It’s always a little strange to write about musicians you know personally. You worry that you’ll lose perspective on their music or treat them with too much kindness. I know Flourishing better than I know most bands, having shared a practice space with them for about a year. Fortunately, I have little reason to worry about favoritism—other writers at publications like NPR and Stereogum share my enthusiasm.
It helps that Flourishing the band is difficult to connect with Flourishing the individuals. In person, these three men are genial and, like many metal musicians, a little goofy. By contrast, Flourishing’s music is massive, imposing, and eerie, like the Monolith from 2001: A Space Odyssey. Much has been made of their kaleidoscopic influences: Immolation, Swans, Godflesh, Righteous Pigs, Amphetamine Reptile’s catalog, et cetera. They stand upon the shoulders of giants, but it’s not obvious when you listen. Flourishing just sounds like Flourishing.
On Intersubjectivity, sounding like Flourishing has become an even more ambitious project. Like their 2011 LP The Sum of All Fossils, Intersubjectivity molds their death/grind clay into fantastical soundscapes. It’s the product of considerable reflection—this material was put to tape over a year ago. The long gestation shows. Intersubjectivity is bizarre stuff, production-wise. Garett Bussanick’s guitars sound more like giant sheets of metal colliding than they do like guitars. These guitars pile up into ambient cloudforms above Erik Rizk and Brian Corcoran’s scraping rhythms. It’s death metal as a natural disaster: primal and devastating, but not actually malicious, and more beautiful than you’d expect (as many Hurricane Sandy photo galleries can attest).
Like its predecessor, Intersubjectivity deals with slippery concepts; epistemology and the war between truth and disinformation figure prominently here. These concerns produce some great one-liners. (“Each flicker of knowledge craves a place in a future host” has the ring of truth to it.) They also offer a promising message:
“I see only lighthouses in front of me / With eyes fixed to horizon and spine unbending”
Logistics have put Flourishing on hold for the past year; Bussanick no longer lives in New York City. With material as excellent as Intersubjectivity under their belt, I hope they find a way to forge on.
Flourishing – “A Living Sundial”
Flourishing – “The Petrification Lottery”
Flourishing – “Intersubjectivity”
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