My Flower – Flowers EP [STR]
Emergent UK label Stem Records has been gradually building up a catalogue of deep emotive beats, pooled from a number of promising talents. One such artist is My Flower, a duo consisting of Sergio Faktor and Andrea Mangione who reside in Italy. They bring to the table some great musical ideas in their latest release for Stem and an equally accomplished remix from Mancunian musician Winter Son.
My Flower kicks off the EP with ‘Flowers’, an engaging six minute journey full of dark energy and simple but effective loops. The sound is tech-influenced, characterised by the minimal bass-line and off-beat clap. The minor triad that strolls through the second minute adds momentum while the clap juxtaposes its duple meter against it. Without sounding untidy, the ensemble of multiple synth lines work wonderfully to add movement to the mix, while repetitive chimes pan hauntingly either side. The tuned woody percussion hits that open the EP later return to enter into dialogue with the wobbing bass. The breakdown will no doubt be a hands in the air moment while pointed percussion keeps the mix animated and moving forward; the occasional eruption of a hollowed out snare will keep the dance floor marching forwards.
Winter Son is on remix duties here. Immediate differences include the addition of the chorus (presumably sung by Gavin Miller) and the less regimented four-four. This one builds more seamlessly and floats dreamily in its sumptuous arrangement, full of drifting pads and lofty synth textures. Winter Son has done well to grasp the deep, penetrating nature of the original, though takes a softer stance, reducing the power of the kick to make way for the airy vox and tender synth work. Son’s addition of a new chord progression at around the three minute mark contains a tentative optimism that moulds this piece into something a little more euphoric and cathartic.
‘It’s A Farewell’ continues in a similar vein to the opening track – darker and little more forthcoming; a solitary three-note refrain asserts itself over a shuffling undercurrent, the light visibly diminishing from the horizon. Sporadic hats bite at the mix while the kick trundles forward into the first section. There is a gaping sense of loss, encapsulated in the repeated minor cadence and reductive, almost despondent, arrangement.
The track is successful in its take on minimal, and the synth figure from around 02:52 is made ever more dramatic by the first couple of minutes of stripped back looping, an almost directionless fumble?? through the seemingly endless wilderness; yet this compounds on the rising contour that lifts us to the track’s (albeit understated) climaxes. The teasing build-up passages will undoubtedly work a wonderful tension on the dance-floor, and is a quality that makes this an excellent number move things forward with.
The basic structure serves its purpose well, while a resounding finality can be felt in the weighty kick and resolute synth motif that re-enters just past five minutes. Sentimental wallowing is evaded by the driving energy of the track, while the middle section does well to expand on the initial pathos.
A tasteful and well polished EP from My Flower that already ranks as one of the more engaging releases from the techier regions of house so far this year.