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Biographie de The Flower Kings
Source / Auteur : Official Website Date : 08/01/2005 Nb consultation : 4333
All press descriptions of the band but because of the variety of sound on offer, it’s difficult to truly categorise The Flower Kings. "It’s not important to me what you call our music," says guitarist and spiritual helmsman Roine Stolt. "If people say it’s prog rock, then that’s OK. If they call it heavy rock, that's okay too. And if they reckon it's something completely different, that's also alright. As long as they enjoy the music."
If there were a prize for most ambitious and, at the same time, the most versatile band on the prog rock scene, then The Flower Kings would surely be the front runner for it. Since their 1995 debut, Back In The World Of Adventures, the Swedish progressive rockers have released a new album almost every year, often even in the form of a double CD with extended playing times and different styles. This also applies to Autumn 2002. With Unfold The Future the quintet present their latest work, which more than ever represents an overflowing interface of progressive rock, hard rock, blues, jazz and Latino rhythms. More than 140 minutes of finest prog rock with numerous excursions into different musical styles as well as quotes and references to the legendary releases of the genre make Unfold The Future an adventurous tour de force through various musical hemispheres. "One of our creative characteristics is to stretch the limits of our music, both chronologically as well as stylistically, in order to see how far we can further develop subjects and musical structures," guitarist/singer Roine Stolt explains. "We like the many little details in our songs and hope that our fans can relate to them."
Coming together in late ’93 on the back of Stolt’s solo album The Flower King, the band quickly became popular in the progressive rock community. The first proper Flower Kings album, Back In The World Of Adventures, was released on the band’s own Foxtrot label in 1995 to tremendous acclaim. Sonically enhanced by Tomas Bodin (keyboards), Jaime Salazar (drums), Michael Stolt (bass), and Hasse Bruniusson (percussion), they gained a prolific reputation early on by releasing their second album, Retropolis only six months later.
Building on the success of Retropolis, the band issued the ambitious double album Stardust We Are in early 1997. It marked the addition of singer and guitarist Hasse Fröberg to the fold as a full-time member. The surprise success of the album took the band to play their first shows abroad in North America, where they performed at the international Progfest in L.A. Roine Stolt released an instrumental solo album, Hydrophonia, in 1998. Successful tours resulted in the recording of the live album, Alive On Planet Earth, which was compiled from shows in the US, Canada, and Japan.
1999 saw The Flower Kings back in the studio recording another double CD , Flower Power, featuring possibly the longest single track in progressive rock history, the 60-minute "Garden Of Dreams" (actually an 18-part suite). This "epic" composition has since been very successfully adapted to become the highlight of many Flower Kings shows, evolving each night with various of its many sections added, omitted, and generally 'jammed' around. "Garden Of Dreams" is not the only piece that receives this 'open' treatment, making The Flower Kings somewhat unusual in the progressive rock world in that, although they may play the same set list, you will never in fact hear the same concert twice.
Keeping himself busy with numerous jaunts around the world, not to mention his involvement in the highly acclaimed TransAtlantic project (with members of Spock's Beard, Dream Theater, and Marillion), Stolt would appear to deserve a break. However, blessed with an uncanny flow of musical wealth, he would continue the pace by writing and recording Space Revolver in 2000. The album signalled a reversal of the band’s recent trend of writing sprawling double albums by being a relatively tidy single disc. It was also significant in showcasing the arrival of new bassist Jonas Reingold. Jonas’ background, a hybrid of both metal and jazz, proved to be a very important part of The Flower Kings’ newly focused sound.
After further European tours and a small jaunt to South America, in early 2001 the band were back in the studio recording The Rainmaker. Somewhat notably, The Rainmaker signalled the last studio outing for long-time drummer Jaime Salazar. Just prior to the album’s release the band announced that Jaime had decided to turn to other projects and end his long tenure with the band on friendly terms. His replacement was 24-year-old Hungarian jazz drummer Zoltan Csörsz, whose resulting live work with the band has helped to take the band's live aspect to a whole new level.
November 2002 saw the release of a new double album, Unfold The Future, and a small European tour that month, with a fan convention in the Netherlands in early December. The album shows a jazz fusion element being incorporated into the band's soundscape and has been met with an almost universally rapturous response from the progressive music community. The Flower Kings' compositions are too rich and too varied to be ignored. Even though Roine Stolt, in comparing Unfold The Future to its predecessors, thinks it is more exacting than usual. "If we were asked to compare the new songs with some of the most important prog rock albums of the Seventies," he explains, "I would say it's more oriented towards Brain Salad Surgery (Emerson, Lake and Palmer), Relayer (Yes), Hymn Of The Seventh Galaxy (Chick Corea), Tales From Topographic Oceans (Yes), and Larks Tongues In Aspic (King Crimson) than Selling England by the Pound (Genesis), The Yes Album or Dark Side Of The Moon (Pink Floyd). There are polyrhythms and jazzy arrangements on Unfold The Future more so than, say, the more hard rocking elements of The Rainmaker."
Central to the album are the 30-minute-long opener, "The Truth Will Set You Free," "Silent Inferno" with its dash of Spanish/Latin American flair, and the 25-minute-long finale, "Devil´s Playground," which deliberately borders on the atonal, using a Zappa-like basic thread, and which culminates in a fantastic tenor saxophone solo by guest musician Ulf Wallander. Other guest musicians on Unfold The Future are Hasse Bruniusson (orchestral percussion) and background singer Daniel Gildenlöw (guitarist/vocalist of Sweden's prog-metal outfit Pain Of Salvation).
It goes without saying that thoughtful, impassioned lyrics are also part of the package. Unfold The Future is not a concept album per se, but there is definitely a conceptual thread running through it.. "The songs are about the difficult procedure of finding oneself and inner balance in a world of loud media. What I mean is this sheer flood of information - and all the advertising and offers in the printed press, on TV, on video, DVD, and on the Internet. It all comes down to what you make of it all, without losing your soul. I think that Walt Disney, Gandhi, Einstein, Steven Spielberg, Lennon/McCartney and even Henry Ford were driven by a great vision and they'd already mapped their futures in their minds." This is what the Flower Kings are trying to reproduce on Unfold The Future -- to give free rein to their creative vision in the search for new ways of expression.