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The best kept secret in music


The jam-band model has always been a dicey proposition for non-technical listeners, which is, hell, the vast majority of us. Inherently, the conceptual odds are stacked against us because the musical emphasis is more on sonic or technical exploration rather than pop appeal. And with the pleasure focus on the artist rather than the listener, the propensity toward undisciplined noodling to the point of absurdity often arises, resulting in a form of artistic masturbation.
Hailing from Orlando's own improvisational jam scene, Florganism offers its latest effort, a self-recorded and self-produced live disc recorded from a show at Bodhisattva Social Club in downtown Orlando. So what saves this record from the pitfalls outlined above? Fortunately, they can boast of several things.

Sure, Florganism has all the jam-rock trimmings with their eclectic sound, which is generously infused with jazz, rock, funk, blues and psychedelia. But by avoiding the hippie edge, they've given themselves a more angular and nocturnal vibe.

The production and recording of this live album result in a crisp and full sound, fortunately without losing the background din of the audience and clinking glass, which only reinforces that nice nighttime mood. They successfully harness the prime virtues of a live performance, energy and spontaneity, but not at the cost of sound quality.

The skilled guitar work was impressively diverse. The rhythm section was groove-heavy and notably tight, with the jazz drumming giving their sound briskness and agility. And their synchronicity together truly makes them take flight. But beyond their abundant technical prowess, it is their artistic instincts that prevent any one instrument from reaching the ad nauseum point, sidestepping a major jam-band pitfall.

"P. Dan" moves along nicely with a breezy Steely Dan vibe. "Bass Solo -> Enigma" finds Florganism showcasing some soul. Touches of hip-hop even make an appearance on this recording with some surprisingly competent rapping in "Onna Mishun," the ragged and muffled rapping toward the end of the song being a particularly good touch.

This live record is a good vehicle that showcases their vibe well but it's no Medeski, Martin & Wood session. In other words, it's nothing we haven't heard before. And because it's clear from listening to this album that Florganism is a very capable group of musicians, it wouldn't hurt for them to dig a bit deeper if they want to distinguish themselves from the field.

(note: this is a review of the self-produced 2003 LIVE at Bodhy show/compilation disc that made its way to the hands/ears of this reviewer...)
- Orlando City Beat (an Orlando Sentinel newspaper subsidiary)


The group's debut c.d., 'Get Yer Florg On' and 2003 'LIVE from Bodhy' are both out-of-print. Their c.d.e.p. 'Shorty' was released on Richter Records and is available at the group's shows, cdbaby.com and Park Ave CDs.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Florganism is an Orlando, FL-based group founded in September of 2002. Their original music, commonly called "Florg", is a mixed bag boiling on a stove of madness! It features edgy and progressive funk and rock grooves, gutsy and diverse vocals, punk-inspired riffage, thoughtful and surrealistic lyrics and interactive improvisational excursions which range from groove-oriented to fully abstract. The sound of Florg is a result of a masterful rhythm section intertwining with rhythmic and/or exploratory guitars which venture in multiple directions. The group's riff heavy rock and prog-funk tunes veer into spaced-out exporations while maintaining a notable expressiveness. You must attend a Florg show to catch a glimpse of the tightness, the silliness, the musical tension and energy all rolled into one sound! The group's shows feature their original music (numbering at over 30 tunes!) and an eclectic small list of classic cover tunes from various genres.