Black Orchid: From Airlines To Lifelines - Review
Continuing to expand on the large variety of musical genres and styles this eclectic artist and DJ creates, he has now released his fourth album.
This latest album still includes many of the foundational elements of electro-clash and indie rock that past releases are based on, however, it's definitely a somber, more introspective work. It features thirteen tracks dripping with emotion, the occasional dance-friendly piece and somber moods.
After a short, experimental ambient "Intro" piece, the meat of the album kicks off with the moving, emotional piece "Horizon". This easily became a quick favorite for me and for our radio listeners. This track combines the foundational electronic elements of the music we've grown to love from this artist over the years with a somber mix of droning vocals in the line of somber folk and indie post-punk styles. The vocal pieces of the past have often been favorites of mine and so this one stands out well among the broad background, but blends in nicely with this album which for the most part takes this new direction to heart. The mix of moving beats and somber emotions carry on in a few other pieces including the stellar piece "Whitelines / Blacklines". It includes a mix of male and soft female vocals for an excellent duet bringing out another level of emotional textures. The moving beat, subtle guitar mixed with electronics keep it interesting as the piece moves along in that hypnotic electronica style. "100 Demons" is very similar with various experimental electronic loops added in for added variety and flare. The final piece of this style is the title track "From Airlines To Lifelines". As one loop builds on another, multiple layers are formed over the memerizing beat over the course of two minutes before the vocals kick in. As the track moves along the components continue to build to a dynamic climax bringing to light the emotion across the music and vocals before it all finally gradually fades away.
Those tracks comprise for the most part what I believe most fans of past works with the more electronica styles will enjoy. Dark ambient experimental soundscapes grace much of the rest of the album from "Goodbye 1315" and "Crayons" to "Crystals and Knives". This latter includes a stint of bombastic percussion on top of the range of electronics. As the album moves along there are some other pieces that just sort of fall in the middle of the extremes we've covered so far. Not quite dance-friendly, but still with a heavy, solid beat, and while not a dark ambient piece, there is a range of subtle, somber moods through the layers of electronics and instruments on "The Black Angels Love Song". As the album starts to wrap up we get a pair of treats, the first of which is "Butterflies". This piece wears the emotion thick on the surface with the angst-ridden vocals over the somber, dark droning experimental ambient music. The track moves along through this range of experimental music and thick emotion, slowly fading away to the final "Outro". This final piece is a perfect way to wrap up this experimental eclectic collection of music. The first couple of minutes of this 22 minute finale to the album is an instrumental inflection of heavy, pulsating synths which serves as the actual "Outro". After a minute of silence, the rest of the track very slowly builds layer upon layer of ambient electornics until the subtle, yet moving beat finally kicks in and we're moved along for the full duration of the 18-minute instrumental piece slowly drifting and fading off into silence.
That brings the album to a close and we're left in silence, satisfied with another great album from this artist. Highly recommended for past fans, though some may find it missing the upbeat trance styles, other fans into the slower, experimental drones will enjoy most of the album for that side of it. Be sure to check it out.