(Released 7/12 by Drigh Records)
"Cosmosaic" is Columbus, Ohio based Floorian‚s third CD and the follow-up to 2009's "More Fiend". In the interim they have worked slowly but steadily, with perfectionist ears on the new album. A couple years ago they did a short east coast tour, hitting New York City and Cambridge, MA, toured as support for the Brian Jonestown Massacre, in May of this year did a brief tour of the west coast, and most recently (July 28th) did their Cosmosaic release show at Columbus's Rumba Café, which I attended and heard a selection of songs from all three albums. On Cosmosaic, Floorian consists of founders Todd Fisher and John Godshalk, plus Larry Durica on drums, Jim Chittum on keyboards (previous member Bill Spiropoulos plays keys on one track), and guitarist Alex Lee Mason on two tracks.
The album opens with the 9+ minute Sine Qua Non. Starting off with drones and effects, an eerie but gorgeous mellotron-like keyboard melody kicks in, soon joined by a steady rhythmic pulse, slowly strumming guitar, vocals, and by the 3 minute mark we're rockin' hard. I like the combination of guitars and keys on this song. There's a crushing wall of bashing psychedelic guitars, drugged yet lulling vocals, and an anguished screaming keyboard line. Daymare is one of the most aggressive songs I've heard from Floorian, being a heavy driving stoned rocker with killer tripped out dual guitar leads. In the later part of the song the band goes from stoned to full blown stoner rock. But this isn't the sludgy stuff. The rhythm section goes stoner while Alex Lee Mason cranks out a bubbling liquid psych guitar lead. Trance Mission is appropriately titled, with its steady metronomic pulse, hypnotic drone waves, and quietly exploratory guitar. One Won't Do Take 2 is another heavy drugged psych rocker with potent wall-of-sound guitars but also winding acidic leads. About halfway through the music descends into a meditative calm, with an intriguing combination of folk, soundscape, psychedelic and even horror flick elements. vs. is a brief sound effects piece with the 'instruments' credited as cicadas & birds in the left channel and space echo in the right, and serves as a lead-in to the completely stoned acid-psych mind-melting Take IV. Daze opens with a cool combination of effects, like rushing wind, flittering alien electronics, restrained (but busting to break out) acid guitar, a robotic electro pulse, all anchored by a steady bass riff. Just after the 3 minute mark things go briefly quiet and a flute-mellotronish sounding melody calls in the song portion of the track, a drifting mesmerizing rocker that strikes a delicate balance between heavy and sedate, though in the last minute it blasts off into the space-psych stratosphere. KILLER finale! Daze segues seamlessly into Take X, which is like a space-ambient-psychedelic coda to what for me could have been a single track. The album closes with Cryptid, which at nearly 10 minutes is the longest track of the set. The music starts with an Eastern flavor from the guitars and percussion, soon joined by a ripping guitar lead, giving the music a bit of an acid-raga feel. The band jams along for a while until reaching a transitional segment that introduces the steady, ominously rocking song portion of the track. Lots of cool variety and effects on this strong closing number.
In summary, Cosmosaic will appeal to psych fans of varying tastes and stripes (space rock fans too!). While the music is easy to groove along and/or zone out to, there's an underlying complexity that will reward attentive listeners across multiple spins.
The Big Takeover
Columbus, Ohio psych rock maestros Floorian dazzle on their third and best album. The group conjures up fantastic dark grooves that bring to mind a host of legends including Spacemen 3, Loop, early Pink Floyd, Sun Dial, and especially, the more experimental side of Catherine Wheel. The staggering nine-minute-plus opener "Sine Qua Non" treads similar terrain to Catherine Wheel's "Ferment" with its slow burning atmospherics while the graceful "Daze" reaches similar majestic heights to "Chrome" or "Crank". Also fantastic is "Take IV", a downright creepy instrumental displaying hints of '70s sludge rock giants Black Sabbath and Blue Cheer, while on the opposite extreme, the closer "Cryptid" has an enchanting Middle Eastern-tinged film score quality.
Floorian is one of those bands whose name tends to be bandied about the virtual offices of Terrascope and similarly inclined publications with the sort of reverence that only the very few and the quite special can expect to command. I must confess then to being slightly ashamed to admit to having come a little late to this particular party.
Cosmosaic is only Floorian's third full length album in ten years and has been out on release since the summer of 2012 (was there a summer in 2012?). The Ohio band, once dubbed "America's new kings of psychedelic overload", by legendary Bomp! Records founder and rock pioneer Greg Shaw, serves up a heady slice of narcotic, vaguely Eastern sounding psychedelia shot through with enough suspense and subtle drama to keep even the plentiful instrumentals here interesting throughout. Laconic vocals, courtesy of bassist John Godshalk (who together with guitarist Todd Fisher appears to form the group's main song writing partnership), emphasise the laid back, pharmaceutical groove and nowhere is this more evident than on the opening "Sine Qua Non", which is underscored by some cool Farfisa sounding keyboards . It's followed by "Daymare", another vocal track and the only thing here that can lay anywhere near serious claim to being a rocker. The first of four entirely instrumental cuts, "Trance Mission" threatens to crystallise into "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Sun" but in the end is content with being a five minute preamble of no little atmospheric appeal - in fact it has huge potential as a soundtrack to whatever dark and sinister thoughts you may be harbouring at this or any other moment. Equally compelling is the drug den drone of "Take IV", saturated in cranked-up, effects laden guitar, like a fiendish, vocal-free remix of "Venus in Furs". From here we segue neatly into the slightly more up-tempo but still moody "Daze", which transmutes about three minutes or so into something like Low at their most sensuous and appealing best. It is gorgeously hypnotic and melodic but with a grungy sting in the tail and which, together with "Sine Qua Non"; the soporific shoegaze of "One Won't Do, Take 2" and the extended, mystical sounding curtain dropper, "Cryptid", forms the impressive bedrock of what amounts to 50 or so minutes of pleasure and the aural equivalent of indulging in a box of unusual and exotic soft centres. Better late to the party than never to have arrived at all.
Formed in 1997 in Columbus, Ohio, Floorian plays psychedelic, spacey, hypnotic, dark and atmospheric music that includes also electronics in addition to the basic rock instrumentation. Cosmosaic is their third album and the band doesn't let us down this time either. The 53-minute album has nine new tracks that vary in length from just over three to almost ten minutes.
The long 'Sine Qua Non' starts off the album with mellow drone that also has some Mellotron sounds. The slow beat, bass and electric guitar join in somewhere around the two-minute-marker, and soon the track gets more melodic and rhythmic. Later on there's also some dreamy vocals and then things get a bit heavier before softly fading into the ether. What a great opener! 'Daymare' is a clearly harder rocking piece somewhere in the borderline of stoner and space rock and also works out very well. 'Trance Mission' is a dark, hypnotic and electronic instrumental and 'One Won't Do Take 2' a slow, narcotic, excellent and long track somewhere in between King Black Acid and Dead Can Dance. After the short, minimalistic and experimental 'VS.' we've got the gloomy and slow 'Take IV' that has some heavier guitar again. We're being submerged into dark, hypnotic and hallucinogenic waters by 'Daze' that is one of the best tracks on the album. The ending sort of brings to mind Velvet Underground and when it grows also for example Bardo Pond. Brilliant! 'Take X' is a beautiful, floating and cosmic jam after which comes the album's last number 'Cryptid'. This one has a somehow mystical and ancient mood that I really like. This is really heady, psychedelic and amazing stuff! Another great album by Floorian.
This CD from 2012 features 53 minutes of powerful music.
Guitar and electronics dominate this space rock.
The electronics swirl with psychedelic predilections, the crisp notes slithering across one's cerebellum. A single repeated notes can become a winding road through a realm of delusions. A looped pulsation can glimmer like a distant lighthouse in the fog. Twitchy insects can chitter away as a bridge between more rock-out occasions. Many of the electronic passages are cleverly hidden amid the rest of the instruments, serving as an embellishing adhesive.
The guitars wail away with fevered enthusiasm, seeking virgin ceilings from which they can scrape paint. Feedback becomes a viable application which can be treated into sinuous warbling flows.
The percussion has a tireless drive, delivering crashing beats and progrock rhythms with casual ease. The tempos can be sluggish or frantic, either way the beats sparkle like explosive caps in the dark.
The bass's guttural rumble churns deep in the mix.
A few tracks feature dreamy vocals.
These compositions blend psychedelic and space elements with a strong rock sensibility, resulting in powerful tuneage that's attractive and gutsy. The cosmic mania expands into memorable melodic eruptions. Very edgy, very spacey, a very pleasurable reason to grit your teeth.
Floorian are drone-psych rockers from the spacerock heartland of Columbus, Ohio, home of the mighty Jerry Kranitz and his Aural Innovations empire. On the fivepiece's new album "Cosmosaic" nine awesome cuts emerge from sonic spacery to delight the ears of the listener, opening with 'Sine Qua Non,' which begins with sitars, organs and mellotrons before bringing in the guitars and heavily reverberated vocals. It's a great wall of sound, well arranged and balanced for all its retroicity, but then the band have been going for fifteen years, and clearly know what they're doing. 'Daymare' ups the pace and makes the drums heavier, with hints of Sabbath emerging half way through the cut. Fans of Astra would definitely like this one. 'Trance Mission' increases the importance of the synths to make a cut part Hawkwind, part Quarkspace, while '1 Won't Do Take 2' returns the listener to distorted vocals and thrumming bass, with a melange of guitars and synths underneath. There's a verse and a chorus too! 'Take IV' runs through similar territory, but 'Daze' is a mixture of ambient textures and almost 'sixties retro vocals and song structure. 'Take X' is synth-heavy and rather good, while album closer 'Cryptid' is a curious mixture of slow and light with reverb-drenched and heavy sounds. Subsequent listens show evidence of subtle layers beneath the noise and fuzz. Great stuff. Spacerockers will lap up this very good album - one for fans of Astra and their ilk, but also Hawkwind, Litmus, and maybe the Quarkspace fans will approve.
I See Sound
Cosmosaic, by Floorian, is loaded full of post rock that The Jesus and Mary Chain or Catherine Wheel might write after a weeklong psychotropic bender, surrounded by black lights and lava lamps. Standout tracks are "Sine Qua Non" and "Daze", which feature breathy shoegazer-esque vocals on both.
As Floorian's third full length CD, Cosmosaic showcases classic rock inspired riffs throughout, with a tasteful return of the long extinct guitar solo pushed toward the back of the mix, always latent and never in your face, like trailers from a light in your peripheral vision that elude focus.
The album divines traditional Indian Classical music, from the use of something that sounds like a zitar to introduce the album to droning of melodies based on eastern-leaning scales. All of that repetition, steeped in a heavy wash of textures, harkens back to the Eastern Indian Raga and Tala yet channels Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin along the way. Mind you, however, this is NOT fusion.
Floorian has carved out a definitive slice of the post rock genre, deliberately oversaturated in psychedelic moves yet never going over the top with it. Knowing when to say when makes the band, especially considering the influence of all things trippy. Take their use of effects on pretty much everything that are in no way studio afterthoughts but clearly integral elements to generating their riffs from the onset. It's like they built songs organically around a guitar flanger or phaser that acts as a map: you can sense the ride Floorian went on to get there.
And now it's your turn, man. Grab Comsosaic for that long trip to wherever.
The Other Paper
Droney psychedelic rock may not be one of the more popular local sounds, but it has a presence in Columbus thanks to Floorian. The genre's dreamy, slow-motion soundscapes can be found on the band's latest, the appropriately monikered Cosmosaic.
The band actually effects a whole slew of sonic styles over the course of the disc, from the mind-expanding psychedelia of the Japanese freakout school (like Ghost and Fushitsusha) to early Jesus and Mary Chain drone rock and stoner metal at its most THC-addled.
Two of the biggest points of comparison, however, are the noise-rock explorations of Sun City Girls and the electro-Arab rock of Secret Chiefs 3. If you're familiar with either, you know that is good company to keep. Both are exceedingly intelligent, creative outfits that always put their craft before their fans' expectations.
Floorian plays nicely with them but falls short, on the album, at least. The disc sounds boxed in and compressed, and the songs merely follow expectations rather than defying them.
That being said, an act like Floorian is meant to be experienced live. If Cosmosaic is looked at as a warm-up for the live act rather than simply a private listening experience, it can be seen as a success. There's enough potential greatness hinted at here that I don't plan on shelving the album until I can partake of Floorian in person.
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