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Time Of Orchids biography
Bio taken from the band's website with kind permission from the band:
"Formed in the summer of 1999, New York City's Time of Orchids possesses a unique and jarring slant - a wedding of staggered "prog rock" angularity and a sweeping, seductive beauty, informed as much by 1960s Italian film scores as by claustrophobia and deep orbit. Comprised of members Chuck Stern (keyboard, vocals), Eric Fitzgerald (guitar, vocals), Jesse Krakow (bass) and Dave Bodie (drums), the band has shared the stage with the likes of Orthrelm, Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, Kayo Dot and Blind Idiot God, putting on some cryptic and truly spellbinding live shows.

Time of Orchids is known for its bizarre and varied discography, having released three albums - 2001's somber, doom-laden Melonwhisper (featuring pianist Marilyn Crispell), 2002's cruder, far more skeletal Much Too Much Fun (featuring Kate Pierson of The B-52's) and 2003's obtuse and enigmatic Early As Seen in Pace, on Epicene Sound - before signing to John Zorn's Tzadik label in 2005 with the release of the highly-acclaimed Sarcast While (featuring Julee Cruise). Time Out NY praised the album's "haunted sonic cinematography and elliptical poetry," adding, "dense and complex, Sarcast While opens up to the listener only gradually... but that's exactly what makes it such a rich, engrossing experience."

Now, courtesy of Cuneiform Records, comes the band's fifth and most dramatic work yet - the epic Namesake Caution - an album that sparkles with a deceptive pop linearity and ventures maniacally into the stark, abyssal realm of wanderlust, coven and austere cybernetics. Be warned: this is romance of a coarse, sonic soothsaying, brimming with only the most treacherous of skullduggery."

In early 2008 the band announced their disbanding:
After eight and a half years, we have decided to call it a day. We want to thank everyone who supported us and shared their love - fans, friends, labels, etc. We are proud of the work we did and the five albums we recorded. They will stand as testaments to this experience and can probably tell our tale better than any of us can in words. Enjoy them. A major theme in this band has always been that of time and the time has now come to close this chapter.

Chuck Stern will now be working solo under the name Stern. Bodie has been working with Bill Brovold and just joined Kayo Dot. He and Eric Fitzgerald will be starting a project soon, most likely with original ToO d...
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Namesake CautionNamesake Caution
Audio CD$7.95
$5.00 (used)
Sarcast WhileSarcast While
Tzadik 2005
Audio CD$11.48
$4.95 (used)
Bad News Japan 2002
Audio CD$26.52
$4.71 (used)
Namesake Caution By Time of Orchids (2007-09-17)Namesake Caution By Time of Orchids (2007-09-17)
Audio CD$30.90
Sarcast While by Time Of OrchidsSarcast While by Time Of Orchids
Audio CD$55.53
Time Of Orchids Sarcast While Mainstream JazzTime Of Orchids Sarcast While Mainstream Jazz
Audio CD$31.89
$37.04 (used)
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TIME OF ORCHIDS discography

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TIME OF ORCHIDS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.67 | 3 ratings
3.80 | 5 ratings
Much Too Much Fun
3.48 | 13 ratings
Sarcast While
3.83 | 13 ratings
Namesake Caution

TIME OF ORCHIDS Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIME OF ORCHIDS Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

TIME OF ORCHIDS Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

TIME OF ORCHIDS Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.38 | 4 ratings
Early As Seen in Pace


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Sarcast While by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.48 | 13 ratings

Sarcast While
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by ExittheLemming
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Plants that Grow In Your Pants (Until they Drop)

I bet you didn't even know that Madonna's gonna be singing drums on our next album, did you? (Chuck Stern)

This is one of those releases that delights and horrifies your reviewer in equal measure. At their worst Time of Orchids sound like emo brats screaming themselves hoarse for candy - What is Emo/Screamo for pity's sake?, would it sound like shredders busking on the NY subway with a catherdral organ ? At their best they miraculously fuse overtly unrelated slivers of sonic jetsam into fleeting and transitory epiphanies that beget an astonishing and fragile beauty not dissimilar to a sonic take on the surrealists 'exquisite corpse' technique. But enough of the burned out stump that is the rock family tree. In these conservative times we don't require a tree surgeon, we apparently need Big Apple lumberjacks. On Sarcast While Rock is the under-age and unlicensed driver in a stolen Metal vehicle that collides head on with Forestry Commission HQ.

Beauty as wreckage (thankfully no metallic irony litters the crash site)

The reference points that I can vaguely detect here might include: Glenn Branca - Sonic Youth - Pixies - Wire - Psychic TV - XTC - Crimson - Thinking Plague - Dinosaur Jnr - Mercury Rev - Can - Kayo Dot

The tracks often threaten to disintegrate completely until shards of jagged beauty slice us unapologetically by way of wounding recompense. Other times we are assailed by a lobotomised funk from a landlocked Beach Boys as envisioned via a Burroughs cutup. A dislocated cold shoulder to cry on is never far from reach. Those of you who remember that unnerving corruption of the All Things Bright and Beautiful hymn from 'Planet of the Apes' will recognise the skew-whiff melodic compass throughout Sarcast While. At times they do overindulge with this conceit as if recoiling from any musical ideas that might be deemed (gulp) conventionally 'pretty'.

Like children we are but guests in an adult world and Time of Orchids are prescient enough to realise their formative dissent represents a ripeness that will perish upon appeasement. If a young Paddy McAloon had written for the Pixies this is what might have resulted.

It's no surprise that Chuck Stern's favourite author is Samuel Beckett as there is an acknowledged albeit grudging sadness at the heart of this music. They break up the pulse of 'rawk' as if imitating the palpitations/dysrhymia of a broken heart. Vladimir and Estrogen got tired of waiting and formed an electronic skiffle band and called it....

Tzadik Records is a record label based in New York City specialising in avant-garde and experimental music. The label was established by the eclectic composer and saxophonist John Zorn in 1995. Zorn is the executive producer of all Tzadik releases and is a not-for-profit, cooperative enterprise. It's unlikely most of us would ever have heard this music without Zorn's patronage so we should extend shed-loads of kudos to him for that.

Time of Orchids will either disappear into the shrilly indifferent ghetto of avant or finally succumb to the germ of a pop virus that stealthily swims their bloodstream. We can forgive them the odd lapse into gauche angst as they are clearly young uns, and after all suffering precedes immunity.

(Bugger, I just read they split up in 2008).

A very beguiling but tantalisingly elusive record that defies the usual types of categorisation and carries more than a hint of a truly original voice cut cruelly short.

 Namesake Caution  by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.83 | 13 ratings

Namesake Caution
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by TheGazzardian
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Namesake Caution, the last album by Time of Orchids, is an interesting listen. It has ten tracks, only two of which surpass the five minute mark (the seven minute "Crib Tinge to Callow" and the ten minute "We Speak in Shards").

It has been a really challenging album for me. On the first listen, I didn't like it at all, but I've stuck with it for some time, paid attention to the material and let it grow on me, and it has done so, if not as much as I would like.

The music contained within is slow and ponderous; it takes its time to develop, and it is very rarely energetic. As such, this album is best to listen to in the dark or when you are feeling mellow. It is generally guitar driven, with odd and somewhat dissonant chords being used. The rhythms are odd and at times it even sounds a little math-y, although the band never gives fully over to that style. Vocal harmonies are used and may be one of the more colourful aspects of this bands music, which often sounds very grey.

As I said, it takes mulitple listens for this music to really work, for the subtle melodies and the interplay between the instruments to sink in. And once they do, it is a pleasant listen, if not an entirely varied one (I tend to stop hearing it shortly after the halfway mark). It never really comes across as genius or amazing, and even though it has been growing on me for several listens, it's finally reached the point where that seems to be plateauing, so enjoyable and pleasant is as far as this album has got with me.

The best track on the album, to my ears, is "Parades of Seasons", with a great rhtymic start/stop section in the middle. It's also the only one that has been particularly memorable to me thus far.

 Sarcast While by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.48 | 13 ratings

Sarcast While
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by brainerd

5 stars This album to me is where the group really hit their stride. For this release the band took both the angular and melodic aspects of their sound and created a true, and incredibly underrated, masterpiece of truly progressive rock. Time of Orchids can be likened to other American avant- garde rock bands like Cheer-Accident and Kayo Dot in the sense that their music is as strangely catchy as it is complex.

The only weaker parts of this album are the short interlude tracks, every actual song on the disc is immaculately composed, filled with amazing drum/bass interaction and lush vocal harmonies. The songwriting and musicianship of all members make this a genuine 5-star album for me.

From the frantic 'Ours, Engendered' with it's manic screams and crazy fuzzed-out bass to the very pop/funk-influenced ending to penultimate track 'All We Ever Wish', the album takes a multitude of sudden time changes and dynamic shifts making it perhaps a difficult or confusing listen for most people used to more 'traditional' prog. There are plenty of moments of controlled chaos, 'Earned Over' being a good example, but the majority of Sarcast While is quite melodic, albeit it in an unconventional way.

Most of the tracks could probably be described as math-rock meets the more 'pop', easily- listenable end of RIO. Despite the obtuse nature of the music the album still feels emotionally resonant with me. It's quite hard to do this band justice in words, but to me Sarcast While is a classic in it's own right, and I couldn't recommend it highly enough to anyone looking for a new musical adventure filled with peaks and troughs, beauty and disorder.

 Namesake Caution  by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.83 | 13 ratings

Namesake Caution
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by InfinityParadox

5 stars Multi-layered complexity wrought with astounding virtuosity--fans of Maudlin of the Well or Kayo Dot will not be disappointed. This release is more technical and more challenging to the ear than either of the aforementioned acts and much less metal-oriented. Also, probably a bit more vocal-oriented, though this never amounts to anything approaching overpowering. Surprisingly catchy sounds emerge from the chaos here. This is also a record with immense replay value.

It's odd for me to write such a rave review without bothering to listen to the Time of Orchids albums preceding this one, but I don't see how any of said albums could mark a better starting point than this. It's very nearly criminal that this record hasn't garnered more reviews on Prog Archives.

 Early As Seen in Pace by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 2004
3.38 | 4 ratings

Early As Seen in Pace
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by brainerd

3 stars Time Of Orchids' third outing saw the band almost abandoning the odd prog-metal of their first albums in favour of an even more fractious and damaged sound, and the result is a rather stark but enjoyable listen. The group had not yet attained the grandeur or beauty of their later albums but the awkward time- changes and catchy dual vocals were very much present.

Opener 'Banquet for the Back Of The Neck' sounds like some new-wave band gone horribly wrong (or right) with jagged clean guitars and random synth interjections cutting through the mix. Despite having no real chorus this song is probably the closest the band gets to a 'song' on this disc, being the most rhythmically straightforward (well, for the most part). The album continues in pretty much the same vein, with the mixture of deadpan/wailed/screamed vocals, cutting guitars and complex Drums/Chapman Stick (!) interaction, in different permutations.

'Mention A Barn' is actually quite funk-influenced and sounds a bit like Primus if they were truly weird. 'Voice' is the weak spot on the album for me with some odd production decisions (that are kind of hard to describe... I suppose you'd have to listen to it) but has a good tense ending with all instruments ratcheting up the tension and Chuck Stern's vocals becoming increasingly frantic. Lastly, 'Ascend in Pact' is a 14-minute epic but doesn't flow well after the first few parts. The opening of the track is really powerful, but the song's latter half kind of feels thron together from a bunch of riffs/ideas.

I would say that those who enjoyed ToO's final albums should definately pick this up, but should bear in mind that the band had not quite developed the formula that made 'Sarcast While' and 'Namesake Caution' so great.

 Namesake Caution  by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.83 | 13 ratings

Namesake Caution
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by Batthingman

5 stars This is a truly fantastic album. It took me a while to get into it, but after a while the complex rhythm structures and the great melodies all become clear and certainly very catchy. The album captures many different moods within a short matter of time and esculates as the album gradually goes on. The song writing is finominal and very complex that it shocks me that this band has had little popularity within the music world (well thats progressive experimental music for you sadly) . If you are looking for something complex, that you can listen to for a long time and not get tired of it, then this album is the one! WELL DONE TIME OF ORCHIDS!
 Namesake Caution  by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.83 | 13 ratings

Namesake Caution
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by mecca

5 stars Think Kayo Dot and Beach Boys mixed somehow, which would end up with something sounding like 5UU's possibly, but more acoustic. This has got to be the strangest album I've heard this entire year. Jarring dissonance and beautiful melodies at the same time, it's a sonic masterpiece, and it blows my mind that this band could have created it, after the rather mediocre album, Sarcasm While. Something genuine and often nightmarish, they really have something brand new here, and it works astonishingly. If you're interested in a great (first of its type?) RIO pop album, check this out immediately.
 Sarcast While by TIME OF ORCHIDS album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.48 | 13 ratings

Sarcast While
Time Of Orchids RIO/Avant-Prog

Review by chamberry
Special Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

3 stars Kayo Dot's little brother!

Time Of Orchids is one of my latest discoveries and while I wasn't blown away when I listened to them at first, it has certainly grown on me over time. Their music isn't something new on these grounds. It sounds like a combination of Thinking Plague's atmosphere, Kayo Dot's spastic / soft moments with Mew-like vocals and pop touches. If you're a fan of any of the mentioned band then you're in for a treat.

Like I said earlier, Time Of Orchids is like Kayo Dot's little brother. They aren't as abstract or as dynamic as Kayo Dot and many of the harsh and aggressive qualities that can be found on Kayo Dot are replaced here with more accessible and melodic pop moments (pop in the "easy to listen to" sense of the word). Heck! I wouldn't even mind calling this Avant-Pop!

The vocals on this album is one of the main attractions on their music. There are two vocalists in the band and two guest female vocalists are also present in the album. One of the vocalists sound very similar to Mew's high-pitched singer and the other sounds like Toby Driver when he's screaming, but most of the time they work together along with the female vocalists making this the "sweetest" part of their music. The music on this album, while being avant-garde it doesn't sound forced and it isn't too "out there" for others to enjoy. It's one of the lightest avant-prog bands I've come across with. There are many changes in themes in their music and they are quite dynamic within the parameters of their sound. There's a distinct post-rock feel to their music thanks to the guitars, but they aren't as simple and the band is very creative crafting the appropriate melodies with them (the same thing can be said about the vocal melodies).

If you like the idea of an Avant-Pop band then Time Of Orchids will be a great band to check out. Fans of Thinking Plague and (specially) kayo Dot will enjoy this band as well. Time Of Orchids, while being daedalian in nature, they have a great sense of melody that can be accessible for people that aren't really fan of this kind of music.

Almost 4 stars out of 5

Thanks to avestin for the artist addition. and to [email protected] for the last updates

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