Origamibiro ~ Miscellany

Origamibiro was first the solo project of Tom Hill, then a duo, then an audio-visual trio, and now it has become a solo project once again, with continued contributions from Andy Tytherleig.  But one thing that hasn’t changed is that Origamibiro is fun.

All along, we’ve enjoyed the homespun combination of instrumentation electronic and organic, the aural reflection of the moniker.  Samples are folded and shaped into new forms.  A playroom atmosphere is created ~ on this album, including real toys, such as plastic Easter eggs that will not make it into a basket this year.  Snippets of glockenspiel, viola da gamba, piano and more are folded into the mix in a manner that tilts the project toward the percussive.  Yet for every tempo-driven piece like “Steel Geese,” there’s a classical-tinged companion such as “Viol Sketch.”  The reduction in players has resulted in a greater intimacy, while the expansion of instruments has enhanced the warmth.

The project is called Miscellany as it collects experiments conceived over a long period of time; seven years have passed since Odham’s Standard.  This being said, the set holds a remarkable unanimity of tone.  The stereo effects are sublime, especially on the crunchy “Zoo,” which we’re guessing is the track that includes forest brambles.  And the album is being released at the right time, despite its long gestation; the set sounds like spring, and even includes a track by that name (made with real birds), as well as “Swan in the Sand,” which celebrates the return of our feathered friends.  “Fracture” splits the difference between rhythmic and sedate, and is a fine choice for a single.  But as the album establishes a stable pace and mood, building to a horn-filled finale, it’s best imbibed as a whole: the comforting comeback of a favorite friend.  (Richard Allen)

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