On paper Black Narcissus is a band that should only be able to function within a small box; it wouldn’t be unreasonable to approach the idea of a band comprised entirely of bass guitar and drums with an expectation of two-dimensionality. After all, there are literally only two instruments doing all the heavy lifting. But not long after the needle drops on the Belgian duo’s newest record Where The Flowers Grant You Wishes it becomes indisputably clear that this is a much more unique and complex experience than initial expectations would lead one to believe. The often-verbose song titles lead the listener down a path to the story behind the songs, while the compositions themselves reveal a rejoiceful chronicle of improvisational performance, inquisitive exploration, melodies that speak to one another, and exquisite layers that emerge once these conversations have taken place.
To paraphrase bassist Jesse Massant, Where The Flowers Grant You Wishes is the next chapter of a larger story that is intended as one continuous narrative, where the song titles act as signposts, and the song structures as pathways. In keeping with the themes of nature and journeying it is important to the band that every track unfold organically, both during the songwriting stage and ultimately at the point of listener experience. Each song begins with a skeleton of an idea that is filled in during initial recording, and even with small imperfections intact, that foundational body is clothed and given definition afterward, until eventually a completed composition takes shape. Massant references his jazz background when he discusses his intentions for Black Narcissus – being able to appreciate the flaws, allowing the music to speak to you and responding appropriately with either counter melodies or backing basslines, looking at a song as an ever-developing lifeform as opposed to a collection of riffs. This approach is in large part what allows Where The Flowers Grant You Wishes to come alive as a soundtrack to wordless stories. And like the best stories, there are always new elements to discover each time through – small details that are granted a voice by the band’s refusal to yield to pre-determined arrangements prior to recording.
The resulting record prevails as something far more intriguing, nuanced, and complex than anyone would anticipate after being made aware of Black Narcissus’ stripped-down framework. They are yet another homegrown band here in Belgium taking recognizable musical styles to unique places and re-defining what those styles are capable of becoming. We’re not only proud to call Black Narcissus a member of our label roster, but to call them our neighbors in this impressive, inspired, and ever-expanding Belgian musical landscape.
– Text by Young Epoch
Where The Flowers Grant You Wishes by Black Narcissus on double colored Opaque Purple w/ Trans Magenta/Violet Centered Splatter vinyl. Comes in gatefold cover and is limited to 300 copies.
Released February 26th, 2021.