For those who know their art history, the album’s title Fluxus – yes, I had to research the name and art movement – highlights the knowing erudition of John Rose aka Pink Drone. The idea of a constant “flow” of art or “anti-art” was at the core of the Fluxus art movement and accordingly, this album. Pink noise is the name given to the background noise of our lives; the hammering of rain on window panes, the whispering wind rustling leaves or the perfunctory humming of a fridge in the background. Alternatively, with the help of synths, guitar, bass, percussion and “voice,” Pink Drone (see what he did there?) has brought the noise of the human predicament to the musical forefront…
Opening with The Light this “electro -psychedelic” opus with, just out of ear shot, incantations seems to cast a hex over the entire album and resultantly the listener. You have to reposition yourself sonically to grasp the nuanced trippy (sorry) approach of the track. Contrastingly, despite the track’s name the sonic murkiness…is rather hypnotic.
European has already achieved air time on Radio 6 with an access all borders performance played by Gideon Coe. I wonder how many stopped and stared mesmerised at the radio as the track flowed forth…
The impatient percussion, and rolling Hooky bass notes of Signals intro, complimented with the euphoric synth notes reflect a more accessible rhythm and beat – offering the opportunity to dance. So go with the…
The signals are referenced throughout this silver disc of Electronica as “Fluxus” is on a musical journey calling at Devo, via New Order, changing stations at Kraftwork, Joy Division and Depeche Mode before alighting at a destination of his own choosing. Respect to Pink Drone for sitting in the sidings for a period as John Rose planned his journey with meticulous detail.
If the pandemic, that has affected all our lives, has one minor positive aside it is the inspiring impact on art in all its forms. Repetition articulates the ennui that has socially crippled most if not all. The swirling synth chords frame the opening confession: “Take me back to how it used to be….” I guess it is not a universal spoiler to concur that we feel this too. However, the upbeat flow of the track offers, at least the opportunity, to raise the heart beat as we slump comatose in front of daytime repetitive reruns on TV.
Health workers and mass & social media insist that we communicate as individuals to ensure a healthy mind. The background riff of Communication represents the mental rut one can find ourselves in if we “disconnect”. The constant repeating of the word “communication” throughout is both an order and sage advice; delivered in a voice designed for public service broadcasts.
The synthesised voice of Pink Drone is both human and digital. Rose’s circuited voice reflects for me the modern insistence on automated responses…“this vehicle is reversing…your call is important to us…cashier number 7…you are number 13 in the queue and we will be with you shortly…” At times Rose’s lyrics are indecipherable (anti-art?) but, at times, we all mumble, chunter and grumble our way through conversations before we tail off without (…)
The troubled “spirit of the period” is captured at its foreboding best in the instrumental track Zeitgeist.The mood music rises up from the speakers like a spectral entity. Of course the track contains no lyrics as the recent events in these “world beating” and “great” countries leave most speechless.
For me the speech marks around the phrase, “anti-art” will have to stay in place because this is art. The subtle nuances, the nod to art history and the awareness of the austere present have created a stimulating soundtrack to accompany the “movie” of our existence.
By: The Swilgate Scuttler