Alien Flower Sutra
Rob Mazurek & Emmett Kelly
Format: LP CD Digital
Composed and arranged by Rob Mazurek, Alien Flower Sutra is the apogee of a collaborative conceptual process that bloomed over multiple years, voices and instrumentations. After planting seeds at home with pen, piano and cornet in hand, Mazurek took to various performance spaces in Chicago and São Paulo across 2013 and 2014 to open his compositions to interpretation by a potent pool of creative musicians. Among them was guitarist Emmett Kelly (The Cairo Gang, Joshua Abrams Natural Information Society), whose interchanges with Mazurek led the two to conversations about an accompanying storyline for the music.
Responding to post-apocalyptic and science-fictional imageries long central to Mazurek’s aesthetic (as themed by his Exploding Star Orchestra, Pulsar Quartet, and Black Cube SP), Kelly took to writing lyrics within the framework of the existing melodies. The consummate story colors a vivid first-person narrative through the perception of a cybernetic organism struggling to reconcile the human buried inside their computer-regulated psyche. In the exposition, on “Blackout,” the protagonist finds enlightenment and pleasure in a power outage that temporarily suspends their vision. And by the culmination, on “We Are One,” they find equal expression through both sides of their organic-electronic persona: “a good companion in the steel / understands me like no other / and feels nothing I cannot feel / in the bolt of lightning, we are one.” Meditating on not-too-futuristic concepts common to the collective conscience of our time, the final script finds optimism over paranoia in the advancing state of human evolution.
Though part of Mazurek’s early vision was to develop this work into a full-scale opera, he found inspiration in the intimate voice/guitar recordings Kelly made remotely, and chose instead to experiment with those minimal tracks alongside recordings from Sâo Paulo’s El Rocha Studios he’d been maturating in his modular synthesizers. Alien Flower Sutra as finalized for this release is an animate palette of poetry and electronic treatments conducted by Mazurek and articulated by the candor of Kelly’s aching narratives.
Composed and Arranged by Rob Mazurek (OLHO, ASCAP)
Lyrics by Emmett Kelly (thecairogang, BMI)
Rob Mazurek - Electronic Treatments, Modular Synths, Cornet
Emmett Kelly - Voice, Guitar
Thomas Rohrer - Rabeca (on Blackout)
Guilherme Granado - Synth, Sampler, Electronics (on Bright Nights Havoc)
Carlos Issa - Guitar and Electronics (on Bright Nights Havoc)
Brittany Mazurek - Voice (on Embryo Genesis)
Produced by Rob Mazurek
Mastered by Helge Sten
Additional Editing by David Allen
Paintings by Rob Mazurek
Design by Craig Hansen
Video by Damon Locks and Rob Shaw