Black Moth Super Rainbow – Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods EP

Black Moth Super Rainbow
Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods EP

Deep in the hemlock forests of Pennsylvania, sulking about and shedding its perpetual deluge of tears, the mythical squonk (Lacrimacorpus dissolvens) resides, forever elusive and melting away into a puddle of tepid lachrymal froth when confronted by would-be trappers. It is in its despondent company that Black Moth Super Rainbow has constructed Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods. Locked away in a decrepit little forest-choked cabin, an enigmatic crew of “five members” recorded the framework for Lost…, utilizing 60s-era recording equipment and techniques to lay down their fuzzy synth lines and crackling drum tracks (and even a booming gong on the title track). Here and there throughout the album, a vocoded voice comes floating in over the primitive techno garble like the penitent wail of some sorrowful squonk shivering outside the window at dusk, and at once the album is both technically modest and flamboyantly emotive in presentation.

In many ways, Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods stays true to the decades from which it has lifted its recording methods and instrumentation. The warm, organic tones and hazy atmospherics hearken back to the days of early German electronic experimentation, a Kraut-laced concoction of interstellar synthesizers and kosmische dance groove. Black Moth Super Rainbow has always had an odd cyber-organismic savvy, existing as a symbiosis of reclusive woodlander folk sensibilities and the expansive cosmic reach of electronica, an identity the artists seem to continually refine with each release. While past records have found the troupe utilizing acoustic guitars or childish melodies, Lost finds BMSR in decidedly darker territory, at times as forlorn as their squonk brethren yet always wistfully optimistic at the prospect of another day’s sunrise. Much as the squonk slinks about, crying over its ugly leprous appearance, Lost… unfolds like some time-forgotten 60s gem, ugly to the ears of today’s studio-refined consumers and teetering on the chasmal brink of obscurity-from-which-none-return.

Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods is incredibly difficult to place, a testament to the unique approach of Black Moth Super Rainbow and of how foreign something that conjures the days of yore sounds when heard side by side with the digital production methods that dominate the industry today. While lo-fi has certainly been making a comeback as of late (not that it was ever really gone), Lost… is beyond lo-fi, an inherent mismatching – the futuristic sounds of the electronic age belted out in the spirit of ancient acoustic musings, a hip-sounding counterpart to the dusty records of un-cool parents. Among brief interludes such as “Algae” and “Chinese Witch Guy with an Ax,” one finds propulsive Neanderthal-dancehall breakbeats, reverb-soaked analog ambience, and even the bluesy stoner-rock bassline of the incredible “Flowers Grow Here.”

It would hardly be surprising if the members of Black Moth Super Rainbow had simply stumbled upon a crater while hiking in the woods, buried in its heart a small capsule containing the tapes for Lost, Picking Flowers in the Woods. Perhaps it was originally a message intended for the squonks, a transmission from their true unearthly inhabitance, never intended to be heard by human ears. Is that a squonk depicted on the cover art? And what exactly are the folkloric tales that supposedly inspired the album? Who truly is responsible for all of this? Whatever it may be, Lost… is surely something beyond much of the music created today, and whether otherworldly or of wild Pennsylvanian autochthony, its message is one that all should take the time to ponder.