3

Phantom Orchard Orchestra: Trouble In Paradise

Eyal Hareuveni By

Sign in to view read count
Phantom Orchard Orchestra: Trouble In Paradise Phantom Orchard began as an experimental duo comprised of two innovative figures from the experimental New York downtown scene: Ikue Mori, who exchanged the drummer position in the No Wave band Dna for a unique exploration of electronic sounds; and Zeena Parkins, who has expanded the vocabulary of the harp in acoustic and electric contexts. The duo released its self-titled Mego debut in 2004 and, four years later, hosted other like-minded sonic explorers on their sophomore Orra (Tzadik, 2008).

That same year, this outfit was invited to perform at the New Jazz Meeting in Baden-Baden, Germany. Phantom Orchard was, therefore, expanded into an all-female Orchestra of seven experimental musicians, including violinist Sara Parkins and cellist Maggie Parkins, and the Jean Felix Mailloux duo that is also one-half of Spunk—singer Maja S.K. Ratkje and French hornist Hild Sophie Tafjord. Finally, Tzadik has released the recording of this that serendipitous meeting.

The expanded format blends organically otherworldly electronic blips and washes, vocal acrobatics, avant-garde acoustic explorations and weird beats into nuanced, open-ended orchestral textures. A reserved balance is kept between the colliding elements of electronic-enhanced sounds, string manipulations and the acoustic and electric percussive beats. These elements never strive for an overriding pattern or slide into a chaotic atmosphere, but gently develop a colorful and delicate equilibrium of mysterious tones. On "Red Blue and Green," the supportive interplay sketches a most beautiful cinematic soundscape, with Far Eastern-tinged, fragile and hypnotic sounding strings and liquid, electronic washes. "Sun Metal" begins as a lyrical chamber music interplay, patiently expanded into a dense texture with wordless, whispering vocals and electronic spasms.

Even on the most abstract pieces—"Face," "Inner Reflections" and "House for 7"—the clutter of plucked and rubbed strings, dreamy vocals, nervous electronic noises and disjointed percussive beats eventually gelsinto a cooperative and balanced, kaleidoscopic palettes of arresting sounds. Both stressing the Orcherstra's inventive, rhythmic approach, "Laughter in the Dark" features percussionist Shayna Dunkelman's chirping, resonating sounds, while "Trap" is defined by playful repetition.

The seven musicians of Phantom Orchard Orchestra offer a rare, exotic mystery tour. Hopefully, there will be more journeys of this kind.


Track Listing: Over the Gap; Red Blue and Green; Sun Metal; Face; Inner Reflection; House for 7; Laughter in the Dark; Trap.

Personnel: Ikue Mori: electronics; Zeena Parkins: electric and Acoustic harps; Sara Parkins: violin; Shayna Dunkelman: percussion; Maja Solveig Kjelstrup Ratkje: voice, electronics; Maggie Parkins: cello; Hild Sofie Tafjord: French horn, electronics.

Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Tzadik


Related Video

Shop

More Articles

Read Fellowship CD/LP/Track Review Fellowship
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 22, 2017
Read E.S.T. Symphony CD/LP/Track Review E.S.T. Symphony
by Karl Ackermann
Published: February 22, 2017
Read June CD/LP/Track Review June
by Dan McClenaghan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read The Invariant CD/LP/Track Review The Invariant
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 22, 2017
Read Akua's Dance CD/LP/Track Review Akua's Dance
by Dan Bilawsky
Published: February 21, 2017
Read Daylight Ghosts CD/LP/Track Review Daylight Ghosts
by Mark Sullivan
Published: February 21, 2017
Read "Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5" CD/LP/Track Review Freedom Jazz Dance: The Bootleg Series Vol. 5
by Doug Collette
Published: October 19, 2016
Read "Inspired" CD/LP/Track Review Inspired
by Jack Bowers
Published: November 4, 2016
Read "Five" CD/LP/Track Review Five
by John Sharpe
Published: August 14, 2016
Read "Triangular III" CD/LP/Track Review Triangular III
by C. Andrew Hovan
Published: April 15, 2016
Read "Oratorios and Songs" CD/LP/Track Review Oratorios and Songs
by John Eyles
Published: October 18, 2016
Read "Forest Grove" CD/LP/Track Review Forest Grove
by Dave Wayne
Published: March 26, 2016

Post a comment

comments powered by Disqus

Sponsor: ECM Records | BUY NOW  

Support our sponsor

Support All About Jazz's Future

We need your help and we have a deal. Contribute $20 and we'll hide the six Google ads that appear on every page for a full year!

Buy it!