Saturday, July 23, 2011

Orakel - When time doesnt know itself

I have the dishonourable distinction of having written two consecutive reviews for Resident Advisor that received no comments. “Don’t worry”, the editor tells me, “readers are up, but comments are down.” Everyone is whiling their life away on Facebook apparently. Small consolation. Anyway, here’s hoping that people are still finding new things there and not just reaffirming their existing tastes. Otherwise there might not have been many discovering the Orakel album “When Time Doesn’t Know Itself”.

I first posted on this a few weeks ago  after a few listens at home. But in the process of preparing my review  I unearthed many interesting facets on the contributors to the album.

First up, there are several interesting guest musicians who make an appearance. Ritornell’s Richard Eigner plays toy percussion on several tracks, having also played drums on the track “German Haircut” from Flying Lotus’s “Cosmogramma” album, which also featured Steven Ellison’s cousin Ravi Coltrane.

Another Austrian musician Oliver Thomas Johnson, better known as Dorian Concept, plays on “After All”. A relatively unknown producer with a clear sense of humour, his weird synth experiments and bass mutations have lead him from the underground success of “Trilingual Dance Sexperience” to a recent 12” on Ninja Tune entitled “Her Tears Taste Like Pears”.

Also featured on the track “After All” alongside Dorian Concept is the Canadian vocalist Sacha Williamson who has made several profile guest appearances over the last couple of years. Amongst these has been a Robert Owens-like vocal for the Altered Natives track “Believe in Me”, Gene King’s equally Chicago classic “Changes” as well as guest slots with Basic Soul Unit, Martino, Opolopo and Kaje.

Most prominent on the album is the vocal talents of Finnish vocalist Vilja Larjosta

Larjosta has spent much time in Brazil and not surprisingly her main project is a 7 member Brazilian-styled orchestra called Echosystem, while she also sings in Portuguese on the Orakel album. Her other musical collaborations over the years include her work with the Austrian electronica collective Certain Subjects, who probably also have ties to Orakel , Turbo Rexxxa and most recognisably, her vocal contributions to Jeff McWllain’s Lusine project.

Something of a coup for the album was also the appearance of American jazz vocalist Dwight Trible who contributes to three tracks, the opening and closing tracks and one of the stand out pieces, “Recreation Song”

Trible is perhaps best known for his contributions to the Pharoah Sanders Quartet although he has had numerous collaborations within the world of jazz as well as hip hop and other electronic groups. His voice carries the resonant spiritualism of Sanders’ work as well as being malleable, taking on deep baritone roles or lighter flourishes. Particularly, his contribution helps the album lift towards a brighter spiritual plane that sets it apart from the imitation that often limits a lot of Nu Jazz releases.

Finally, something unrelated to the album per se, but a nice video of Marvin Gaye performing “I Want You” in a hotel room in Belgium originally posted on the Blog site of the 4Lux label. The naturalness of the performance is extreme, even as he lays back on the couch as the band jams around him.

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