|Orchestra Of Spheres — Mirror (Nov. 2, 2018)
Orchestra Of Spheres — Mirror (Nov. 2, 2018)✹ This New Zealand collective uses homemade and formal instruments to create a hybrid music from numerous global traditions.
Location: Wellington, New Zealand.
Album release: November 2, 2018
Recorded: January, 2018 ~ April, 2018
Recording Location: Building M, Wellington, New Zealand
Record Label: Fire Records
01 Mirror 9:53
02 Ata 5:37
03 Chimes 4:58
04 Sandpiper 4:55
05 Summer Fungus 4:36
06 Black & White 6:59
07 Omni 2:20
08 Omni Omni 5:00
09 Koudede 8:39
10 Foggy Day 8:58
✹ Daniel Beban Group Member, Tapes, Vocals
✹ Georgette Brown Artwork
✹ Peter Daly Viola
✹ Warwick Donald Engineer, Mixing
✹ Mike Gibson Mastering
✹ Riki Gooch Drums, Group Member, Percussion, Vocals
✹ Erika Grant Group Member, Vocals
✹ Lucien Johnson Sax (Baritone), Sax (Soprano)
✹ Blair Latham Clarinet (Bass)
✹ Oscar Laven Bassoon, Oboe
✹ Jonny Marks Synthesizer
✹ Reece McNaughten Group Member, Percussion
✹ Orchestra of Spheres Composer
✹ Isaac Smith Vocals
✹ Nell Thomas Flute, Group Member, Harp, Synthesizer, Vocals
✹ Mirror, a double LP and the band’s 4th release on Fire Records, is an exploration of energies and atmospheres, from intense futuristic funk and sonic tape assemblages to windswept reflections from a far flung corner of the world. It combines Orchestra of Spheres’ ecstatic rhythmic power and ritualistic vocals with an expanded orchestral palette including bassoon, harp, viola, bass clarinet, soprano sax, flute and bowed ektars.
✹ The album was recorded at Building M, an old corrugated iron warehouse down the end of an industrial lane in Newtown, Wellington. Nestled between a cattery, a bowling green and the Wellington Zoo, Building M is the home and studio of Warwick Donald, a musician and engineer who’s been recording underground local bands for many years. Sounds of revving motorbikes wafted through the studio’s open windows, mingling with late summer cicadas and hungry lions at feeding time. The band set up in Warwick’s big open recording room which doubles as the kitchen, living room and occasional gig space, and put his collection of old New Zealand amps, mics and homemade reverb plates to good use.
✹ The open recording setup and group interplay nods towards psychedelic jazz explorations, with drummers Woild Boin and Farmerboy laying down deep grooves from which spring forth the syncopated bass lines of EtonalE, quicksilver synths of Mos Iocos and fuzz laden guitar of Baba Rossa. OOS dipped into Wellington’s deep pool of creative musical talent to gather the additional timbres that take this musical journey into new sonic realms. Peter Daly’s beautifully tense viola playing on the title track conjures a dark shadowy world while shawm~like reeds gives a funereal tone to Koudede, a lament for the great Tuareg guitarist and singer, who tragically died not long after Orchestra of Spheres supported Group Inerane in Utrecht. Another highlight is Black and White, where Mos Iocos’s bell~like vocals create a whirlpooling sonic dreamstate.
AllMusic Review by Paul Simpson; Score: ****
✹ Orchestra of Spheres’ fourth full~length is their longest and most ambitious work to date, as well as their most hypnotic, with a greater presence of trance~inducing mantras among the genre~busting dance grooves usually heard on the group’s albums. Mirror also boasts fuller orchestration than their other efforts, with shamanic strings and colorful horns/woodwinds taking greater precedence than before. The album’s presentation makes it seem like their most honest work; the members are listed by their real names rather than their cartoonish pseudonyms, and there are fewer self~invented instruments listed in the credits. The opening title track is a ten~minute raga~like procession with droning strings and several vocalists chanting about reflection and transparency. The album picks up with „Ata,“ where shoegaze guitars glide over skipping rhythms and monotone vocal repetitions are countered with excited, effects~heavy interjections. Halfway through, the track pauses and some Trans Am~like synth sounds cruise in, and the rhythm becomes much more tense and stuttering, ramping up to a chaotic, battering finale. Other tracks such as „Chimes“ and „Omni Omni“ feature perky, staccato vocal bursts over Afrobeat~inspired rhythms, displaying the group’s fun, celebratory, and slyly sexual side. Returning to a more spiritual state, the much calmer „Black and White“ features vocal rounds stating „Not everything is black and white,“ gradually segueing into a swirling, Krautrock~esque instrumental passage. The harp~heavy „Koudede“ meshes Alice Coltrane~style spiritual jazz with desert blues, with lyrics paying tribute to Koudede, the late Tuareg guitarist and member of Group Inerane. More universally conscious as well as more introspective than their past works, Mirror vastly expands Orchestra of Spheres’ scope while maintaining their kinetic energy and exploratory spirit. ✹ https://www.allmusic.com/
|Orchestra Of Spheres — Mirror (Nov. 2, 2018)