In the wake of unrest, many turn to art, and there may not be a more extravagant display of sonic artistry than False Noise‘s debut album, Floral Strobe. The Canadian producer known for his majestic displays of genre-bending sounds has been an underrated force in the realm of innovation for years now, but with the release of Floral Strobe, False Noise is bound to appear on radars across electronic music scene, and perhaps even beyond.
Simply put, Floral Strobe is unlike anything out right now. It’s a ten-track endeavour transcending genres and styles totaling fifty-three minutes, but never losing one’s attention. From emotional highs to tumultuous lows, and from grueling bass sections to insanely complex chords and layers, Floral Strobe encapsulates an unparalleled amount of feelings, textures, and creativity. A certain contender for album of the year, it would be unjust to try to describe the album with further words, as the work of art goes far beyond that. It’s a masterpiece worthy of multiple listens from start to finish to capture its full beauty, and we will leave it at that.
While you dive in, make sure to read our interview with False Noise below to learn more about the album, its inspirations, obstacles, and much more.
First off, congratulations on the release of your debut album, Floral Strobe. How long has the project been in the works?
I started it in April last year and finished in April of this year, but I didn’t know I was writing an album at first, I also had no WIPs started before this outside of an early version of the track ‘Dreamer’ so everything I was writing for this was completely fresh. Once I had three tunes going (‘Bioluminess,’ ‘Bright like the Sun,’ ‘Wing’), there was this feeling that came into focus which was like “ok I have something going here.” I then decided I was writing an album.
I was listening to it backwards for what ever reason, I really liked how this one synth sounded when reversed so I went back into the project and made it like that.
A recent tweet states how your creative process has been relatively unimpeded for the last three years, while another also hints at characteristic perfectionism. What was your “screw it, it’s done” moment? Describe how that felt.
Honestly I still feel like it’s not done, but I ignore this. It’s kind of hilarious, the “mixing” stage of the record was really just a long detailing process, and even in the mastering stage I was changing things around. I remember there was this time where I was working with the premaster for ‘Bioluminess’ and I was listening to it backwards for what ever reason, I really liked how this one synth sounded when reversed so I went back into the project and made it like that.
You also shared your thoughts about producing with a ruptured eardrum. Is this something you’ve been dealing with for a long time or is it recent? How has it impacted your production process, and how do you think your latest work compares to your older work as a result of this?
It turned out it was never ruptured, it was a wax issue and I originally figured it was ruptured due to the pain that preceded it. Though, for almost two years now I’ve been dealing with some bizarre ear-related symptoms that definitely impact production. It’s this thing where I can only hear so much sound in a day before I start experiencing pain and a loud ringing, the volume of the sound doesn’t matter, as long as there’s sound. I’m stuck in a cycle where it will get bad for a few months and then it mostly subsides. But yeah, this sort of thing really gets in the way, I feel cursed as a producer.
I didn’t go into writing the album with any sort of narrative in mind, but I did find a lot of meaning closer to the end of the writing process, and a lot of the themes I discovered as I wrote.
Let’s dive deeper into the album. The journey that the album, and even individual tracks, takes listeners through is all-encompassing. Is there a story behind Floral Strobe?
I didn’t go into writing the album with any sort of narrative in mind, but I did find a lot of meaning closer to the end of the writing process, and a lot of the themes I discovered as I wrote. I see the album as a day/night cycle where the song ‘Dreamer’ marks sunset and ‘Sylvan Strobe’ marks sunrise. The tracks in the middle of the album happen during a night time setting and follow more spacious and wandering song structures. I usually feel sort of lost and aimless at night as the day is coming to a close and I don’t know what to do with myself, this is reflected in the structure of those tracks. On the other hand, the last few tracks on the album take place in the morning and revolve around more stable, repetitious rhythmic ideas. This is a reflection of how I feel during this time of the day, I feel on top of my shit and I get the most work done around these hours.
Everything from the level of detail to the pairing of musicality and bass is extremely unique and unparalleled. Was the project inspired by other music, or does the inspiration go further than that? Who or what were the influences behind Floral Strobe?
Jon Hopkins, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Tim Hecker have been huge musical influences for me. They have a certain way of arranging and shaping sound that I really resonate with. I also like a lot of weird, quirky rock music. Bands like black midi, Palm, and Battles inspired a lot of the rhythm work and sound pairings that I go for. I’m constantly looking for new music that inspires me in a new kind of way.
What’s your favourite track from the piece and why?
‘Majesty’ is probably my favourite track. I knew it was going to be this big thing so I started the track after I had already finished most of the album. The long and winding outro of that track is probably my favourite moment on the album as I feel it perfectly captures the essence of who I am as a person and as an artist.
Did the current global situation play a role in how your album came to a close? Did quarantine inspire how some tracks sound and/or did it give you more time to finish the project?
By the time this whole virus thing started the album was already mostly done, I was pretty much just doing final details and mixing at this stage. I also don’t get out a whole lot in general so things don’t feel that much different to me right now.
Being stuck inside, I don’t really have much else to do outside of listening to music or writing it. I also kinda start freaking out if I’m not being productive so yeah.
Now that Floral Strobe is out, what are your plans for the rest of 2020? Will you be taking a break from music to enjoy different things, and if so, what do you enjoy outside of music?
Right now I’m getting around to working on all the collaborative stuff I pushed away as I was working on the album. On the side, I’m already working on another large project actually, though I’m taking it much slower with this one at the moment. Being stuck inside, I don’t really have much else to do outside of listening to music or writing it. I also kinda start freaking out if I’m not being productive so yeah.