Ormo Records is a small French label dedicated to producing out-of-the-mainstream music that has one foot in the jazz tradition and the other alternatively venturing into post-rock, minimalist, and freely-improvised idioms. Bassist Sylvain Didou
is the driving force behind the label's music, as he's composed and appeared on each of their releases so far, one of the most noteworthy being the suitably-titled Order/Disorder
, by Oblik (from 2015). Despite its avant-garde characteristics, that album was quite convincingly a "jazz" record, with overtones of Mingus sitting quite comfortably alongside the rock-inspired and freely-improvised aspects of the music. Derby Derby's Love Dance
, on the other hand, is radically different, a 30-minute extended piece that gradually unfolds from an atmospheric drone into a steady, rumbling progression of forceful, ominous intensity. The record's title is to be taken ironically, of course.
Alan Regardin is credited with using an "electrified trumpet" on the record, but there's much more going on right from the outset, as a heavy, effects-laden soundscape emerges from what sounds to be several electronic sources, perhaps with Didou also joining in to establish the low end with a droning arco bass note. After a couple minutes, Fabrice L'houtellier
provides the thumping drum part that will provide the piece its steady, unyielding rhythm for the duration of the track. The overall feel is of a gradual accrual of intensity: slight modifications in the drone provided by Regardin and Didou (now on electric bass) are met with subtle fluctuations in the beat offered by L'houtellier, with the cumulative impact that of being swept away in a wave of sound and rhythm. The trance-like quality of the music is powerful and unrelenting. And once Didou transitions into the final 10-minute segment with a faster-paced bass line, L'houtellier kicking things up a notch with a stronger rock rhythm behind him, the music is even more hypnotic and compelling, as Regardin somehow channels the spirit of Jimi Hendrix
by guiding his instrument through a mind-blowing battery of effects and techniques.
Mainstream jazz fans will probably want to stay away from this one, as there's not much to connect this music to that tradition. But the creativity on display here, especially from Regardin, is impressive and worth a listen (or several), just to appreciate the options available to musicians willing to take some chances with their craft.