srijeda, 13. ožujka 2013.

Ela Orleans - Tumult In Clouds (2012)

Ela Orleans

Ela Orleans je Poljakinja koja je živjela i radila u New Yorku, koji ju je izmučio i razbolio, pa onda u Plymouthu (ne znam je li to bitno, ali GoogleEarth tako kaže).
Različite žanrove šiva jedne preko drugih ali tako da krvare iz zapešća i ušiju (kamo su se zavukli mikrofilmovi koji stvaraju stigme). Zaista ne znam zašto nije slavna.

I have very fond memories of Ela Orleans. I heard her music playing in the record store I helped out at in Paris, Les Balades Sonores, this past spring. And now here she is with a new album through Clan Destine Records, Tumult In Clouds. The label describes the album as "a journey over four sides taking inspiration from literary sources. Something like a book." And indeed, Ela has come up with the coolest literary essay I’ve ever encountered. It’s an album that lives up to its title "tumult", with songs that have named like "Diving into the Wreck", "Risky Trip to the Underworld", "Dark Wood", "Clangers in the Night", and "Where Are You?". Clouds are not often thought of as places of "tumult", but for this artist, even the fluffiest, most lithe entities are hefty. Her sources are a veritable treasure trove, but the good thing is that you may also listen to the album without caring about the context. Emily Dickinson, Alestair Crowley, Lord Byron, Thomas Hardy, Arthur Rimbaud, Jacques Derrida, and Tennessee Williams – Ela Orleans takes the academic-cum-musician concept we've seen prominently in quite a few places this year to a different level here.
Tumult In Clouds is an album filled with styles and stories too, with almost every track getting a different genre tag when loaded onto your computer's music library: "Pranks", "Booty Bass", "Dance Hall", or "Polka", though this might ultimately have the sole purpose to tease the reviewer, as Clan Destine operates as a analogue-only imprint. Then there’s "Where Are You?", aptly described by the label as "a swirling dervish of an instrumental", and of course there can't possibly ever be anything wrong with a swirling dervish. The title track has this amazing, things-are-looking-up violin its way through seven minutes of Yeats verse. Apparently the song is "about a friend of the Yeats family who was shot down over Italy whilst serving in the First World War". And for some reason, you can just picture the plane in black and white, making its way through Italian clouds. Unsurprisingly, this is the 'swirling dervish', the plane going down in slow motion over seven minutes. Instrumental track "Dark Wood" on the other hand darts forward like a tadpole. In fact, it's a song that would sound like the soundtrack to the most dry day of your life if it weren’t for this stressed darting. we highly recommend you give this whole double LP a thorough listen. Despite being dark and bleak on the edges, Tumult In Clouds isn’t a record to fear, it’s one to trust. Embrace the 'tumult in clouds'. Ela has. -

Here at Norman Towers we’re tireless exponents of Ela Orleans’s dreamy haunty weirdpop so I think it’s fair to say I’m pretty excited about this album turning up, with 19 new songs (well, there’s two sub-30-second interludes so 17 really) stretched over four sides of pristine black vinyl. The most recent couple, ‘Lost’ and ‘Mars Is Heaven’, have both been played so much in my house that they’re permanently imprinted on my subconscious now, and so getting this much new material at once (even more if you include her super-limited remix LP which also drops this week) is a treat of epic proportions, especially since I’ve been studiously avoiding hearing any clips online prior to release.
It does, however, make my job as a reviewer pretty difficult since this album is ambitious and diverse and of course very long, and I foolishly stayed up past 3am talking to a friend so my mind isn’t what it should be today. The overall feel is a bit more lighthearted and playful than previous efforts, with a little more Madlibesque sampledelicism in places (although that’s hardly something new for her) and perhaps with more of an obvious soundtrack influence (I keep hearing the likes of Herrmann and Korzynski creeping through the cracks in her brittle ghost-pop) but still with the crackly old-time atmospheres and androgynous vocals that we all love about her previous offerings.
On my third listen through, highlights include opener ‘A Jealous Lover’, which pairs a lengthy Aleister Crowley speech sample with a sweet shuffle groove, the melodic loopiness of ‘This Is’ captures that classic intangible nostalgic aesthetic which Orleans has really made her own in recent years, ‘Light At Dawn’ is a total spook-pop classic which has previously surfaced as a download, then on side three we get my favourite cut so far, a cover of Francoise Hardy’s ‘J’ai Bien Du Chagrin’ which mixes French speech samples and uplifting cut up brass loops over a base of warm melodic drift. Utterly brilliant. Then there’s a gameboy-sampling interlude and then ‘Risky Trip to the Underworld’ is like a Pye Corner Audio-ish take on Alain Goraguer’s ‘La Planete Sauvage’ OST before the epic title track washes us away into a blissed-out trance with slow-cycling melodies and analogue decay. On the final side the big surprise is ‘Your Fame’ which punks things up to an Orleans take on ‘60s psych-garage pop with lyrics appropriated from Lord Byron of all people in her trademark cut’n’paste magpie style. Amazing. There’s a bit more ‘60s psych-pop in the upbeat closer ‘In The Night’, which has a totally sweet guitar lick looping under some breathy self-harmonising vocals.
Even with this review threatening to turn into an epic essay I really feel like I’m only scratching the surface of the nonstop brilliance contained on these two LPs. Right now this album is making me feel better about being alive, I hope it makes you feel the same.  -Norman Records

The double LP has a certain stigma; an implied obligation to deliver art on a grandiose scale. Ela Orleans’s genre hopping 19-track Tumult in Clouds manages to prove the stigma irrelevant and meet those expectations in her own, unpredictable ways. The variety of styles and sonic textures present here come as no shock, given Ela’s back catalog of thoughtful explorations of various styles, but the subtle ways in which the tracks form relationships that make up, well, the album are worth the price of admission alone. Case in point: “Longing,” wherein wandering vocals and obtuse harmonies serve to deossify a downbeat mod groove. Like the LP itself, the more listening time you invest, the more the track rewards your attention. Digest along with several cups of tea, slowly transitioning to whiskey or possibly something even stronger. Repeat.

And if that isn’t enough, we humbly submit Ela and Thee Prophets, a remix EP of Ela’s older material featuring reinterpretations from Silver Strain, Slim Twig, The Drum, Pyramids of MU, Skitter, Dan Melchior, Mushy, Os Ovni, Nattymari, Fostercare, and U.S Girls. Needless to say, plenty of intriguing sytlistic clashes and accords to be found there. Use The Drum’s more bass heavy, micro-percussion laden take on eternal favorite “The Seasons” as your jump off point.- Luke Carrell

remix LP ELA AND THEE PROPHETS (remixes by Silver Strain, Mushy, Dan Melchior, Fostercare, U.S. Girls, Nattymari, Slim Twig, The Drum, Pyramids of MU, Os Ovni and Skitter

No more ‘thee’ please, there’s enough already! Other than that minor quibble this is another very strong record in which various artists tackle, re-work and re-make the finest work of a favourite here at the towers, Ela Orleans. Now, my fleeting appearances here allow me to miss out on all kinds of stuff that, naturally, a man with my standing in the music industry should be aware of. I had not previously heard of Ela Orleans, a lady who makes both Mike and Brian’s knees go rather weak when they listen to her psychedelic soundscapes. I am probably therefore the best person to review things having no preconceptions about her past triumphs.
Rather like a glimpse at a ‘Betty’s’ cake tray, this is a smorgasbord of delights from the chocolate eclair of my favourite track, Silver Strain’s woozy dreamy electronica of ‘Axon Terminal Voices’, to the vanilla custard tart of The Drum’s dubscape ‘The Season’. There’s a house/trance workout from Pyramids of Mu (the Battenberg of the collection) whilst the piece de resistance, the if-you-will chocolate cheesecake is provided by Dan Melchior who adds big drums and vocals to create an excellent slightly lollopy tune which would be the highlight of any record.
I’d been looking forward to hearing the music of Mushy and it she doesn’t disappoint with a Black Forest gateau of a ethereal dreamscape. Finally U.S. Girls takes the proverbial Lemon Meringue pie with a churning, dreamy ode with clattering noise and distinctive vocals. Appears on nice vinyl with inner sleeve which tells you about all the artists involved. - Norman Record

Curt Crackrach/Ela Orleans, 80 Minutes Of Funk (2012)

How’s this for value? 40 minutes each of explorative lo-fi from the amusingly monikered Curt Crackrach (aka Nattymari, Netnanny, Ron Hardly...) and prolific citizen-of-the-world Ela Orleans, all for less than a fiver!
Anyway, Crackrach’s side opens with some library synth tones all shrouded in stuttering tape decay before taking us on an 18-track voyage into a world of tape hiss, lo-fi loops and sleepy grooves with lots of minimal synth and various other instruments, notably a big wibbly jew’s harp jam and an unexpected slice of smooth minimal soulpop. There’s John Carpenter synthscapes, awkward stuttering rhythmic loop chaos offset by smooth synths compressed against the beat until they flicker like dying tube-lights, hypnotic minimal passages, spy-soundtrack funk, loop-and-sample madness like a lo-fi’s unpredictable and slightly tongue-in-cheek but all very well-executed. Kind of comes across like a more demented take on Ela Orleans’s former band Hassle Hound in places actually - playful sampling, intricate rhythms and a finely tuned sense of musical narrative.
On the other side of course we have Orleans herself, with what the press release describes as “40 minutes of her work for television, soundtracks and radio remixed and re imagined with some new songs all woven together in this epic journey to some other place”. As we have come to expect from this lady, it’s marvellous, drifting seamlessly from one passage to another of spacious, insidious rhythms, melodies and ambience. There’s guitars, piano, strings, field recordings, analogue drones and ghostly choirs (not all at once) inhabiting these calm, sinister spaces which owe as much to classic score composers like Bernard Herrmann and Ennio Morricone (and maybe a touch of Lynch/Splet) as to contemporary minimal hauntologists like the Caretaker, Anworth Kirk or Leyland Kirby. At one point (lost track of titles by now) there’s watery drips and splashy footsteps creating a paranoid sense of unease with some spooky drones, but then a calming, gentle, muted piano brings in this disconnect that gives it a quite effective sense of foreboding, although it gently drifts into a delicious dreampoppy passage straight afterwards before we get too panicky.
The contributions on this side are almost entirely instrumental - although wordless vocals are sometimes used for texture and melody the only lyrical passage comes in the very final track. Stripped of the song-based approach of her other records, Orleans’s aesthetic ideas are really given a chance to stretch their legs and her ear for sound and texture, along with her knack for unsettling lo-fi chamber neoclassicism, really shine through here. Fantastic tape, clearly the bargain of the week. - Norman Records

Ela Orleans / U.S Girls / Slim Twig / Dirty Beaches, Statement LP (2012)


On this LP, apparently the brainchild of Alex Dirty Beaches, we’ve got four top outsider weirdos each contributing ten minutes of sweet jams for your aural delight. It starts with Toronto’s Slim Twig showcasing his cold lo-fi synthy post-punk pop stylings with a natty little instrumental opener, a cover of The Baroques’ ‘Mary Jane’, and then a longer song of his own where he takes things down a notch with spooky fairground organ, nonchalant-yet-paranoid vocals and a slight deranged Phantom Limbsy feel, fading out on an ethereal falsetto and busy tom work. Really endearingly creepy stuff.
Next up we’ve got Dirty Beaches himself, who seems to be taking a bit of a break from his dirgey Suicide-esque darkpop to take a dip in the post-dubby psych choogle and synth loop jiggery-pokery that you see a lot of nowadays, mixing warm, minimal modular runs with burned out, buzzy wah-drone smokiness. It’s like Sun Araw and Expo 70 sharing a bong with Ben Chasny. Really ace.
Flip it and Norm favourite Ela Orleans has four brand new tracks of her own spooked out cut-and-paste hazepop, opening with instrumental ‘Odyssey’ which sounds like a drifty Lynchified take on Bernard Herrmann’s Taxi Driver score, before she lightens the mood with ‘The Season’ which marries a bouncy groove with minimal guitar and synth loops and Orleans’s wistful, reverbed vocals to marvellous effect for a warmly swaying cut that’s among the best I’ve heard from her. This is followed by the cut-up sampledelica of ‘19 Out Of 20’, with weird backwards drumbeats, cello drones and Ted Hughes speech samples taking us into dark, almost Madlib-esque territory, before the haunted tropical ditty ‘Good Night’ rounds up her section.
Last but not least we’ve got the glamorous U.S. Girls, aka Meg Remy, with a massive five cuts of murky four-track skronk-pop starting with a cheerleadery take on Dave Clark Five’s ‘Bits & Pieces’ accompanied by a lone drumbeat before she gets down to business with four of her own. Everything sounds really distorted but there’s still enough pure pop sensibility buried in her tracks to create a weird disconnect between the ultra-lo-fi recording style and minimal arrangements and the simple, catchy melodies. There’s a bit of almost Orcutt-esque blown out scuzz’n’clatter on ‘Chicago War’, before she slows things right down for the hypnotic ‘Slim Baby (Long Distance Dub)’ and then closes out the LP with spooky little ambient vignette ‘Cairo’.
Totally marvellous collection. These four artists are really well-matched without any two being too similar - all producing spooked out, experimental 21st-century pop-psych murk with their own inimitable flavours. - Norman Records

The split EP seems to be fairly standardized these days: two artists/bands/what have you with a side a piece. Makes sense on a few levels, right? Well, the 4-way split Statement LP is an extension of that same practical and collaborative thinking. Featuring new work by Slim Twig, Dirty Beaches, Ela Orleans, and US Girls, this unique artifact spans the gamut of what could be billed as DIY psych. Reductive genre flaunting yes, but rest assured that the efforts of each artist present are far from homogenous. US Girls goes at it in 100% no pulling punches mode; banging out rhythms as hard and loud as she knows how. Dirty Beaches delivers a ten minute jam that would liquefy the pineal glands of a live audience. Ela Orleans is as erudite, demure, and ear-friendly as ever. Slim Twig is busily wringing melodies out of their paranoic fugue. All is well, and not only that, everything is working together beautifully. Think of this split as an old school mixtape for the do nothing afternoon of your dreams or as what it is, namely a way to recontextualize these four artists’ work.
We’ve called out Ela Orleans’ track “The Season” as the lead for this post because we feel that it captures the freewheeling perspective that permeates the LP. That being said, go ahead and have a listen to a track from each contributer and see if you don’t find a lot to like. -
One of the biggest differences between the major record labels and the indies is that independents tend to have a signature sound. The big leaguers concentrate on making the maximum profit, while the smaller labels tend to gather and present their own personal vision of what makes music wonderful. Record collectors for years have taken the approach of buying a a record on the strength of its label, and just trusting that it will provide them with that particular sound  that they crave.
For the past few years, UK based ClanDestine has been distributing tapes to a small faction of listeners. These tapes have been filled with the sonic remnants of broken minds and dreams. Ranging from the synth punk of Portland’s ASSS to the chromium addled post wave of Fostercare to my own sonic disasters, Carl (Clandestine) has run the gamut of modern outsider art. Recently, however, with the help of his partner and muse Ela Orleans, the label seems to have finally found its true voice.
Statement is a four way split LP featuring the sounds of Ms. Orleans, Dirty Beaches, Slim Twig and US Girls. It is almost as though it is alchemy. Each one of these artists comes from a completely different spot on both the geographical and musical map, but; when placed together, this quartet reveals the true spirit and philosophy of ClanDestine Records. Utilizing the forms and figures of krautrock and psychedelia, each of these artists seem to carve completely alien statues out of the same marble slab. Dirty Beaches deliver a ten minute Raga drone  that doesn’t seem at all out of place with the No Wave noise fuckery of M. Remy’s US Girls. Conversely, Ela Orleans and Slim Twig seem perfect conspirators, as both tend to mold and mutate the intentions of pop psych. Ela Orleans stuns as always, with her warm, almost Nico-esque inflection and songs that might make Lee Hazelwood wish he had written them. This album also sees an introduction to more hip hop oriented beat work complete with a mind bending sound bite from the late poet (and lady killer) Ted Hughes. Slim Twig’s three songs range from beyond baroque neo-60′s instrumentals to a Los Angeles psych rock track complete with more than Morrisonian vocals, and are quite possibly the greatest part of a superb compilation.
Already cultivated butterfly collectors, it appears that Carl Clandestine and Ela Orleans have refined their coterie for the best.
I have abstained from grading this record due to my personal attachment to this label (later this year I will be releasing a split tape under the pseudonym Curt Crackrach) but as always, I cannot overstate the fact that I have a working relationship with Clan Destine because I admire, respect and love the work that they do. Now that they seem to be finding even more focus, it is only getting better, and I am excited for what the future has in store.  This is true outsider music, no mission statements or profit margins. No fashion shoots or major label tie ins. Just music, the way it should sound. -



Originally released on tape and now out on sweet vinyl. Featuring 16 multi-layered and deeply personal tracks.
If you could imagine what it would sound like if Young Marble Giants recorded in Black Ark under the direction of Brain Wilson in his sandbox era, you may be able
to visualize the music of Ela Orleans without actually hearing it. NEO PI-R is sparse, but filled with both whimsy and deep brooding symbology.
This is post-punk from the Gaslamp Era.
Ela Orleans manages to utilize some of the more standard trappings of experimental music, toy piano sounds, dub and phase techniques and dead pan vocals.
Track titles exist, but it is best to just let this album flow from song to song… and get lost in its delirium dream.

It often seems like costumery defines a movement. Put the Dresden Dolls in a Brown Derby and torn Victorian Dress and voila, they become steam punk. A few Cubist outfits often seem enough to mask the fact that Gaga’s Dada is skin deep. Ela Orleans makes music that sounds like it was recorded on tintype by Man Ray. Multi-layered and deeply personal, her songs create new symbols, built from prima materia.  As in her other work, both solo and with Hassle Hound, Orleans is skilled at experimental pastiche music. NEO PI-R is 4 track patchwork at it finest.
If you could imagine what it would sound like if Young Marble Giants recorded in Black Ark under the direction of Brain Wilson in his sandbox era, you may be able to visualize the music of Ela Orleans without actually hearing it.  Still, it would be much better if you just popped the cassette in and immersed yourself into her dream landscapes. NEO PI-R is the sonic equivalent of perhaps a Tanguy painting. It is sparse, but filled with both whimsy and deep brooding symbology. This is post-punk from the Gaslamp Era. Ela Orleans manages to utilize some of the more standard trappings of experimental music, toy piano sounds, dub and phase techniques and dead pan vocals, sang and spoken in her irresistible Nico-esque Polish accent. Track titles exist, but it is best to just let this album flow from song to song… and get lost in its delirium dream.
Andrew Weatheral once titled a Sabres of Paradise album Haunted Dancehall, and that term is a perfect description of this tape.  One can see the graininess of the old nickelodeon  as this album progresses. Orleans has an uncanny knack for making electronics sound organic, being one of the only artists actually worthy of the descriptor Folktronica.  ut this isn’t some one-dimensional concept of Joan Baez folk we are talking about, these are the folk dances of the 21st century, cold and pastoral hymns to our modern age. -

Ela Orleans is one of the few artists that we can pretty much all agree on here at Norman Towers, but this record threw me off a little when we first spun it yesterday. Listening to it again today, however, I'm really warming to it. Her previous two LPs have been very much fully-formed and song-based, with the most recent 'Mars Is Heaven' being one of the most unique and extraordinary experimental pop records I've heard all year. On NEO PI-R - originally released on cassette but now given a proper vinyl pressing - we're treated to a selection of four-track recordings, and the emphasis here is less on the haunted dancehall of her other LPs and more on fractured, repetitive and largely instrumental experimental minimal pieces. There's snippets of piano and strings on cushions of warm crackle and hiss that often sound more like her former band Hassle Hound than her previous solo work, or maybe like her previous solo work deconstructed by The Field or something? The press release refers to it as “post-punk from the Gaslamp Era”, which I think is a snappy and appropriate description. Orleans does sing on a handful of tracks here but the bulk of these tracks are crackly, looped compositions, pairing ancient-sounding piano and strings with more modern electronic elements and shuffling organic Moondog-esque rhythms, with occasional wisps of Orleans's wistful, androgynous vocals over the top, like a fever dream. If you're new to her work then 'Mars Is Heaven' might be a better place to start, but if you're already a fan of her ghostly minimal or are generally into weird instrumental loop-based stuff, this is an album which will reward repeated listens. - Norman Records

Interview with Russel Walker of Pheromoans on WARD Magazine

Ela Orleans/Dirty Beaches, Double Feature (2011)

Two simply eclectic artists who have finely tuned their skills get together to share a split on one aurally delicious piece of wax. Ela Orleans and Dirty Beaches are naturally good mates since their experiences and musical creations are as diverse as their travels and residences in many cities, countries, and continents.  This might explain the varieties and mixtures of instrumentation and sampling.  There’s a common nostalgic interest in revisiting and reinterpreting past memories and retrofitting them into present time and context.  Blending all those various and even almost incompatible influences and references would appear to be quite a task, but for Ela Orleans and Dirty Beaches, it is just their bread and butter.  They juggle and rearrange their various curiosities and past lives into an artistic vision that finds a niche in the current scene and is received warmly with welcoming arms.  It’s no wonder that each artist, offering something way different from the typical trend of normal abnormalities, is really making a name for themselves.
Ela Orleans combines echoing pop vocals that can almost sound like bygone days of classic oldies, ubiquitously appreciated indie rock tempos and guitar, under-the-top keyboard psychedelics and lucid lines, and unpredictable samples and effects.  One of my favorite tracks on her side is the immediate and gorgeously soulful piano intro in minor, which then gives way to a loop of surf rock-style guitar antics.  It’s an experience that shirks secondhand description and demands subjective encounter.
Dirty Beaches utilizes heavy samplings that are drained of their color and then dripped and saturated in thick reverberation and resonance.  Interjected into the mix from what seems like the outside is an intrusive inscrutable vocal blur and even elusive guitar sheens.  The whole vibe that I get can be summed up in The Velvet Underground’s “Venus in Furs,” with its loathsome and druggy lethargy and dirtiness.  It appeals to a base and depraved yet guiltless and blameless sentimentality within ourselves.  You can’t help but find something to appreciate about this artist’s courage and creativity.
Night People won the day between the three labels to take responsibility for the artwork.  Shawn Reed was taken to task to provide us with an appropriately provocative design, which he put together faultlessly.  The organized collage approach with its retro cues, geometric designs, visually poetic ideas, and pop fluency really works for this release.  This is a brilliant release that will satisfy both the ears and the eyes. - Dave Miller

Here's a really cool split LP from a couple of the more interesting and listenable experimental weirdos around right now. Great screen printed photo-collage covers with a sexy woman in handcuffs on the front, too. On the Dirty Beaches side we've got some hazy, shambling dream pop. When he gets his drum machine out the obvious comparison is Suicide, but a lot of this stuff has far more minimal rhythms, with the main atmosphere being one of reverb-drenched guitar and mumbled vocals (although lots of this side is actually instrumental) over lots of tape hiss. Musically the influences seem to range from Buddy Holly to Ennio Morricone to the aforementioned Suicide. The lo-fi recording makes it sound like some kind of lost experimental record from the '60s, and sometimes it can get a bit grating as many of the ideas seem underdeveloped but there are some really good moments here to reward the more patient among you. It's the Ela Orleans side of the record that's really caught my attention, though. Her brand of otherworldly lo-fi is totally unique and wonderful. It opens with a simple but beautiful piano piece before dropping into the ethereal ballad 'Neverend' with its weird processed tropicalia guitar sound, which is totally beautiful. Apparently this one and a couple of others on her side were written by Simon Hayward, but I'm not sure if that's just the lyrics or the music too. All the lyrics here seem to be somewhat collaborative - the sleeve claims, "All lyrics and juxtaposition of poems/short stories by Adolfo Bioy Casares, Simon Hayward, Sarah Teasdale, Elizabeth Browning, Edward Lear and Ela Orleans", so there you go. There's a real dreamlike feel to this side of the record without it ever sounding unfocused (which I think is ultimately my gripe with the Dirty Beaches side). Her arrangements are so massively affecting and unlike anybody else that it's very hard to find an adequate comparison. It's so imaginative and unusual and yet everything seems unforced and unhurried and I defy you to listen to these songs without letting the shimmering tones and wistful stoicism really get under your skin. Sometimes it has that same kind of '60s-style density to the sound that you sometimes hear from Brian Jonestown Massacre at their better moments, but there's more of a focused sense of melancholy and experimentalism here as opposed to the BJM party vibes. My favourite track on the whole record, though, has to be her closer 'I Know', which brings in some Casio beats and a simple little repeated melody on a cheap-sounding synth over which descending chords pick out a lonely refrain. There's some backing vocals that are processed so heavily they sound almost like the high-pitched roar of a metalworks in the distance. If I was just reviewing the Ela Orleans side of this record it'd be five out of five, no question. - Norman Records

Mars Is Heaven, LP (2011)

After Hassle Hound’s second album and a split LP with kindred spirit Dirty Beaches, Ela Orleans finally releases the follow-up to her magnificent solo debut album Lost. Apparently there’s also 2 newer Ela Orleans albums on Clan Destine, but I won’t believe it until I have them in my hands. Anyway, this album features more of the sort of hazy, misremembered ’50s/’60s pop of her previous work, but perhaps a bit more sampladelic than the way Dirty Beaches does it. The beats on this album are a little bigger and more swingin’, but there’s also more live drums, and a few violin-heavy droning instrumentals. Still a little bit too hazy and spacey to throw on at your next party… unless it’s science fiction themed. The lyrics seem to be about space travel, falling in love, and how these two things are related. Lyrics are sourced from Ray Bradbury, Arthur Rimbaud, Sara Teasdale, and others. The whole album adds a few new dimensions to Ela Orleans’ already fantastic haze-pop sound. - Paul Simpson

Lost LP (2009)

On Lost, Polish-born Ela Orleans sings some songs, assembling them via creaking guitar circles, keyboards, violin and samples. These elements are blended into a soupy haze that suggests 16mm film flicker, sweet candy and lost loves. As a sometimes-member of Hasslehound, Orleans is no stranger to samples and processing, but in her solo work everything is smoothed over by the songcraft. Her weird, slightly timid voice ghosts over everything rather unconventionally, but there’s beauty in hesitation. Moments of sentimentality are undercut by strange hybrids; guest guitarist Wende K. Blass absolutely shreds on "Yes, Of Course" and "Barry Lyndon", getting into traditional Spanish/flamenco forms laid over smoldering embers. The lyrics are assembled from various poems and short stories (penned by herself and others, as well as a Bill Withers cover) but somehow feel like Moe Tucker’s proto-twee moments. It’s a fine style for the music, which is occasionally quite dark, and always busy. I found myself wondering how much the cover art played in my interpretation of the sounds—a blurry, monochrome photograph, with physical damage quite evident. Orleans’s arrangements are lush, yet monochromatic as well; not black and white, necessarily, but a palette that revolves around only one musical hue. It’s a splendid one, though. (Justin Wunsch)
WORDS from sabrina Lessard ....
Hailing from Poland and currently living in New York,
Ela Orleans has graced us with her musical generosity once again.
Her latest endeavor "Lost" resembles a short histoire de l'amour,complete with instrumental soundscapes filling in the gaps between her narrative lyrics.
In her low moan longing and sampled layers, Ela Orleans takes us into a demure,
suave landscape where internalizing is required and desire untouchable except behind closed doors. Harmonies melt into the sweet longing to be wanted and loved. The album flows like a film (what Orleans describes as "movies for ears"), each track constructing a different scene, at times through a screaming violin or through electronic dystopic swirls building the perfect background for her revealing lyrics. The joy in listening to Ms.
Orleans comes in her precise editing of verse and melody where she lures you into her dreamy marshmallow jungle while keeping you just on the cusp of euphoria, revealing itself as mature restraint or masochistic benevolence. As she sings, "I am lost without you," you become lost in her voice, the antithesis of the verse, delicate and sweet,
as if she is daring you to actually feel the sadness wrapped so eloquently in a simple melody.
On three of the tracks Wende K. Blass offers beautifully dense and spirited guitar riffs over the layers of sampled mayhem and harmonies giving the tracks fullness. The success of this pairing comes as no surprise being that Ms. Orleans has been involved in several musical collaborations such as Hassle Hound the Scotland/NY based trio who brought us heavy sampling and whimsical absurdity. While maintaining her presence in the experimental/noise New York music scene, Ms. Orleans has participated in the BMI film scoring and mentorship program "Composing for the Screen 2009" and has been a recipient of the NYFA immigrant mentorship program where she worked with renowned drummer Lukas Ligeti. With the many contributions Ela Orleans continues to make, there is a thread she weaves throughout the music, traveling in waves of melodic fragility and fierce honesty. As in any great work of art you are left wanting more, and thankfully for us this is just the beginning.

The cover of this LP seems to be taken from a faded, partially ripped black-and-white childhood photo. This coupled with the word "LOST" seems to imply some sort of "forgotten childhood memory" theme going on. The music fits this as well; it seems to be composed of samplers, guitars, and reverb-soaked vocals (not unlike "Person Pitch" but not really sounding anything like it either) plus violin and keyboard. The first thing that comes to mind when hearing Ela's voice is Julee Cruise, but that's probably not totally accurate. The music does have a sort of "Twin Peaks" feel to it, though. The production actually reminds me of Tarnation's "Gentle Creatures" or His Name Is Alive's "Stars On ESP", in that sort of dreamlike, not-quite-there, faded-phonograph sort of way, where it almost sounds like a transmission from some sort of oldies station from another dimension. The main difference, of course, being that these songs aren't as straightforward, and are far more abstract and experimental.
The songs are quite infectious, though. The vocal melodies on some of the tracks (particularly "Better Friends", "Rocket Trip To Nowhere" and "Myriads") sound a bit similar, but this just adds to the strange familiarity of the record. The instrumentals have more of an eerie, cinematic feel, although penultimate track "Barry Lyndon" smothers a calypso-sounding loop under layers and layers of guitar and violin, conjuring up a bizarre "chaos in paradise" scene. The disc ends with the breathtaking title track, pairing a feedback loop with a few simple layers of guitar and a reverbed refrain of "I am lost without you."
Despite the reference points mentioned in this review, this album truly sounds unique, and is frequently quite astonishing. And true to its title (and theme), this is an album I'm finding myself getting lost in while I'm listening. 8/10 - Paul Simpson 

On Lost, Polish-born Ela Orleans sings some songs, assembling them via creaking guitar circles, keyboards, violin and samples. These elements are blended into a soupy haze that suggests 16mm film flicker, sweet candy and lost loves. As a sometimes-member of Hasslehound, Orleans is no stranger to samples and processing, but in her solo work everything is smoothed over by the songcraft. Her weird, slightly timid voice ghosts over everything rather unconventionally, but there’s beauty in hesitation. Moments of sentimentality are undercut by strange hybrids; guest guitarist Wende K. Blass absolutely shreds on "Yes, Of Course" and "Barry Lyndon", getting into traditional Spanish/flamenco forms laid over smoldering embers. The lyrics are assembled from various poems and short stories (penned by herself and others, as well as a Bill Withers cover) but somehow feel like Moe Tucker’s proto-twee moments. It’s a fine style for the music, which is occasionally quite dark, and always busy. I found myself wondering how much the cover art played in my interpretation of the sounds—a blurry, monochrome photograph, with physical damage quite evident. Orleans’s arrangements are lush, yet monochromatic as well; not black and white, necessarily, but a palette that revolves around only one musical hue. It’s a splendid one, though. - Justin Wunsch

Low Sun, High Moon CD (2008)

In January (2011) my piece – Amsler Grid was included in “An Exchange with Sol LeWitt” show at MASS MoCA.
Double Feature 
In June 2011 the split LP project with Dirty Beaches – Double Feature was co-released by La Station Radar + Atelier Ciseaux and Night People.
Alex Zhang Hungtai aka Dirty Beaches and Ela Orleans are long time friends, artistic allies, and adventurous spirits. They both spent lives traveling between different cities, countries, and continents. The commonalities represented in Double Feature resound in a sense of space and time, a cinematic view of nostalgia. This is not a nostalgia that is trying to re-create the past but an art that seeks to use the presence and power of history to create more content in the present (Shawn Reed, Night People).
In January 2011, I took a part in BEKO / La Station Radar, followed by BEKO / Clan Destine Records and BEKO /Hartzine digital release.
In May 2011, my 16 track tape collection of lo-fi 4 track recordings called NEO PI-R was released onClan Destine Records. The cassette sold out and was later re-released by Clan Destine Recordson vinyl 12″ LP in December 2011. NEO PI-R is the sonic equivalent of perhaps a Tanguy painting. It is sparse, but filled with both whimsy and deep brooding symbology. This is post-punk from the Gaslamp Era. Andrew Weatheral once titled a Sabres of Paradise album “Haunted Dancehall”, and that term is a perfect description of this tape (Dafydd McKaharay, Mishka).
Mars Is Heaven 
My solo 12″ LP Mars is Heaven was written in 2011, towards the end of my residency in New York City, the record consist of 8 songs inspired by Ray Bradbury’s “Mars is Heaven”. The story (written in 1948) was a critique of a smug assumptions about the superiority of American values such as: sentimental nostalgia, idealism, and above all delight in the pleasures of the senses. It also expressed deep cynicism about family life, pessimism about progress, and disdain for people in the mass to a degree that approaches misanthropy.
The album sold out through both labels which released it: La Station Radar + Atelier Ciseaux in November 2011. There are rumors about the repress…
In August 2011 I left US and moved to UK to live and work at Clan Destine Records based in Glasgow.
STATEMENT, 12″ LP – a 4 way split between Slim TwigUS GirlsDirty Beaches and myself was released in the Summer 2012. The idea of the record came from Alex (Dirty Beaches) The art is designed by Meg Remy (U.S. Girls). The LP can be ordered HERE.
Here are some samples from the record:
The label also re-released my first solo album “High Moon Low Sun” on a cassette in the limited edition of 75. The tape is sold out but the material is available on CD Baby
here is one of the songs:
Earlier in the Autumn 2012, 80 MINUTES OF FUNK – a split cassette with Curt Crackrach was released (edition of 100). 40 minutes compiled on my side is a collection of my TV radio and theater work, field recordings and loose experiments cementing it all together into one lengthy journey.
TUMULT IN CLOUDS (2LP) featuring 19 songs was released on 12.12.12. in the truly limited edition of 300 copies which are available here
The record came out along with a limited edition of the remix LP called ELA AND THEE PROPHETSfeaturing contributions from artists such as: Silver Strain, Slim Twig, The Drum, Skitter, Dan Melchior, Mushy, U.S. Girls, Os Ovni, Pyramids of Mu, Nattymari and Fostercare.
In March 2012 I collaborated on Dan Melchior’s record on Northern Spy called Backward Path.

ela orleans


Movies for Ears—nothing less than a tailored fit…Polish born Ela Orleans seamlessly stitches together an array of sound that evokes memory through tidal tempos, round rhythm, and haunting harmonies. Twining cinematic measures with patches of nostalgia, it is apparent that Ela wishes to not look to the past but instead, set the stage for a “present” future. Restyling elements of doo-wop & bits of bossa nova, Ela’s full-bodied vocular voo-doo begs for jive. Hermetic in her musings, there is one thing that appears to shine obvious, to plight her troth—espousing none other than music.  
Walk us through a typical, yet intimate, day in your life.
My new discovery is that life is very long, so I am trying  to make it bearable by avoiding bullshit as well as staying away from the hoax others may call career. My typical day is very quiet and I like it this way. We will see how long I can survive. 
How long have you been involved with music?
As long as I remember. But there are a few time marks: when I was 8 my dad took me for the audition to the music school and I got to the violin class. I started to record and play with other bands in 1998. I have been regularly recording my own music since 2000. I joined Myspace in 2005. My first solo show took place in 2007. My first record was released in 2008. 
What does music mean to you?
It is something I can absorb and value without much effort. It creates the space for me to think and be inspired. I also consider it a form of close to religious practice, the only ritual I carry out with devotion.  
Tell us about the birth of Ela Orleans.
I can’t really remember that ha ha! I was born too late I suppose. 
What sparked your affair with music? Describe this memory.
Childish desire to be special. I had multiple art affairs - music, writing, fine art, photography, film and theatre. It all came from a need to be close to the divine or whatever… 
Describe to me your ideal environment for performance—a fantasy suite for sound, if you will…
Intelligent sound person, working PA, attentive audience and the temperature around 20 C will do. 
Name 3 artists you would like to have collaborate together if you were given the chance to orchestrate a musical mesh between them-and why.
 It would be great to have a chance to watch Alexandre Desplat working… Or Ennio Morricone… or McCallum. They are perfect… 
If given a chance to re-score a soundtrack to any film, what would it be?
I would re score Edge of Darkness, Eric Clapton did a horrendous job here… ha ha! But seriously… one of my upcoming projects is to score the silent movie - Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927). I am looking for funding here or it will take forever. 
Do you find that these are exciting times for musicians and/or is there anything you find disheartening?
These could be exciting times… but they are not. What really overwhelms me is an increasing lethargy and moronism fostered by the Internet. It affects journalism, cinema, theatre, fashion, culture in general… it also reflects on the way people communicate or rather mal-communicate. Of course what I am complaining about is an ultimate source of any recognition I get, so whatever I say on the subject may not make much sense. I just wish things were more… what’s the word?… stylish. As for music itself (music industry, journalism aside) it is incredibly exciting for me no matter what… it was exciting during the state of war, when I was or am ill, when I am bored, when I am happy… it means the world to me as long as I am around. 
What is sounding from your speakers these days?
Madlib, Andrzej Korzynski, Moondog, Bruce Haack, A Certain Ratio,  loads of jazz, hip hop, dub.  Mark Tucker… 
Are there any new projects brewing that you would like to give us a verbal sneak peek of?
There is a four way split LP with Dirty Beaches, Slim Twig and U.S. Girls out now. It’s called “Statement.”
There is “Ela Orleans and Thee Prophets” project ready and waiting to be released on a very limited LP. It consists of remixes of my favorite musician friends who agreed to play with my existing work. I am in production of (possibly) a double LP. Also, I just submitted 40 minutes of my TV/radio composition work on the split tape with Curt Crachrach. It is called “80 Minutes of Funk”  and should be out sometime in August/September. All of these are and will be put out by Clan Destine Records (UK). 
I give you this scenario, you write a little chorus for it: temporary amnesia: you don’t know who you are…
I have the idea for the book in mind. The title would be: Memory Bomb. It’s about people who experienced explosion which caused retrograde amnesia. I have been talking about it for years. Keep forgetting about it… The chorus would be… I am Ms. Nobody, who are you… or something like that. 


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