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.

Album information

Title: Trouble In Paradise | Year Released: 2012 | Record Label: Tzadik

Post a comment about this album

Watch

Tags

Shop Amazon

More

Read Bernstein Reimagined
Bernstein Reimagined
Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra
Read Faune
Faune
Raphaël Pannier Quartet
Read En Casa Limon
En Casa Limon
David Broza
Read Freedom Fables
Freedom Fables
Nubiyan Twist
Read Auge
Auge
Aki Takase / Christian Weber / Michael Griener
Read Son Of Nyx
Son Of Nyx
Tamil Rogeon
Read Solo/Duo
Solo/Duo
Eli Wallace/Beth McDonald

All About Jazz needs your support

Donate
All About Jazz & Jazz Near You were built to promote jazz music: both recorded and live events. We rely primarily on venues, festivals and musicians to promote their events through our platform. With club closures, shelter in place and an uncertain future, we've pivoted our platform to collect, promote and broadcast livestream concerts to support our jazz musician friends. This is a significant but neccesary effort that will help musicians now, and in the future. You can help offset the cost of this essential undertaking by making a donation today. In return, we'll deliver an ad-free experience (which includes hiding the bottom right video ad). Thank you.

Get more of a good thing

Our weekly newsletter highlights our top stories and includes your local jazz events calendar.