Orchestra of Spheres: Mirror (Fire/Southbound)

 |   |  1 min read

Black and White
Orchestra of Spheres: Mirror (Fire/Southbound)

Although the Wellington progressive, psyche-improve ensemble Orchestra of Spheres have not previously been consistently impressive in their recordings, they have certainly refined their focus since their first outings.

And here you have to admire their courage in opening with 10 minute drone-based piece which has a backdrop sounding evocatively Tibetan with chant poetry lyrics and a scraping viola passage up front.

It isn't for the faint of heart but it is pretty damn compelling and sets the mood for an album of faux world music-cum-psychedelic sounds, primal funk (Ata with wiggly synths) deliberately lo-fi percussion and a real sense of presence and immediacy in its production.

There are enjoyable elements and borrowings from minimalism and Frippertronics from guitarist Daniel Beban aka Baba Rossa (the opening passages of the delightful Sandpiper with weightless vocals) and his terrific Sahara blues figures on the joyride of Summer Fungus.

The sonic effects and tape manipulation on the two minute Omni might not get many repeat plays but sets up the taut guitar and percussion white funk of Omni Omni. And the closer Foggy Day starts as a spaced-out ambient piece and over its nine minutes reshapes itself into some things very different.

What still pull OoS back a notch is their lack of an engaging vocalist powerful enough to ride over their sound, their default position is often a chant speak-sing.

But other than that reservation, the faith that Britain's Fire label have in them – on the back of their success as a touring unit in Europe and the US as well as some appearances in China – is vindicated by Mirrors.

By their very nature Orchestra of Spheres will probably always be a work in progress but here the allusions to desert blues guitars and childlike mischief (Chimes, and on Koudede which is a gentle lament and tribute to the late Tuareg singer-guitarist of that name) and willingness to work more reflectively (the lovely layered vocals of Nell Thomas aka Mos Iocos on Black and White) than go for full on out-to-impress psychedelic landscapes suggest much enjoyable progress has been made.

Their best yet.

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Occult Detective Club: Crimes (Alive/Southbound)

Occult Detective Club: Crimes (Alive/Southbound)

This can perhaps be very brief. If you haven't heard a decent punky rock album since the Jam's In the City and All Mod Cons then this Dallas four-piece has an album for you. In fact you might... > Read more

Clap Clap Riot: Nobody/Everybody (Universal)

Clap Clap Riot: Nobody/Everybody (Universal)

Clap Clap Riot's previous album Counting Spins was such an instant Elsewhere favourite for its sharp, slightly bratty pop and keen intelligence (see here) that this new one was always going to... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

CAN, THE CATALOGUE AND THE CULT: Talkin' 'bout a revolution

CAN, THE CATALOGUE AND THE CULT: Talkin' 'bout a revolution

By definition most people miss cult acts. And to their tuned-in loyalists that makes them even more special. There is nothing like the whiff or martyrdom, or being ignored or misunderstood, to... > Read more

THE BARGAIN BUY: Robin Trower; Original Album Series

THE BARGAIN BUY: Robin Trower; Original Album Series

Funny how quickly some people can get written out of rock history. British guitarist Robin Trower once commanded considerable column inches in rock magazines and encyclopedias of the Seventies... > Read more