I am quicksilver, the fox in the night, emotional about the poetry, love & desire in scent, read me.

Thursday 24 September 2015

Necro-Floral Nocturne: ‘Room 237’ by Bruno Fazzolari

The eerie celadon-toned wash of Room 237 in Stanley Kubrick’s 1980 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining is the creeping inspiration for one of the most unsettling perfumes I have discovered for a while. I’m enthralled and a little appalled by this claustrophobic essay in abandoned floral silence. Room 237 by Bruno Fazzolari is uncomfortable scent making, a prickling journey of disintegrating soapy compulsion that is hard to shake.

Foxy bottle of Room 237 by Bruno Fazzolari

I have been wearing this lurid aroma for a while and find myself in love with the toxicity, its suggestion of nocturnal soapiness on the edge of mould, mingled with absence, mildew, wall, tile and fleeting hints of phantom ablutions. It is like nothing else in my collection.

Room 237 by Bruno Fazzolari
(shower curtain impression I)

Bruno is a San Francisco based artist who earned his MFA at San Francisco Art Institute in 1996 after graduating with a BA from the University of California, Berkeley in 1991. He has exhibited in groups as a solo artist in LA, New York and across California. He has synaesthesia, the much discussed condition which allows those that suffer if I have to use such a term, to taste colour, see music and taste sounds. The senses to a certain degree are cross-wired, but this description barely does the condition justice, it is far more complex and abstract than that. Many people see it is a gift, a secret talent, a special viewfinder on the world. I think for Bruno, odours splinter into tonal impressions that move and shift with rather distinctive emotional effect. These colour mood boards that form inside his mind and sometimes on paper act as a point of departure for olfactory exploration.

Bruno's sensory colour
breakdown of rose otto
(source - Bruno Fazzolari blog

There are many different manifestations of synaesthesia and experts continue to redefine the mechanisms and protocols of individual experiences. Some people feel skin sensations on hearing certain sounds, others see colours instead, letters have colours, sounds and words have tastes. A particularly rare manifestation is genuinely empathetic; synesthetes witnessing for example a touch to a person’s cheek will feel that same gesture on their own face. It is a deeply intriguing and emotive subject and makes for very interesting discussion when applied to the creative arts, be they visual, musical, olfactive or even gustatory.

Friday 11 September 2015

A Cargo of Samurai Dreams - ‘Nanban’ by Arquiste

As I was writing my recently posted two-part piece on the Arquiste collection I wondered what would come next from the prodigiously talented triumvirate of Carlos Huber, Rodrigo Flores-Roux and Yann Vasnier. Then, part way through my extensive note making and sampling, the lovely Ruth at Bloom Perfumery (now sadly moved on…) sent me a sample of a new Arquiste perfume that Carlos has shown the Bloom team at a floral themed Arquiste event earlier in the year.

Arquiste Instagram teaser image.. 

The sample was Nanban. It was astonishing. At the time, I had no notes to go with it so I wore it blind, free from trying to locate specific effects and notes in the mix. I set it aside and waited until I was really ready to do it justice. I had been struggling with a weird dose of asnomia from a viral infection and just wasn’t sure if I wasn’t smelling things correctly or even at all to be honest. I had a surreal moment sampling gardenia perfumes and had to stop. I just couldn’t tell if I perceived olfactory inflections of gardenia or just inhaling my own memory paintings of the bloom. It was both harrowing and immensely unsettling.

Carlos Huber & Rodrigo Flores-Roux taking
mischievous shots of yet to be launched Nanban... 

After a month or so, my olfactory senses rebalanced. I reached a point of equilibrium; a necessary if rather nasty regimen of meds seemed to unlock the grace and recognition of my aromatic abilities. As I so often do, I wore Nanban to bed. The weather was close, I always sleep with notebooks by my bed in case I need to write things down, it’s a hangover from teenage dream journals. I knew Nanban was different as soon it curled like careful bonfire over skin.