Is it OK to refer to a great album as ‘sophisticated’? I feel like such epithet may rob it of some of the love and feeling that went into creating it and replace it with some robotic coldness. Which is the last thing I want to do to Petals. It’s just that the album is filled with as much meticulousness and artisan watchmaker-like preciseness, as with fragility and emotion. Actually, just look at the cover art – it may look like a four-year-old drew it, but I’m sure every single one of those falling petals was intentionally and purposefully placed exactly where it is. But I don’t know anything about visual art, so I’ll get back to music (which I don’t know much about either, but sometimes do a good job pretending that I do). You may be not aware that I absolutely loved Josh Furey‘s debut Archaeology, or even who Josh Furey is (which is definitely a hole in your music education that needs to be filled pronto), but I need to mention it because it is always hard to review work that follows your favorite. Luckily, as Josh mentioned in his interview, Petals isn’t a follow-up to Archaeology. You will immediately recognize the style – the old-school trip-hop beat with layers upon layers of masterfully selected samples. But this time these samples are more like… well, yeah, I’m gonna go there, – like petals, they are lighter, more delicate, and each one is exquisitely crafted and grows organically out of the melody just to fall off quickly and quietly giving way to the next one. There are lots of instrumental samples on each track. Lots. Yet (and this another sign of the album’s maturity and sophistication) the music is never literal in creating images, which is something I always appreciate. In “Katana”, one my favorite tracks, you can hear (something that sounded like to me as) castanets and muted trumpet, – not exactly something directly associated with ancient Japan, yet the image of the mighty sword cutting through time emanating fear, respect, and mystery. Listening to the album is like looking at the world through a petal of a rose – seeing it in different, more beautiful light, at the same time appreciating the delicate and unique structure of every tiny vein exposed by the sun. Do yourself a big favor – pick up a copy of Petals from Bandcamp (I have my vinyl in the mail already). You need it. It is not a holiday music, yet it is, because it celebrates life.
R.I.Y.L. Amon Tobin, Funki Porcini, old maps
personal favs: “Katana”, “Roses”, “Zither”