|What the Buzzing Reviews
(Released 9/04 by Bomp/The Committee to Keep Music Evil)
Okay, so this album came out a while ago, but I'm reviewing it anyway because it fucking rules. Anyone who's down with super psychedelic rock needs to pay attention right now, because this album is officially mandatory. As in "put away your copy of Tab...25 this album is your new bong session soundtrack" mandatory. This isn't quite as layered as Monster Magnet's "Tab," so instead of getting lost in a copious amount of layers of droning sound, you've got only a few things going on at a time for most of the album, but they still manage to keep you hypnotized from start to finish. You can hear a strong 70's rock vibe in there among the interstellar sound waves, the earlier stuff on the album especially reminds me of Floyd's more ass kicking material. The band uses a variety of instruments to get their sound down, from ambient samples to sitars. You'd expect the guitars to have a heavy amount of effects and processors, but usually it's just delays, fuzz and loops. The band may use other effects to tweak the sound, but it doesn't get really thick, things always sound natural and light for the most part. All the vocals are clean, and sung fairly softly, which supports the dream-like atmosphere. The album flows by seemlessly, without an overly abrasive moment. Don't get me wrong, this is definitely a rock band, but a softer, gentler rock band. This album's pretty much dominated my CD player for the last two weeks. You've entered a new fronteir of space-rock, and Floorian is your guide.
It both sobers and concentrates the mind to consider that Ohio space-rockers Floorian would have been one of Bomp founder Greg Shaw's last signings before he made an indecently early exit from this earth. The man who put out the earliest releases by the Brian Jonestown Massacre and Warlocks clearly saw the band as spiritual kin to these post-shoegazer psychedelic din-makers, and his opinion is not one to be discounted easily. 'What the Buzzing' was originally issued on the band's own Drigh Records in 2002. It's been remixed and supplemented with new material for the Bomp release, and now clocks in at an ambitious 70 minutes. What Shaw saw in the band's early work has largely been realised here. A veil has been lifted, and Floorian's recordings now sparkle at that perfect intersection of melody and noise sought by many and found by only a few. The exquisitely heavy-lidded 'Or So They Say' is the perfect opener, hang-gliding into the middle of a Moroccan market on currents of middle-eastern guitar bliss and along a central melodic thread nailed by John Godshalk's newly clarified vocals. Though clearly influenced by Swervedriver and the Catherine Wheel, the arabesque guitar work of Fisher and Park on this track disengages Floorian's work from it's influences.
On other tracks, the band builds eastern-influenced space rock atmospheres that recall everyone from Pink Floyd circa 'Saucerful of Secrets' to Spaceman 3 and even Clark-Hutchinson on their epochal 'A-MH2'. Occasionally they skirt the abyss: the disembodied vocals, backwards guitar and e-bow drones of 'Overruled' descend into nothingness and return to being like a narcotics overdose being fought with a timely shot of Narcan. They back it up with 'Waiting For It' - a slab of space pop situated somewhere between Yo La Tengo and the Jesus and Mary Chain. 'Auravine', an experiment with abstract guitar drones and tape loops, cleverly leads into 'Symptoms Alone'; perhaps this release's central piece, and tonally a 10-minute companion piece to 'Or So They Say'. 'Symptoms Alone' is a timeless flood of brain chemistry overload, staking a claim for a place on for this track on any compilation of early 21st Century neo-psychedelia. And 20 minutes of the release still remain, with 'Heavium', 'Alt. 11' and 'Somic' taking the listener down a magic carpet glide slope to safe landing.
If this new version of 'What the Buzzing' raises any concerns, they are to do with the role of guitarist Phillip Park, who contributes lead guitar to many of the stand-out tracks ('Or So They Say', 'Symptoms Alone', Heavium', 'Alt. 11' for example). Park is now no longer with the band, and replacing his key role in their early sound may prove to be Floorian's biggest challenge for the future, both in the studio and presumably live.
Regardless of any weight of expectation raised by Greg Shaw's endorsement of Floorian, the band have crafted a work with substantial mass and momentum one that is highly satisfy for both new listeners, and those who have followed the band from early demos and the first incarnation of this release until now.
This Columbus, Ohio space rock outfit was one of the last Bomp! signings by the legendary Greg Shaw (R.I.P.). While Shaw was mostly known for championing garage and punk rock, he was also a huge proponent of hard-edged psychedelic music, having released records by the likes of Spacemen 3, The Brian Jonestown Massacre, and The Warlocks. Floorian should appeal immensely to fans of the aforementioned. Their debut is a staggering effort, channeling a dark, atmospheric vibe similar to the likes of early Pink Floyd, Mogwai, and the first two Catherine Wheel records, as well as the best work by United Kingdom cult favorites such as the Comsat Angels, Sundial, and Loop. On songs like "Or So They Say," "Heavium," and the 10-minute juggernaut "Symptoms Alone," the instrumental interplay between bass player John Godshalk and the dueling guitars of Todd Fisher and Phillip Park is mesmerizing, slow-burning psychedelic buildups complete with Near Eastern undercurrents, cascading into a trance-inducing avalanche. Phil Spector may have coined the phrase "Wall of Sound," but trust me, on What the Buzzing, Floorian has built a fortress!
Soundscapes of psychedelic, cinematic flicker and buzz ebb and flow for minutes on end, perhaps improvised on the spot under the influence of some mind-altering party favors. It’s the patient anticipation, plus the organic, early-Floyd in the basement vibe, that makes Floorian’s trip such a lazy delight to take. Their rock roots and occasional need to let them show keep What the Buzzing from dissolving into an endless recursive navel-stare, but there’s plenty of time for such abdominal contemplation throughout. It’s definitely a good triptych, whether your trip involves an actual road or a journey inward. Shoegazers, 4AD fans, psych heads and the late night incense-and-acid set would do well to crawl inside this album and curl up for a bit.
Zeitgeist / SpaceRock.co.uk
This is kind of a re-release, with the original “What The Buzzing” having come out in 2002, but here is a revamped version with 4 new tracks added to this release, which is over 28-minutes of new Floorian music, but shorn of 2 tracks from the original. The band say they are "exploring the realms of psychedelia, space rock and experimentalism… its own unique style of darkly melodic, hypnotic drone rock.” Which is pretty well right on the mark. Although they do know when to turn it up to 11, they just use it sparingly. They veer between more atmospheric pieces like "Auravine" and the stoner folk drone cross of album highlight, "Symptoms Alone", a song so good, it is worth the price of admission all by itself. The album is replete with moments of magic, especially when they go all Spiritualized meets The Verve (that is to say the original The Verve). Away from that highlight I would gently point you towards the 8-minutes-plus instrumental “Aether Spill”, a tune so pure space rock it hurts, or the Barrett era Pink Floydianism of “Alt. 11”. This is a record you will want to return to, time and time again, so get it now.
Slow heavy drones that roll on over and above the misty nether regions of your skull. Some of these trance rock tracks are a little more embracing than others, as the opener “Or So They Say” is considerably more lively than the drift of “Aether Spill,” “Overruled” calls in some seductively distant female vocals, “Waiting For It” brings a Middle Eastern approach to a Pink Floyd-inspired instrumental, the coffin-tapping “Auravine” has a slightly sinister undertow, and the sound vibrations continue through the likes of “Heavium,” “Alt.11,” and the closer “Somic.” Fans of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, Low Flying Owls and the like will dig it the most given a little something to settle them down.
No Front Teeth Webzine
Floorian drop you deep into a peculiar and atmospheric landscape. An environment carved by sound and shifting ambiance. You really don't know what direction you are going to follow. The sounds wash over you and you go where they go. Soaked and absentminded, the experience is full-on. Many of the tracks are close to the 10-minute mark and lead you through conflicting atmospheres and reactions as in 'Auravine' that is extremely uncomfortable and relaxing simultaneously. An obvious comparison would be Syd Barrett era Pink Floyd where the songs mapped out a journey and by the end of the track you ended up in a different place to where you started out. You are almost fatigued by the journey. Although the Floyd comparison exists, Floorian takes you much, much further and deeper into their psychedelic and mysterious world. This recorded voyage takes over an hour and you will be utterly saturated and absorbed. Floorian is an event. A fantastic experience like no other I can compare it to. Just follow them.
Lowcut Webzine (#21)
A very diverse release here. When Floorian from Columbus are best they have a sound resembling a mix of Days Of Wine And Roses-era Dream Syndicate and a less commercial Dandy Warhols on a bad psychedelic space rock trip. Songs like Or So They Say and Symptoms Alone are really cool and although they are very long they keep your attention. When Floorian sucks they excel in unbelieveable long and boring droning that doesn't seem to go anywhere….at all! I want songs and not spaced out soundscapes, damn it. If Floorian put on their rocking boots this could get really interesting
Raw Power Radio
Bomp continues on in their excellent track record of releases. This is a really spaced out, ambient, psychedelic album, sort of like a combination of Spacemen 3, Mogwai, and --believe it or not--some more subdued elements of Screaming Trees' early SST albums. Mostly instrumental, the band relies on repetition and spacy sound to get their point across, with the occasional distant vocal line here and there, utilizing longer songs to create hypnotic textures. The mood of the album is primarily one of an evil, sinister sounding one, and the reverbs are really good on here, as it sounds like they used actual reverb rooms to record these tracks in. This album is awesome, and must be heard to be appreciated.
Left Off The Dial
On popping in Floorians disc, it immediately felt warm and familiar, although it is hard to compare them to just one artist. What I like is the heavy atmosphere that sounds droney, but amidst this background is a strong lead guitar that seems to go wherever it wants. I dont want to say that they sound like Oasis, because that will certainly give everyone the wrong impression. But Im going to say it anyway, because Floorians lead guitar sounds so much like Noels did when he spun all those loops around tracks like Bring It on Down and Slide Away. At least thats true on What the Buzzings opening track Or So They Say, as well as the nine-minute Symptoms Alone. Then we quickly add a few shades of melancholy when Descend conjures up Mogwai and Black Rebel Motorcycle Club.
Other tracks leave more open space for reverb and some acoustic strumming, and the vocals here are quite superb again, like timid BRMC vocals a bit. Gothic chants stir up the mood as Overruled opens, and Im left wondering what tricks are left that Floorian havent tried. They decide to add some backward guitar into the track to bring in some psychedelia. The whole release is over 70 minutes long and is really quite superb. Sometimes you just know from the start when an album will turn into a favorite, and if its long drifting rock dirges youre looking for, Floorian has got them in spades.
Dark psychedelia from Columbus, Ohio. The band veers deftly from raging guitar maelstroms like "Or So They Say" and "Alt.11" to almost ambient drifters like "Aether Spill" and "Heavium." While the band is expert at both approaches, it's at its best splitting the difference with spacey, feedback-ridden epics like "Symptoms Alone" and "Overruled." Admittedly, there are a ton of bands that do this kind of heavy psych orchestration, but if, like me, you think there can never be too many acid rockers frying amps and piercing eardrums, than Floorian will be happy to take you on your next trip.
Buzzing, rumbling, hypnotic psychedelia... There are echoes of Pink Floyd in a few tracks' whispery vocals, but Floorian's spacey electric rock has more of a buzzsaw drone than Floyd's most popular material. If you were to reach back to Floyd's pre-"Dark Side" releases, you'd have a better idea of the never-quite-ambient space rock offered here; there's plenty of atmospheric guitar and keyboards, punctuated by the sting of acid-rock leads, and a rhythm section that pokes and prods the music along at a zombie-like pace. Psychically, it's as if an amplifier has been left to hum underneath the players -- warm and consistent, but edgy at the same time.
Red Tunic Troll
KZSU Zookeeper Online
One part dream pop, another part acid rock, combine to make some excellent lush dreamy psyche rock with none of the spacey wacey psychedelic 60s trappings that many bands of this ilk fall into (i.e. no wah wahs, etc). Lush layered guitars, understated echoey male vocs, nice rhythms, use of loops and noise, and just all around great forethought. Lots of this sounds like a melding of 4AD dream pop pioneers Ride and heavy trip rockers Loop (a band you should familiarize yourself with if you havent already, check the vinyl). Its nice to know that bands this stunning are still being formed. Great stuff, highly recommended. Play with Bethany Curve, Bowery Electric, Loop, Pink Floyd, Bevis Frond, Paik, Spacemen 3, Spiritualized, or even My Bloody Valentine.
1) dark spooky rock, lush and layered, w/ acid rock guitar
2) slower, tremolo, spacey, vocs come in slowly phrased and acid narcotic
3) ambient chill spacey apt intro to a stripped down gorgeous slow mindful journey into space
4) even deeper space intro with near Gregorian female chant leading into a fucking SPECTACULAR droney downtempo masterpiece, complete with backwards guitars; wow, who needs methadone when you have this?
5) upbeat, lush psyche rock, more standard song-like if thats what youre looking for
6) looping noise intro, band enters in sync seamlessly and builds into another trippy masterpiece
7) good simple dream pop/space rock with a great ending/breakdown
8) tambourine and velvet underground guitar gives this slow one a 60s flare, but not overtly, very pretty, Ride dual vocals
9) heavier feel, almost rockin
10) chill organ intro to pretty, slow/mid mid, organ fade in followed by slow guit arpeggio and stripped vocs, though minimal is quite lush
Your Imaginary Friend
All Music Guide
An expanded and revamped version of a similarly titled self-released CD from 2002, What the Buzzing shows the Cleveland quintet coming up with the type of solid if often unadventurous head-nodding psych-drone-zoneouts that satisfy those inclined to such sounds without the songs being distinct on their own. It's not that Floorian are bad far from it. It's just that what was once distinct and strange is now so established in its own right as a subcultural force that its newer practitioners need to really do something memorable to stand out. It might be a bit unfair to focus in on song titles as an example, but the likes of "Aether Spill" and "Heavium" bespeak less making one's own mark than working comfortably with established tropes (an impression more positively bolstered by thank yous given to noted underground psychedelic beacons as Ptolemaic Terrascope's Phil McMullen and Eclipse Records' Ed Hardy). All this said, if there's a need to reach for something suitably laden with slow, doomy threat, half-whispered vocals, and lots of acid guitar freakout shimmer, sometimes backward-masked, but old standbys aren't doing the trick, one could do a lot worse than What the Buzzing. Its best moments are those where the band tries something different from the template it quickly establishes thus the acoustic guitar fading into swirls of low, almost Main-like feedback on "Aether Spill" itself or the haunting, wordless keen that starts "Overruled." Generally speaking, the longer the song the more the band's efforts stand out, which suggests that they might well be one powerful live act, but the briefer "Waiting for It" actually comes across as an exultant, uplifting version of their style that could be the album's secret standout. One gets the feeling that Floorian could yet turn into something really striking, but until that time, this is promising rather than fully achieved.
The term psychedelic music gets a bad rap these days. Used to be, it meant sweeping hypno-narco grooves that bore deep into the listeners brain and swept them along on a sonic reproduction of the Heaven/Hell travels one could enjoy/endure after consuming the contents of your parents medicine cabinet. Now, any mope with a distortion pedal or worse, a laptop and a fistful of loops -- can get labeled as psychedelic, but lets call a spade a spade: to be truly psychedelic, there has to be a degree of danger to your music. Theres got to be some sense that at any point during any track, a hotwired lick or lumbering drum could send the listener tumbling into The Abyss, never to return. If theres no doom, no whiff of brimstone amidst the scent of incense and peppermints, you might as well ask your listeners to call over Mom and Dad and give the record a spin as a family.
Spaceman 3 understood that. So did the Butthole Surfers, Alice Donut and The Brian Jonestown Massacre (whose witch-king, Anton Newcombe, co-released this disc on his aptly-named Committee to Help Keep Music Evil label). And you can add Floorian to the list of true psychedelic astronauts who have plumbed the depths of the Narco-Hypno Wasteland, and returned with an altogether unsettling and fascinating CD. What the Buzzings ten tracks simmers slowly in an electric swamp teeming with feedback and reverb that glow like the will o the wisp, luring hapless (and hopefully, deeply stoned) listeners deeper and deeper into its blackness until theyve lost their bearings, while every step sucks them down further and further into the muck. Its never fun to watch yourself go down for the last time, but as the posters for The Trip wisely observed, its a Lovely Sort of Death
Blasting, concrete floored, bare bulb hanging from a string, pumped full of drugs and waiting for the apocalpyse psychedelic droning. Welcome to Floorian, another release by the champion of underground heroin rock, Anton Newcombe's Committee To Keep Music Evil label. They mean what they say. Floorian is not good times 60s music. This is the nighttime violence of walking the streets with pockets full of money looking to cop. Take a slow motion Warlocks, breed with The Telescopes' shaky, reverb laced feedback, and adorn with the 4 a.m. lightheadedness of My Bloody Valentine and you're in the same squat. This is a sound island sighted by the Velvet Underground and charted by the pasty white black clad urchins pooring their life forces into their Fender Twin reverbs like a reverse vampirism. These mood-shifting pieces (only 2 are under 5 minutes long) beat with the pulse of interstellar space where Syd Barrett lost his way and lost his marbles. Except for the relatively straight forward and short "Waiting For It" this is an album full of deep space journeys. "Heavium" is a soul brother of VU's "Black Angel's Death Song," the 10 minute "Symptoms Alone" is a hypnotic concoction of repeated musical phrases and expanding frontal lobe dementia. The music wants you on the floor, blissed out, waiting for the man with the bag or the man with the scythe.
Cleveland Free Times
Plenty of bands evoke the psychedelic sounds of the '60s but few are as heavy as Floorian, which emphasizes noisy guitars and feedback on this ten-track album that's essentially a reissue enhanced with extra tracks of the band's 2002 debut. Put out by the Committee to Keep Music Evil, a Bomp subsidiary run by Brian Jonestown Massacre frontman Anton Newcombe, What the Buzzing should benefit from wider distribution and an association with Newcombe. With guitarist John Godshalk providing the whispery vocals, Floorian turns up its amps for tracks such as Descend and the aptly titled Heavium. Self-described as psychedelic space rock, this stuff is every bit as eardrum-rattling as the dirges played by those noise-loving Scots Mogwai.
Psychedelic space rock that makes me want to partake of the lambs wool. I mean, it makes me want to light up one big ol honkin spliff! Im talking a box of Captain Crunch, a jar of peanut butter and maybe some fish sticks kinda spliff. This is trippy shit. I know because I dont even like weed. Im seeing shit just listening to it. Think of Pink Floyd when Syd Barrett was a viable member. Yeah, that kind of trippy.
What The Buzzing is a spacey, tripped-out sonic sojourn into an alternate universe where a swirling mist of shimmering guitar rhythms guides the listener into a trance-like state of spiritual nirvana. Dreamy, otherworldly vocals majestically meander throughout the mix while radiantly hypnotic bass lines and meticulously plodding drum fills beautifully flow in a splendorous show of supreme unison. A near constant solar burst of intergalactic hallucinatory guitar leads, weeping extra-terrestrial feedback, and other abundantly arousing audio stimuli rises above the heavenly din and leaves the listener feeling as if he or she has inhaled a reality-altering hit of pure opium deep into the lungs. Like Rain Parade, Spacemen 3, and A Saucerful Of Secrets-era Pink Floyd before them, Floorian makes astral music of dreams while sweetly tumbling through the stratosphere. A-floating away on the clouds I now shall go.
Floorian's "What the Buzzing" is a record to taste according to one's situation and mood. A hasty, inattentive listening could make us want to get rid of it after a while. Too much long, static, boring. On the contrary, getting deeper into its dreamy atmospheres, a splendid universe is revealed.
Floorian are pure psychedelic rock makers: their imagination is marked by great bands like Pink Floyd, Tangerine Dream, Spacemen 3, Bevis Frond, Dead Meadow. But their song-writing and performance are original enough to put any influence aside. "What the Buzzing" is the fruit of a path that began at the end of the eighties, passes through the year 2002 (when Drigh Records released the first edition of the record) and arrives at the days when Bomp! Records released it again, adding two more tracks. The main axis of the band is formed by Todd Fisher (guitars) and John Godshalk (bass, vocals) supported, like in a great trip party, by Bill Spiropoulos (keyboards, guitars), Larry Durica (drums), Alex Lee Mason (guitars), Phillip Park (guitars), Keith Hanlon (drums), Rob Jarrett (drums) and Tabitha Kelley (voices). A sort of open collective that recalls the freak experimentalism as well as kosmische muzik traditions.
The vibrations exhaled from this work are imbued with kraut and space rock and Californian psychedelia. A few fragments ("Or so they say" and "Descend" at the beginning, the fuzz-soaked monolith "Symptoms alone", the lysergic and Barrett-like "Alt.11") explode in blinding acid rock flames, in the best Quicksilver (yesterday) and Dead Meadow (today) style. Elsewhere, a quieter atmospheric mood prevails ("Overruled"); from minimalism ("Heavium" evoking Velvet Underground's ghost), to finely obscure, almost drone music ("Auravine"), and sometimes mystic and folky ("Aether spill", "Waiting for it").
The thin line that passes through the whole 70 minutes of its length is a hypnotic tension that finds a vent in loops, guitars and strange effects, finding its definitive completion in the conclusive "Somic", a dream turning into music.
One needs the right approach to face a record like this one. Once you find the right key, the doors to Floorian's world will burst open. A microcosm where the only password is: psychedelia.
-- Living Rain (big thanks to Dario Antonetti for translation!)
Anton Newcombe, he of The Brian Jonestown Massacre, brings us this heavy slab of psychedelic space rock on his ‘Committee To Keep Music Evil’ label. Floorian have created a stunning album of mysterious, moving cavernous sonic landscapes, full of breathy vocals & shimmering with e-bow sustained narcotic space blues riffs. This self-produced album is “BIG” in every sense.
The obvious influences here are early Pink Floyd, Jesus & Mary Chain, Spacemen 3, Ride etc, but Floorian have cooked up a sound of their own from similar ingredients. To simply label them as ‘Shoegazers’ or ‘Drone Rock’ though would be unjust due to the sheer powerful & uplifting nature of this album.
The intro track ‘Or So They Say’ kicks things off with a raw sonic assault, and shows some nice production techniques & effects, punctuating the track in the right places and showing that the band are not just great musicians, but also talented producers. There are definite Eastern influenced leanings right through this album, and are used to great effect on the powerful instrumental, ‘Aether Spill’, sounding like Robert Plant’s Strange Sensation jamming with Floyd in Pompeii. Other songs here bring to mind The Doors majestic piece, ‘The End’, but perhaps with Kevin Shields at the helm.
The closing track, ‘Somic’, offers a more sparse side to their song writing, conjuring up images of being lost in the fog but with the light just starting to shine through, and gently helping you to come down from the previous nine nuggets. When you take the headphones off and pick up the pieces, you can’t help but feel you’ve just experienced something special with this album.
-- Scott Leslie
Psyche Van Het Folk
Floorian’s psychedelic style has some interesting variation. First of all, I like very much how they add, in various tracks, a sort of song expression with a late 60’s flavour, deliberately made for the jam-mood, like on “Or So They Say”, and always with a hush foggy voice. Their style in general is psychedelic, floating shoegaze-haze-rock based upon dreamy jams, meant for the hypnotic and atmospheric vibe which the musical form of psychedelia can bring, slightly stretching out into space. While in general, music with a tendency towards spacejams often leads to a certain stoned density, Floorian mostly succeeds well in keeping their sound rather attractive and light, even with a few moments leaning to something more acoustic. Some tracks are more atmospheric than others. The rhythms can be rather light too, but this is luckily compensated by the use of some variety in arrangements how to build up their starting ideas in certain jams. Different and original for instance is “Overruled” which starts with a certain calmness of a let’s say Byzantine-Gregorian improvisational voice, with certain buzzing overtone vocal (?) drone, before it turns into another semi-song jam mood, with a certain simple meditative effect and with some draft to drift, in a style which has something exotic, mixed with space-psychedelia. “Auravine” drifts the most, an ambient-space track starting from a more experimental loop.
-- Gerald Psyche
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