Review: Orisha – Falling Open

Although they describe themselves as an “electro-glitch-chanteuse act”, Australian act Orisha hark back to the turn of the Century when it was fashionable to make chill-out music fronted by breathy female vocals. Time has moved on and fashions have changed of course but that hasn’t deterred Orisha on their second album ‘Falling Open’.

The music revolves around Emah Fox adding her gentle aching vocals on top of a bed of bubbling electronica. Even so, ‘Left Alone’ is not the most obvious way to start your first album. It is mournful and bleak but at least it’s hypnotic too and indicates that Orisha are here to concentrate on albums rather than go for the obvious tactic of front-loading the record. On ‘Waiting For A Change’, the beats are more vibrant and standout track ‘Beautiful Thing’ is a song of character and emotion, which compares favourably to Anja Garbarek in its playful arrangement.

Sadly, the inconsequential instrumental ‘Creature’ fails to sustain any emotion whatsoever and there’s a surfeit of breathy sighs on many of the vocal-led tracks. Even though the most experimental effort, ‘Se Tu M’Ami’, may show off impressive linguistic skills it comes across as one of the more idiosyncratic entries in the Eurovision Song Contest. ‘Cottonwool’ perhaps sums up Orisha’s problems in a nutshell: here their subtle, mysterious music is stretched by a few too many minutes so the effect is soporific rather than stirring.

If it’s a record to soothe rather than excite that you’re after then ‘Falling Open’ does a grand job. However, many like me will demand more from their music and it would have been nice to hear Orisha break free from their self-imposed restraints once in a while.

Web Sites:
Orisha MySpace

Further Listening:
Lamb, Anja Garbarek


2 Responses to “Review: Orisha – Falling Open”

  1. 1 Rebecca June 10, 2009 at 12:36 am

    Your main criticism is that “fashions have changed”? For someone calling for depth that’s an interesting line to take.

    I couldn’t disagree with you more about “Creature”, “Se Tu M’Ami” and “Cottonwool”, which I think are 3 of the stronger tracks on the album. “Creature” sustains a sense of tension, of expectation and is a beautifully textured piece. “Se Tu M’ami” is more reminiscent of Kate Bush at her best than any Eurovision contest I’ve ever seen. Yes, it’s quirky, but I think that’s evidence that they’re not quite as stylistically limited as you are suggesting here. “Cottonwool” is a knockout, bone chillingly haunting vocals over arid, intricate layers of sound.

    I suggest that people have a listen to “Falling Open” and make up their own minds. And listen more than once because this is the sort of music that only reveals itself gradually, which makes for a much more rewarding experience.

  2. 2 David June 10, 2009 at 9:22 am

    Clearly different people “demand” different things from their music. And I think that bringing such an attitude to your listening is going to lead to disappointment more often than not.

    Instead of demanding, why not listen with an open mind?

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