Tomáš Dvořák is a composer and graphic artist from Czech Republic who works under the moniker of Floex. Despite his relatively young age, Dvořák’s discography is already rich of a good number of interesting albums where he blends together heterogeneous genres like classical music, electronic and jazz, showing great technique and a notable musical sensibility, Three years ago Dvořák started a collaboration with English composer and musician Tom Hodge and their efforts resulted in the release of Portrait of John Doe, recorded with support of the renowned Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Portrait of John Doe is an incredible album. It has unique and extravagant arrangements, it’s conceptual and “forward thinking”, but, most important, it’s absolutely nice and joyful to listen. To some extent, I feel it’s destined to leave a strong mark in the experimental and avant-gard electronic music scene.
The album is filled with many hints and references from modern classical music. There are clear hints and references to both the orchestral and electronic works by Philip Glass, and we have rarified and haunting atmospheres like those we find in some of the works of Bela Bartok and Dmitrij Šostakovič.
To enjoy all of the above, however, you shall abandon any preconceptions and be ready to discover and enjoy all the different ways that have been used by Dvořák and Hodge to combine together modern classical motifs with ambient atmospheres and electronic beats. Dvořák and Hodge must have worked very hard in order to calibrate so precisely all the different and heterogeneous components that have been included in each one of the songs.
The mood of the various songs is generally soft and delicate and the album may easily stay in the background for many moments of our days, even if in this case you will lose many of the details that make this album so special.
In summary: Portrait of John Doe is an ambitious record that was done very well, plenty of surprises and absolutely innovative. This music is really different from everything you’ve heard in the recent times and it really deserves the time (and the effort) that are necessary to enjoy its crystalline beauty without too many distractions and interruptions
My favorite songs are John Doe Arise, Wednesday (Is The New Friday) and I Dream of Ikaria.