Origamibiro ~ Odham’s Standard

Origamibiro_Odham'sStandardFresh on the heels of their recent Denovali box set, Origamibiro returns with an all-new collection influenced by spirit photography and EVP.  Odham’s Standard continues to blend of traditional and found instrumentation, but adds a twist: this time around, the listener attempts to identify ghosts as well as sounds.

The signature aspect of Origamibiro’s music is the incorporation of clocks, crumbled paper, typewriters and other miscellaneous objects as percussion and texture.  The duo goes farther than most by allowing these sources to compete for the main stage.  The most popular example of such an approach is the trash can drumming of Blue Man Group; Origamibiro is much more subtle.  One wonders if they are using static like maracas (“Ada Deane”), winding watches (“Direct Voice”) or walking on snow (“Armistice Cenograph”).  Guessing is as fun as knowing.

Tom Hill and Andy Tytherleigh add a generous amount of additional sources, from field recordings to home movies.  A new layer of mystery is created, as one wonders not only about sounds, but years.  Is a sound on tape still a sound, or the ghost of a sound?  If a tape is played, and produces a sound that wasn’t there before, where did it come from?  The title of Hill’s first album, Stopped Clocks and Cracked Mirrors, indicates that the subject has been of interest for quite some time.  A cracked mirror still reflects, and while the reflection may seem inaccurate to the viewer, it remains accurate to the properties of the mirror.  “What happened?” a crackly voice asks in the final seconds of “Raising William”.  The answer is static and silence.

In generous fashion, the duo adds the disclaimer that the listener need not believe in the existence of EVP to enjoy the album.  It’s enough to admire the songs as they develop from filaments into weaves.  Hearing the gorgeous climaxes of these tracks, one then rewinds (or re-positions the needle) in order to trace their development.  The title track starts off sounding like an orchestra tuning in an ice storm, yet ends with acoustic guitar.  In “Direct Voice”, the strings back away from the disembodied speaker, then rush back in to fill the void, refusing to cede the space they’ve gained.  The lines between sounds seem as smudged as the cover image.  Decades from now, listeners may play copies of these records and discern sounds that we cannot: the ghosts of ghosts, or just beautiful music.  (Richard Allen)

Available here

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