrapping them in a cocoon composed of Wasif’s vocal and instrumental drones. The final result; a post-punk, neo-psychedelic journey that draws the listener ever deeper into the hypnotic textures of Electric Flower.
The opening track “Eclipsed” emanates the most warmth and poppy romance of all three on EP II. A mid tempo banger, it’s structure initially seems a pop standard at first listen, yet upon further inspection one can make no distinction between verse and chorus. However, the translucent flow of the song creates a strong sense of structure and comfort, an almost artificial pop song. Tremolosand wahs compose much of Wasif’s effects repertoire throughout EP II, and this song showcases that brilliantly. A light, crisp cascade of guitar strokes is created, backed by the steady driven hits of Garza’s snare. “You don’t cast a shadow/you emit a golden light/Don’t leave me completely obscured/like the sun, eclipsed in my room.” one of the more punctual lines in the song. Wasif explores the wholeness, realness and warmth that romance brings to one’s life, openly embracing the fuel before the flames.
EP II quickly diverts from the ecstatic radiance emitted by “Eclipsed” and takes a plunge into the darkest reaches of space with “Cocoon.” Minus the electronics, this song is quite similar to Radiohead’s “Where Bluebirds Fly,” in terms of atmosphere and general feel. A huge waterfall of sound is created through the use of various wah effects, fast and slow, as well as multiple guitar layers. The expansiveness of the first few minutes of the song is quickly torn asunder, as if by an asteroid tearing through the universe, into a metallic wormhole. Struggling to break free from the hypnotic beats of Garza’s kit, the consuming drones of a subtle bass and Wasif’s extremely psychedelic guitar layers, the listener is sent into an anxiety induced state of mind. Electric Flower, perhaps in an attempt to explore the darker side of the psyche, creates a dangerously intricate tight wire of sounds in “Cocoon.”
The closing track of the album, “The Electrcian,” begins in this fearful state of mind. Apprehensive of the new landscape found amongst the destruction of “Cocoon,” the listener finds an array of twinkling guitars and cascading fuzzed out bass hits. Wasif calmly repeats the melancholy phrase “Baby it’s slow/When lights go low/There’s no hell below,” signaling a chance of hope in dark times. This ill-fated contortion of sounds is momentarily disrupted by a swift punch in the face by Garza’s drums, as if to snap the listener out of their dark hypnotic trance. A flowing bass heavy sequence takes the listener back through the motions, quickly plunging them back down into the recesses of hell, only to be once again lifted up. This time with more enthusiasm than ever.
A metallic solo piece, backed by ethereal synths, and hardened drums carries the listener high over the reaches of time and space. Only to be lost in the same darkened, twinkling state of mind they began in, the eternal quest continues as a cascade of cymbal hits and guitar noise, followed by a sword slice of a bell hit end the album.
Despite a lyrically light album, in terms longevity and usage of lines, EP II still manages to convey deep meanings to those who listen. Through their sonic landscapes and contorted, disturbed sounds, Electric Flower catapults one into a higher dimension of musical being. In quick comparison to their previous release, EP I, Electric Flower dropped much of their post-punk grime in return for the transcendental drones found on this release. While retaining their late 60’s beatlesque psychedelic pop sensibility, a suitable trade in this writers opinion. But for those of you in need of a more aggressive approach to psychedelia, I refer you to EP I.