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John Flomer

Mysterious Motions of Memory

 

Mysterious Motions of Memory

 

Mysterious Motions of Memory

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the true source of all art and science.
- Albert Einstein -

The skipping of shadows across your face - a dance of fire from distant cold.
That haunting stare from an ancient lake you thought you'd never seen before.
The fragrance of an August rain - a mother's dream she'd never told.
The melody that soothes your pain was lost forever so long ago.
Our charms forever follow us in motions quite mysterious.

- John Flomer -

John Flomer's Primal Cinema has achieved a completely unique, outstanding work of beautiful, flowing melodies, driving rhythms, theatrical orchestral movements, and introspective passages. Intriguing, imaginative progressions support grand themes illuminating the album's central concept of genetic memory. The music teleports the listener to lands foreign yet strangely familiar.

Artist Notes

We collect antiques - to fill up space?
We dig in the earth for bones - to get dirty?
We pore over ancient tablets, books, and manuscripts
- for new hamburger recipes?
We search the stars for clues about the origin of the universe -
because we have nothing better to do?
We search in the past because it is our nature. It is an insatiable desire to find a link with the past and to somehow connect or ground with it.

We will search out the past in any way we can for many reasons - to give meaning, or to find a purpose in our daily lives, to understand our place in the physical or metaphysical scheme of things, to discover our true origins as a race (ape or extraterrestrial?), to justify or rationalize a belief system, or to merely re-connect with our childhood. Many clues wait to be found - some as awesome as scratches on an ancient rock, but some very subtle like a fragrance in the wind, or a spring rain.

I have been entertaining a notion that our memories are physical, whether the result of our direct experience, those of an actual, or perceived past-life, or just the recollection of a simple dream (or twisted nightmare). In the case of dreams, past-life experiences, or those oddities we refer to as "deja-vu", they are not only physical, but real - as real as our day to day direct memories.

Allow me to carry this idea one step further and off to the left.

I believe that our direct personal experiences are not only permanently stored in our brain as memory, but stored also in our genes (in whatever scientifically accepted way that that may be understood to happen) becoming part of the genetic information stored in DNA. This "memory" information is passed along, as are our facial features, hair color, body type, personality traits, propensity for various abilities and/or afflictions, etc., to our children and they to their children.

As we sit in our chairs today, we are the heirs (willing or unwilling) to the memories of our ancestors. Most of this memory information dwells in the deep, dark crevices of brain matter never to be heard from again in the coherent way in which they transpired, due to variables such as the simple passage of time in which racial cross- breeding, common evolutionary mutations, the influx of new direct experiences, inevitable breaking down of cells during the aging process prior, and so on, but they do surface. They surface as the odd, convoluted adventures we experience daily in our dreams; or the recollections of living a past life, in another place and as a different person. From time to time we all experience "deja-vu", that haunting feeling of familiarity we get in a particular place, but never having been there before; or just an "out of the blue" sublime feeling or deep emotion that overtakes us occasionally (I call this an "aura of memory").

All of this memory phenomena are triggered in myriad of ways - a certain fragrance; certain atmospheric conditions such as a storm or wind through the summer trees; a face in a crowd; a photograph...... a song?

The concept I've put forth may be somewhat complex, but "Mysterious Motions of Memory" is simple - a collection of memories in song - from another place, behind a different face, in another time, and with a different rhyme.

Reviews

This is another release from the label that may be the brightest star on the American
electronic music horizon, Spotted Peccary. John Flomer's Primal Cinema's
(from here on, I'll just use John Flomer) Mysterious Motions of Memory is
a dynamic and adventurous voyage through state-of-the-art electronics and dramatic
soundscapes sure to please lovers of dramatic and high voltage keyboard music.
The CD starts out with the sound of soft rain and a man reciting a poem (it's included
in the liner notes). By the second song, we are into the crescendos and high drama that
characterizes this wonderful release. The percussion on this first song is thunderous,
along with synth-bells and an underlying synth-string section that positively soars.
However, the hallmark of this release is how the music, even within a single song,
constantly shifts and changes. Tempos vary, music rises and falls, but the mood is
never really altered. We are in for a great ride, regardless.

On "A Whisper in Waiting," I definitely hear echoes of Richard Burmer, yet
the music is also different. There is a joyousness to it that I sometimes find lacking in
some German electronic music. This is not "happy" music (not that I don't smile
when I listen to it) but it is infectious. The fourth song, "Prelude to Rising Land,"
slows things down a bit and even sounds anthem-like at times, but never ostentatious.
I am struck at how John's songs evolve. I just never know what's going to come next.
Will it slow down or speed up? Will it be somber or upbeat?

I really get a kick out of "Descent of the Hunter Gatherers." As on some of the
other songs on this CD, there is a vaguely medieval sound to the music. There are some
synthesized vocalizing on this cut that bring to my mind images of elves dancing, but
maybe I read too much Tolkien when I was younger!

"Voices of the Dragon" starts off mid-tempo and has a very pretty melody line.
Some rather dramatic flourishes eventually yield to a "dance feel" number with
synth-piano and synth-harp runs that alternately crescendo and race elsewhere, looking
for resolution but finding only more diversity of tone and momentum.

The CD has its slow moments ("Spinner of Dreams"), but overall, Mysterious
Motions of Memory is a powerful and dramatic work. Fans of keyboard dynamos
like Richard Burmer and Peter Buffett should give this one a listen. For lovers of
progressive electronic music, it doesn't get much better than this.

The production values, as on all Spotted Peccary releases, are outstanding. These
guys know there way around the studio. Synthesizers never sounded better.. The
engineering is dead-on. This is not background music in the sense that you will miss
some real fireworks if you don't actively listen to it.

On a final note, the cover art and graphics are outstanding. This CD is another in a
long line of Spotted Peccary covers that I'd love to see hanging on my wall.
-Bill Binkleman-

"...one of the more fascinating ideas I've seen in a while...grand,
eloquent themes that paint amazing pictures of a place out of time,
a place I'm quite sure you won't visit unless you hear Flomer's
remarkable creation." Steve Ryals, New Age Retailer Magazine

reviewed by D. Alexander Strong
For those of us immersed in a culture where the technology of light and sound has
become an integral part of our experience of reality (i.e. movies, TV, CD-ROM), the
concept of a "visual musician" seems quite natural. Minneapolis-based composer John
Flomer calls his high-tech, synthesizer-based ensemble "Primal Cinema." Like
a movie score, Flomer's music is evocative and dynamic. "Voices of the Dragon"
is big and awe-inspiring, filled with wonderful orchestral textures. "The Ha of
Myplys Myn" is pulsating and dream-like with ostinato guitars and bell pianos.
"Spinner of Dreams" is a slow, mysterious, middle-Eastern flute melody that
develops into a "Lawrence of Arabia" Hollywood production number. Rhythmic
and bouncy, "Descent of the Hunter Gatherers" has a comedic touch to it, like some
of Danny Elfman's work (Beetlejuice, The Simpson's). Flomer has musically explored
some mysterious and beautiful worlds on his CD. It's well worth a listen and a look.

PLANET EARTH MUSIC REVIEW

To experience Mysterious Motions of Memory is to travel into the far
distant realms of myth and magic, as though hearing a soundtrack from
a parallel Earth. There's a sense of ancient, primeval steam, as though just
around the corner there were dragons, and great untamed volcanoes, and
mystic maidens waiting to rescue us with their spells of light. Mysterious
Motions of Memory contains grand, eloquent themes that paint the most
amazing pictures of a place out of time, a place I'm quite sure you will
never visit unless you hear John's remarkable vision.

Interview

by D. Alexander Strong

Mysterious Motions of Memory is the name of a new, visually impressive
CD by Minneapolis- based, new age composer John Flomer. This talented musician
is part of a brave new breed of artists who are mapping cinematic worlds of sound
with computer- based instruments.

I met and spoke with Flomer at a local high-tech studio where he works as a "non-
linear, audio- visual editor." I asked Flomer about the inspiration behind his debut
release on the Spotted Peccary label. Here are some excerpts from our conversation.

John Flomer: I like to go out at night and walk. Sometimes there can be a certain smell, say lilacs, and all of a sudden you connect with something from your childhood when lilacs were blooming. The wind has a strong impression on me, its a trigger. When the wind hits you, its just like antiquity is hitting you. Things that happened thousands and hundreds of thousands of years ago are just brushing past you all of the time. Some nights I go out and there'll be nothing. Other nights I'll go out and it will be really electric - those are the nights I call going out for magic. That's how the concept for my CD, Mysterious Motions of Memory developed.

The EDGE: How would you categorize your music for an uninitiated listener?

Flomer: I've never minded the term "new age" or modern, progressive, classical. Andrea White, a DJ in New York who turned me on to the Spotted Peccary label, sees new age music as the classical music of this time.

The EDGE: What musical artists have influenced you the most?

Flomer: As far as contemporary, I've never been the same after hearing Vangelis' "Heaven and Hell." This was back in 1976. Classically - Debussy, Saint-Saens, Alan Hovhaness, Ralph Vaughn Williams, Prokofiev and Tchaikovsky.

The EDGE: Are you classically trained?

Flomer: I'm illiterate. I came out of rock. My earliest influences were 50's rock and roll and movie soundtracks. I played with a local rock band called Archangel for 10 years. We initially started out doing this very high energy, violent type of machine music that was 15 years ahead of its time. It was heavy, scary stuff. After that I made a complete turnaround and got into mellow, pretty stuff with real positive themes. We never had keyboards....but we were writing orchestral-type music, doing it with guitars. The whole R & R thing, the main influence it had on me was to get out of rock.

The EDGE: Is there anything of this "scary stuff" in your current music?

Flomer: It has its moments. I think that music should tell the complete story. Every song has its own little life - and life is not always good from one end to the other. It might only be a momentary thing where there is a heavy orchestral dissonance, like "Voices of the Dragon." It gets a little dark.

The EDGE: On "Spinner of Dreams," what were you thinking?

Flomer: I came up with this little oboe melody.....there was a 50's movie called "The Egyptian" with Victor Mature. In the end, the character Sinuhe, who was exiled to the desert, was writing about his life, and as he finishes the last chapter he falls over and dies. To me that was very mystical. I thought about it and my life and what I'd be doing about it - would I be writing my charms and casting them into the wind as I'm about to die? I've been ridiculed and rejected for doing the things that I do, but it's kept me doing it. Sometimes I'll be beaten and bleeding but still I carry on, spinning my charms into the wind. I want to leave a legacy for my son. That's the feeling I was getting when I was doing this piece.

Album Credits

Produced by Howard Givens & John Flomer.
Recorded at Spotted Peccary Studios, Encinitas, CA.
Mixed by Howard Givens, Jon Jenkins and John Flomer.
Mastered by Roger King, Tucson, AZ
Original cover & disc concept by Midori Mori-Flomer
Illustration & graphic design by Greg Klamt

Thanks to
Andrea White, Howard Givens, Art Welter, Jon Jenkins, Greg Klamt,
Paul Lackey, Deborah Martin, Jeff Moore, Michael Wirts, Marlys,
George & Nancy McGinn, Jim Johnson, Lynn Peterson, Terri d'Ambrosio,
and also Paul Brennecke, Richard Franco, Chris Keefe, Steve Kent,
Mike Lehecka, and the other "avant garde" staff at Greatapes in
Minneapolis, and finally, the entire Spotted Peccary entity
for accepting me into their sphere.

Greetings to
Zaneta & Cassie, Grace & Dessi, Michael & Ester, Doug & Sam, Joel,
Sammy, Jammy & Yammy, Max Snyler, Randine Alex, Takaharu &
Makoto Mori, Byrd Atkinson, Masami Hara, Jimmy Lang, Pat Ford,
Roman & Alice, Ari & Joanne, Adele Satori, Wolfman & Allie,
the Flomer, Wood, and Pecharich clans.

With deep appreciation for
my parents John & MaryAnne...for presence at every tangent, twist and tumble.
my wife Midori...for artistry, endurance, and orbital eccentricity.
my brother Robert...for lunacy, and perpetual lightness of being.
my son Ian...for creativity, talent, and definitely "warp 9."
and little johnny...for escape velocity.

This music is dedicated to the memory of Mrs. Mitsuko Mori

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