Imaginary Softwoods - Annual Flowers in Color
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Green vinyl repress! "Time is absolute garbage . . . But here's the thing: given enough time, your friends are going to keep making records, you're going to keep listening to them, and if you're lucky, some of them are going to seep into the cracks of your day-to-day . . . Since its initial appearance as a private press double cassette in 2016, Annual Flowers in Color has been exactly this sort of talisman for me. More to the point, it's also the closest thing to a definitive statement in the twelve-year history of John Elliott's Imaginary Softwoods and a no-brainer on the thinking head's shortlist of Elliott's most essential releases, alongside Outer Space's Akashic Record (Events: 1986-1990) (SP 019LP, 2012), Emeralds' Solar Bridge (2008) and What Happened (EMEGO 109LP, 2010), Mist's House (SP 004CD/LP, 2011), Lilypad's Capacitor (2008), Colored Mushroom and the Medicine Rocks' self-titled LP (2010), and Quiet Light Water Gap's Live at the Delaware County VFW Hall (2010). While each of these projects draws from the same reservoir of glittering pinpoint riffcraft and homespun surrealism and each reflects in its own fashion the awareness that a certain undercurrent of lurid horror is essential to all authentically psychedelic music, Imaginary Softwoods has always been distinguished in its relationship to a particular decades-long chain of private press loner music, or chamber music for shut-ins. You wouldn't necessarily be wrong to call Annual Flowers in Color 'deeply personal,' but that almost misses the point . . . it's handmade, human-scale domestic ritual music the making of which is inseparable from the sense in which it's been 'lived in.' . . . Above all, Annual Flowers in Color is an absolutely gorgeous, perfectly weathered, subtly strange record. It's exactly the thing you're thinking of when you think 'I want to hear really killer polysynths and tape delay,' but it's also much more, glistening with distended reflections of Steve Roach and Stapleton, ringing with simultaneous sublimated echoes of the dorkiest and most expensive French mellotron prog and the most incandescent cheap heat from the $2 exotica bin, and dripping with the 'as above, so below' that characterizes synthesizer records at their best. It's both a welcoming point of entry for the uninitiated and a sticky, seductive cut deep enough to envelop any heads seeking a way station on the search for the apocryphal second volume of Cosmos Farm Sessions." --Chris Madak (Philadelphia, February 2020)