‘The Time, The Tide' EP by Blind OrbitsReview
Many thanks to Ciaran Corkerry for brining to my notice the impending release of Blind Orbits' new EP ‘The Time, The Tide' on September 29th.
One of those looser ensembles, Blind Orbits is centred around a core band of Ciaran on drums, Matt Flood on guitars & keyboards and Dave Speedy on bass guitar & brass. However they seem very open to collaboration as Martin Orton & Lara Orton provide vocals as does Wu-Tang affiliate Killah Priest (yes really!) and Georgia Cunliffe more keyboards: in fact they self identify as a "sonic collective" which seems accurate. On this occasion, Krohme produced, mixed & mastered all three tracks.
These consist of the title track, an extended version of the single "Day of the Dead" (that's the Killah Priest collaboration) and "Reborn" (described as being "synth-driven, higher-tempo" , but you'll need to wait for the EP to come out to judge for yourselves as I've not heard it myself).
"The Time, The Tide" (the track) opens the record: the band are categorised as shoegaze and that fits: I suppose that one definition of that genre might be that songs groove along in often very understated ways so that they give the impression of epic scale without either overdoing the arrangement nor lasting for ages: a neat achievement. Indeed it was a surprise to note that this track "only" lasts three and a half minutes such is the sense of space & its hypnotic pace.
I guess hypnosis is part of what they are aiming for and how they create this impression and very good they are at it too. The three instrumentalists give the impression of having honed their capacity to lock in together & keep the groove going without forcing it or grandstanding (which as readers will know tends to get high marks from me). The guest vocalists respond to this & fit their contributions in effectively: not just at the technical level but in adding to the overall feel. Contemplating eternity (as they do), requires a certain soundscape and they all achieve something which suggests objectivity, reflection and even a sort of blissed-out mood without slipping into a reverie nor tedium which is a big danger for artists playing with these tempos.
"Day of the Dead" is a different sort of beast altogether (good showcase of range!) with such a different style of vocalist offering additional elements (Martin is on there still too though). One peril for reviewers is when preconceptions slip into assumptions and when you give a track that name & invite someone from the Wu-Tang world aboard, I expected some sense of the sinister and I think it would be wrong to say that's not there: it's all a bit apocalyptic (biblical content is his forte), but that's not apparently the whole story of the song. Certainly there is an appropriate Mexican theme going on in the tune (complete with a nice bit of mournful mariachi brass) and I think this is a key to the song & its place on the EP: both songs which I've heard relate to perceptions of time and those perceptions take a long view, encompassing cycles of nature, including birth & death. There is a deep sadness in this song, but not morbidity & the relentless spiritual imagery is on offer to provide one means of processing it all.
A real fillip of reviewing at times like these is the chance to listen to material which has no other parallels locally: it's very encouraging. There is nothing I've heard like Blind Orbits and if you like immersing yourself in music whose message is more impressionistic than rigorously literal, you'll like this I'm sure.
There is a video (directed by Lions of Dissent) for you to check out too at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qa-qTEdIbNE