Flowers Of Hell - "O"
"O", the third album from the Canadian collective provides further evidence that anything vaguely artful and ambitious in the music world is being fashioned in the country that Homer Simpson once described, when challenged by Marge on his geographical awareness, as "tucked away down there". Greg Jarvis and his revolving-door-policy outfit have crafted a 45 minute long neo-classical adventure that transmits elegance and elegies at the highest frequencies. Jarvis wrote the raw twelve part structure before offering it up to the players as a framework around which to improvise. The musical profile is one of absolute minimalism; instruments swell, step aside and different movements vary little in tone (stately, sombre) but make startling jumps in terms of sound. You listen rapt. With production duties courtesy of Tom Knott of The Earlies and members of the likes of Broken Social Scene (statistically, almost guaranteed), Spiritualized and Bat For Lashes, "O" flashes impeccable credentials. There are parallels with the likes of the American composer Alan Hovhanees and Jarvis is surely an admirer of Iceland's mercurial Olafur Arnalds. The sleevenotes reference Jarvis' ambition to create what he terms 'absolute music', music without obvious narrative or imagery but music that just is. Mission accomplished then.