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Time Of Orchids - Sarcast While CD (album) cover


Time Of Orchids



3.46 | 16 ratings

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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.

ExittheLemming | 3/5 |


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