|What the Buzzing Reviews
(Released 7/02 by Drigh Records)
Aural Innovations #21
Free City Media
Dream Magazine (#3)
The Broken Face (#14)
Roelf on Floorian
Scene Magazine (Cleveland)
When Bomp Records head honcho Greg Shaw talks, people listen. The man who discovered and put out the first records by the likes of the Brian Jonesto-wn Massacre and the Warlocks, as w-ell as releasing the first Americ-an record by Spacemen 3, has just s-igned Floorian to his roster, so do-n't be surprised if you hear a lot more about these trippy cats from Columbus in the near future.
Floorian's 2002 debut, What the Buzzing, on the Columbus indie Drigh Records is a staggering effort, channeling a dark, atmospheric vibe similar to the likes of early Pink Floyd and the first two Catherine Wheel records, as well as the best work by U.K. cult favorites such as the Comsat Angels and Loop. On songs like "Or So They Say," "Lenka," "In Slow Emotion," and the 10-minute juggernaut "Symptoms Alone," the instrumental interplay between bass player John Godshalk and the dueling guitars of Todd Fischer and Phillip Park is mesmerizing; slow-burning psychedelic buildups, complete with Near Eastern undercurrents, cascade into a trance-inducing avalanche. Phil Spector may have coined the phrase "wall of sound," but trust us, on What the Buzzing and especially live, Floorian has built a fortress.
Dreamy guitars waft in the air, squealing, grinding, defining astral chords with tasty ease. Comfortable drums establish pleasant tempos in tune with the drifting melodies. Basslines rumble with ethereal vibrations, producing a tingly foundation underfoot. Keyboards trickle through the mix like sparkling water, cleansing as they enhance with their pensive drones.
The keynote instrument is the guitar, though. These stringed manipulations achieve a transcendental disposition, building from a nebulous fog to screeching outcries. These cosmic moods possess a decidedly Grateful Dead ambience, which is further elaborated by lead guitars that seek quite foreign sonic territories with their languid sustains and bent notes. These lead guitars alternate between psychedelic stylings and gothic darkness, conjuring melancholia that then strives to escape the box with emotional exertions. There exists an initial lethargy which gradually becomes agitated to a surging movement in each song, but the overall music retains a congenial sedation.
Some vocals are present, whispered and crooned in an unobtrusive manner.
There's a romantic edge in this music, bestowing this spacerock with more than a touch of humanity, making the tunes more accessible.
Aural Innovations #21
Music from all over the world shows up almost daily in my mailbox, but only rarely do I hear from anyone in my own backyard of Columbus, Ohio. So it was a thrill to find out that in addition to Quarkspace I've got another cosmic ensemble occupying my galaxy. Floorian has been active since 1997, the constants being guitarist Todd Fisher and John Godshalk on bass, keyboards and vocals. Phillip Park is the lead guitarist on all the quartet tracks and Rob Jarrett and Keith Hanlon handle drum duties on all except the last track which introduces us to relative newcomer Larry Durica, now part of the current Floorian trio lineup.
I noticed some reviews at Floorian's web site listing My Bloody Valentine and Brian Jonestown Massacre as analogies though I'm a bit challenged having not heard much of those bands. But in my corner of the musical universe band like Pink Floyd, King Black Acid, Porcupine Tree, and even Amon Düül II come to mind. The album opens with "Or So They Say". This is the most accessible "song" on the album, but the dual guitars of Fisher and Park are mucho cosmic and give the music a beautifully full "wall of sound". "Heavium" has a gorgeously trippy Eastern flavor but is also embellished by strained whining guitar lines that tease the listeners senses, threatening to pierce the eardrum but never quite reaching damaging levels. I dig the looped efx at the end.
"In Slow Motion", "Symptoms Alone", and "Alt.11" are among the most powerful tracks on the album. These songs remind me a lot of King Black Acid with a dose of Pink Floyd thrown into the mix. They have that majestic full sound that envelops and caresses the listener and I like the combination of aggressive chords and trip guitars. The guitarists excel at psychedelic passion in slow solos that will wrap themselves around your brain with snake-like grace. "Symptoms Alone", at 10 minutes, is a particularly potent tune that stretches out into space with cosmic abandon. The guitar solos, like the best of Pink Floyd, are slow and delectably tasteful. And once again the band find that perfect combination of grating feedback and floaty drifting bliss.
"Lenka" and "Somic" are both duo tracks by Fisher and Godshalk. "Lenka" is one of the pieces that brought to mind an old tripped out Amon Düül II jam. The totally spaced music builds tension slowly, chords and notes working together in an exploratory but precise style that is mind-bending and hypnotic. "Somic" opens with very cool keyboards, an acidic guitar line, and a background throb that abruptly shifts into mellow drifting psychedelic music that once again has that King Black Acid/Pink Floyd sound. Fans of Porcupine Tree's Sky Moves Sideways album will especially find plenty to drool over with this mesmerizing tune.
Finally, "Auravine" is the closing track and the one with drummer Durica. It's probably the most abstract music on the disc with low drones, freaky loops, and lots of slowly rumbling and whining guitars. Darkly thematic and very intense stuff that nicely contrasts with the rest of the album.
In summary, Floorian beautifully mix old time sounds we love like Pink Floyd and a little Amon Düül II with more modern sounds like King Black Acid and Porcupine Tree. You'll love the combination of trippy raga guitars and crunchier heavy guitars. Recommended.
Free City Media
Not to be confused with Milan roots rockers The Floreans (reviewed below), Floorian has been playing around Columbus, Ohio since 1997. The band's debut CD What The Buzzing favors a- moody brand of psychedelic rock that is sort of a cross between My Bloody Valentine and the second phase of Pink Floyd, with some New Zealand drone tangents thrown in. The current members of Floorian are Todd Fisher (guitar), John Godshalk (vocals, bass & keyboards) and Larry Durica (drums), though Phillip Park played lead guitar on most of the album and Rob Jarrett and Keith Hanlon contributed the drums. Larry Durica joined the band during the sessions for the album and played guitar on "Auravine". What The Buzzing is an impressive debut that shows Floorian as a band that has chosen a very specifically defined dark and brooding indie psych sub-genre.
The melodic strumming and Eastern-scale leads on the opener "Or So They Say" recall Outrageous Cherry or the early Blur b sides when Graham Coxon was allowed to explore his less commercial side. John Godshalk's vocals are hushed against the crunching guitars as they are throughout the whole album. "Heavium" and "Symptoms Alone" have a late-night tension that would have fit in on some of the earliest Brian Jonestown Massacre CDs. The heavier moments of Patrick Porter's Reverb Saved My Life provide a fair current comparison. These two tracks are also highlighted by some mind-bending backwards guitar from Phillip Park. "In Slow Motion" nicely merges a passive Roger Waters-style vocal with an unexpectedly hard-rocking riff. Drone fans will want to check out the two instrumentals "Lenka" and "Auravine", on which guitars hum menacingly over repeated off-kilter percussion loops. The gently inert "Somic" sounds like Bob Pollard peacefully dreaming about Pink Floyd's More soundtrack for eight and a half minutes. The real payoff comes in "Alt. 11" where a groove somewhat similar to The Bevis Frond's "Superseded" serves as a vehicle for some intense modal guitar jamming.
What The Buzzing is a very entertaining album to hear while driving fast late at night. It also works well through headphones even later. The whispered vocals and droning guitars create a very personal space for the listener's mind to wander alone. I'll be interested to hear what direction Floorian takes on the next record with the new line-up set. For ordering information, contact Drigh Records, P.O. Box 20611, Columbus, OH 43220 or go to www.floorian.com.
Dream Magazine (#3)
These Columbus, Ohio spacemen are on a mission to explore the outer reaches of their moodcasting abilities over the course of this 8-song self distributed CDR. Heavy slow and vast with post Barrett Floydian elements glacially residing beside more overtly krautrock moments. Really enjoyable; giving ample evidence of nearly unlimited potential, and rocking out in a satisfyingly enthused manner when they finally get the avalanche rolling downhill.
Oh my! I wasn't expecting much from Floorian. Ninety-nine percent of the time, self-released debut albums simply suck ass. Major ass. But heck, What The Buzzing managed to prove my prejudiced theories wrong - and embarass my fragile ego, as well.
Floorian is a self-described "hypno drone space vibrations" band that, well, don't exactly sound like a "hypno drone space vibrations" band. You see, Floorian is not droney at all. In fact, this album spends a considerable amount of its duration rocking out. It's perhaps better described as psychedelic space rock, falling somewhere in the midst of Pink Floyd, Mogwai, and the noisy side of Sebadoh.
While some songs ("Lenka," "Auravine") are predominately atmospheric and soundscapey, the focus rests on a strong rock and pop influence that Floorian pulls off wonderfully. "Or So They Say," for example, sounds like a cross between Sebadoh and Archers of Loaf, except with a spacier, ground-lifting feeling to it. "Symptoms Alone", meanwhile, is a draining, nine-minute epic of intergalactic folk-rock, like what you'd get if you shot Yo La Tengo even further into the depths of space. "Auravine," meanwhile, focuses more on drones, making great use of a waivering bassline, a sparse beat, and some echoing, atmospheric sounds in the background. While certainly different from the more accessible material, it is a nice, airy composition.
Altogether, Floorian have done a great job with What the Buzzing. Filled with amazing solos, galactic atmospheres, and catchy, all-enveloping bouts of rock, this is already one of the best psychedelic records of the year.
The Broken Face (#14)
Anytime I rate something below a 3 I feel it certainly deserves an explanation. For me, a 2.5 is a good album that has some major fault or is only going to be of interest to collectors. Add to that list quality albums by bands which haven't yet developed their own unique sound.
Enter Floorian, an obviously talented group with some great sounds--but disappointingly, most of these are sounds you've heard before. The range is pretty diverse--My Blood Valentine/Spacemen 3 era late 80's psych, pre-Kranky Low, Barrett's Pink Floyd/Beatles [ala Blue Jay Way] , Labradford, and even some New Zealand pop via Alistair Galbraith/Terminals/Renderers; Certainly an incredible selection of influences.
What's amazing however is just how easily an album like this -could- be terrible. Instead, once I got over the 'tribute-ish' nature of most of these songs, I could begin to hear the band itself--their performance and their ability to write songs, and found myself enjoying 'What the buzzing' despite the obvious limitation. What we have here is a band that is groping for its own unique sound, but still demonstrating considerable talent. With that said, 'What the buzzing' may be a prelude to a great band with a great catalogue, but 'What the buzzing' only hints at things to come.
Don´t wanna take a fortelling, but for me this gem is in my Psychedelic TOP5 and is currently set on Place ONE. The whole sound is some kind of carefully gentle, sparsly using breaks or freakouts. The guitar flows Like a majestic river, through a landscape of tight grooving rock in slow-motion. This is no second boring and when the fellow traveller has a wish, it will be fullfilled. Amazingly. It sound like Pink Floyd want sound, after Syd´s demise. But never reached again. A present comparision is Burnt Noodle, who are also from the middlewest. Floorian are more structured. This are real songs, not sessions. Stongly hoping for more to come.
Take liberal helping David Gilmour - the Pink Floyd brand - add it to your King Black Acid mixture then fold in some Porcupine Tree. Roast it over a high heat to remove the keyboards then place in a hot oven, allowing it to rise up and leave for approx 52 minutes while keeping a watchful eye on it to ensure it doesn't bubble over.
What you have here is a new talent from the USA, and it's guitars all the way. The feel and sound of it all is a mix of the aforementioned bands and yet both rises above mere pigeon-holing, while at the same time sounding both fresh and original, yet oddly not a million miles away from the very emotions you get out of such music. With short and long compositions alike, the sound is huge, with all sorts of guitar leads, riffs, rhythms, textures and effects creating some kind of giant organic psychedelic trip that still has that relaxed and flowing set of dynamics as evinced in the works of Gilmour and the Porcies. The vocals are in a similar vein, that sort of languid, subdued style then rising up in a sea of harmonies, all coming together spectacularly on the near six minute 'In Slow Emotion', which could be almost a lost late era Floyd track in a blindfold test, it's that good. The way the guitars are used is also pretty spectacular, the backdrops making up for the absence of any keyboard type things, and the overall production giving a very expansive feel to the whole thing. 'Somic' is another illustration of the talents of the main man behind all this, being over eight minutes featuring just electric guitars and slightly treated vocal, yet having a soundscape that stretched all over the musical horizon, while at the same time possessing a similar feel and pace to something like Fleetwood Mac's 'World In Harmony' instrumental mixed with Pink Floyd's 'Us And Them'. Throughout the album, it's the mix of the brooding, the anthemic and the ocean-length soundscaping, allied to some wicked electric guitar work, a more intelligent psychedelic feel and the sense of structure all with emotion and heart, that makes this a very fine and strong debut album.
Roelf on Floorian
No 20 minute guitar solos here. This is about atmosphere taking precedence over ego. The studio becomes an important paintbrush in these soundscaping journeys.
The first cut, "Or So They Say" reminds me of being lost in a chemically imbalanced state and trying to find someone or something to complete you. You don't know what you're looking for or how to get it but you enjoy the process of exploring to get there.
"Heavium" is an interesting cut because right when I think I'm in the middle of a traditional song structure I get hit with backwards guitars from out of nowhere. This provides an interesting segue into the next song.
"In Slow Emotion" reminds me alot of Pink Floyd with David Gilmour at the helm. Pre-"Dark Side of The Moon" when The Floyd were a much more psychedelic band. The vocals are a dead ringer for Gilmour. I like this cut alot. It's inspiring me to want to trip again on pure unadulterated creativity. Get back in touch with that very first awakening to discovery as a child.
"Lenka" brings us around the campfire where the shamen is shaking his rattler to induce an altered state. The steady hypnotic pulse calls the backwards snake guitars to slither over on top of the rhythm. I'm getting a chill up my spine as I feel this Native American ritual build in intensity. Imagine floating round and round this fire until you get visions of deceased elders telling you what to do to snap out of your inertia and create an evolutionary pathway for your soul.
I like how "Somic" starts out with distorted guitar and then drops out to leave a keyboard's hovering chordal drone. This music tucks you into bed and hypnotizes you into sleep where you can enjoy the ultimate altered state of dreaming. A perfect setup for disassociation with your conscious mind. Repeat this mantra before going under: "I'm not just getting high. I'm getting out."
"Symptoms Alone" helped me see past all my thought illusions. I realize that there's a guardian of muse waiting where negativity ends. Now that I've traced the symptoms back to their root cause I can go from being a mere spectator of things to becoming a participator in the bigger trip. As a participator I see guitars sultry and slowly melting into UFOs taking off into each and everyone's own unique resonances.
"Alt 11" is an audio documentation of liquid lava in the hands of earthbound gods trying to rise out of this world. Fillmore East and West revisited in 2002. Something subliminally sinister is going on and I don't know exactly what it is. You better watch out for this Floorian. They practice musical mysticism with eerie intent. These guys are casting spells on you and I'm not quite sure what they're getting you into. It's that mystery of the unknown that's so captivating about Alt 11. Walk away from your illusions of predictability and let Floorian immerse you in mystery. Freefall in that mystery with no fear of where you'll land. The unknown is your only true liberator of consciousness. We need that unpredictability that only mystery can give us, returning us back to our sacred primal selves.
"Auravine" is sinister ambience created by weavers of spells. The tones here are so powerful in the hands of these master mystery weavers that if played for 20 minutes or more would deliver you to the astral plane. It would take a long time for the avatars to be able to bring you back to earth. They might never be able to bring you back. Why would you want to come back?
Roelf Tornabene, gorging artist
...more musings from Roelf...
Diverging from their brash brethren on the Columbus garage-rock scene, Floorian shroud their sound in purple cloaks of reverb, riven by golden threads of spiraling feedback. Heavium employs tambourine and softly thumping tom to support a deep, droning vocal. Huge guitars bloom like mushroom clouds from the cavern of Or So They Say, drowning the vocal in swirls of steel vibration. It's all quite groovy and, if you don't mind a '60s rehash, worth the trip.
"Impressive debut. Best Psychedelic record this year - so far." Psychedelic-Music.net
"Elegant, yet... threatening." local scenester
"What was that last song? It was like someone died or something." some guy (after live set)
"Interesting dark sound, some decent tunes." indie label head
"Yeah, you do that blue music... I like what you guys are doing." record store cat
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