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Orchard & Ponds’s ‘Preparations’ (MP3s)

There are three short and one very long piece on Preparations, the recent album by Orchard & Ponds. The short ones range from barely a minute in length to just over two, and are entirely knowable: brief little exercises in low-slung, artfully maudlin sound. There’s a muffled recording of what is likely a mother singing to a child (“Lullaby”: MP3), heard as if through a thick wall; though always recognizable as a voice, on repeated listens it becomes a single melismatic sound, tracing the contours of the melody, and slowly dispensing with whatever words are involved. There’s an acoustic guitar ramble that brushes up against a rough harmonica (“The Drake”: MP3). And there’s a soulful mix of guitar and shards of roughly, lightly bowed violin that emphasizes the textural elements of both (“Bredoleau”: MP3).

And then there’s the title track, which at upwards of three quarters of an hour is not fully knowable (“Preparations”: MP3). Despite its title, there is no preparation for its extended near-silence, less a drone than an audio document of warm dust (for anyone who’s not an occasional or longtime reader of this website, that last description is intended as high praise). It’s a steadily paced investigation of quiet reverb, light static, and distant feedback, all given a semblance of structure thanks to some almost invisible looping, and the fact that the piece is bookended on the album by shorter, more concertedly defined works.

[audio:|titles=”Lullaby”|artists=Orchard & Ponds] [audio:|titles=”Preparations”|artists=Orchard & Ponds] [audio:|titles=”Bredoteau”|artists=Orchard & Ponds] [audio:|titles=”The Drake”|artists=Orchard & Ponds]

More details on the release at the releasing netlabel, More on Orchard & Ponds at

By Marc Weidenbaum

Tags: , / Comment: 1 ]

One Comment

  1. nathan
    [ Posted November 4, 2009, at 7:05 am ]

    thanks for posting my album and for the kind words! the comment “audio document of warm dust” is really appreciated, i think that nails it.

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  • Marc Weidenbaum founded the website in 1996 at the intersection of sound, art, and technology, and since 2012 has moderated the Disquiet Junto, an active online community of weekly music/sonic projects. He has written for Nature, Boing Boing, The Wire, Pitchfork, and NewMusicBox, among other periodicals. He is the author of the 33 1⁄3 book on Aphex Twin’s classic album Selected Ambient Works Volume II. Read more about his sonic consultancy, teaching, sound art, and work in film, comics, and other media

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