TIME OF ORCHIDS - Early As Seen In Pace

Time Of Orchids - Early As Seen In Pace

4 songs
42:04 minutes
***** *****


What can you expect when you get a CD cheaply packed in a cardboard box, containing 4 songs only and being labelled an EP? Not very much, you'd think, but then this little gem has been released on Epicene Sound Systems (Friendly Bears, In/Fidel Castro, Behold The Arctopus), a tiny independent label reinventing rock music with each new release. Time Of Orchids perform the miracle of being in certain ways more experimental than their label mates while at the same time keeping a straight-forwardness at times which might make this album even nearly enjoyable for mainstream bores.

Time Of Orchids self-released already two albums in the past before they signed to Epicene. Unfortunately I haven't heard their early stuff, but the four compositions (because "song" would be an understatement) on the EP are totally jaw-dropping. Guitar, synths, chapman stick, assorted percussion and varied vocals make for a very unusual sound. At times it sounds like an expanded version of what Mr Bungle could have been. The chapman stick makes for a very funky sound, while the synths create different kinds of atmospheres , ranging from dreamlike ambient soundscapes to progressive rock moments à la Rush.

The opener Banquet For The Back On Neck is the shortest song, heading in at over six minutes already. Soul, funk, prog and plainly crazy weirdness make for a sound quite impossible to describe, but never chaotic, always well structures, proving that these guys are not just making experimental music as for art's sake, but that there is some higher goal, like listening to the more conventional works of Henry Cow. From there on, the songs become longer, eight minutes, eleven minutes and ending with the sixteen minutes Ascend, In Pact, making for an EP running for nearly three quarters of an hour. A lot of bands get lost in such long structures, not so Time Of Orchid who just add part upon part, making this a musical discovery worthy of any weird Frank Zappa album, although Time Of Orchid are definitely more rock and therefore more accessible. Most experimental bands wouldn't dare to use so many melodic parts, but that's what makes Time Of Orchid great, giving them the right to call their music party prog.

It's a shame that an overrated all-star band like Fantômas draws huge crowds with their meandering walls of noise while the true avantgarde still lives a life hidden away from public recognition. Time Of Orchids shared the stage with such überbands like The Flying Luttenbachers, Kayo Dot and Cheer-Accident. If you are familiar with these bands, you will absolutely Time Of Orchid, and if not, you don't know what you have been missing so far. You can download one of their songs on their website. I strongly urge you do that, to get infected by the ToO virus, so that you buy this addicting piece of music.

Back to Reviews