Fanon Flowers looks back on an age of chrome & steel on “Detroit Automation”
Written by ELF Radio (Team) on 18.10.2023
The real fucking bummer about misspent youth is that I won’t get another chance to hear Fanon Flowers for the first time again. Before anyone I knew was talking about “sound design,” Fanon Flowers was making techno that could bang but also techno with a physicality to it — techno with textures that you could almost touch with your fingertips.
Though Flowers lives in LA, Detroit is still a source of inspiration — hence the title of the Detroit Automation LP. Though released two years ago, I just heard it for the first time recently during a Bandcamp crawl and immediately fell in love with it. The seven track album is a masterpiece of minimal but visceral ambient and machine-tooled techno. They come at you in waves: the steam vents and distant rumble of the beatless “Infrastructure Corrosion” blends seamlessly into the ominous hydraulic menace of “Automatic Assembly.” The title track is an earworm, a single piece of code that runs through your mind like its printed on papertape. Detroit Automation is immaculate in production and in structure — not a note feels excessive, or indulgent, or out of place.
The only comment by the artist with the album indicates that Detroit Automation was “recorded in 2011 at the Wyndham Hotel Detroit, Michigan.” It’s always tempting to say that Fanon Flowers or another artist of his vintage are ahead of their time. Two years or twelve years or twenty, time makes a liar of all of us, because there has never been and never will be a time when music this good is available in abundance. Their time is now.
⚪️ Detroit Automation Tracklisting
Fanon Flowers: Detroit Automation LP (Digital)
1. Basic Process (06:44)
2. Infrastructure Corrosion (04:37)
3. Automatic Assembly (06:54)
4. Part Programming (05:23)
5. Detroit Automation (07:29)
6. Operation Sequence (06:06)
7. River Rouge (07:31)
⚪️ Disclosure Statement
This record was not submitted as a promo.
5 Mag Issue 207
TIME CAPSULE: This was originally published in 5 Mag Issue #207 featuring Joyce Muniz’s Zeitkapsel, Fred Everything, how to save a landmark, the AI that is eating streaming alive, Conrad Colson, LF System and more. Help keep our vibe alive and our shine bright by becoming a member for $2/month and get every issue in your inbox right away!
Fanon Flowers’ Detroit Automation LP is a masterpiece of minimal and visceral ambient and machine-tooled techno.