Dusted Reviews

A.M. - Orla

today features
reviews charts
labels writers
info donate

Search by Artist

Sign up here to receive weekly updates from Dusted

email address

Recent Reviews

Dusted Reviews

Artist: A.M.

Album: Orla

Label: Ikuisuus

Review date: May. 21, 2007

The reed organ was once an important domestic instrument, offering a cheap alternative to the ever-popular family piano while at the same time providing a suitable instrument for accompanying family hymns on a Sunday. It was the product of a world-wide industry which turned out hundreds of thousands of organs a year at its peak. Reed organs are today the province of collectors and museums.
- The Reed Organ Society

One wonders what the Reed Organ Society would make of Antony Milton’s latest trip to the outlands of drone, a journey entirely composed on Orla reed organ. After receiving the organ as a surprise in the mail, the New Zealander used it to help flesh out the inspiration he gleaned from Charlemagne Palestine, the man who suggested that “a stream of sound may facilitate an ecstatic bliss of religious intensity.” For the five pieces on Orla, Milton utilizes every aspect of the organ - its more traditional keyboard sounds, its metal reeds, its fan motor, even the spring pegs of the keys.

His working method is certainly deconstructive, but it’s a deconstruction deeply dedicated to exploring more than the mind-erasing power of the drone. Milton tries to channel the innards of each extended tone. Each piece glows with the warm, blissful patina native to the organ, the kind of glow that comes after two or three healthy glasses of red wine. A cushioned haze surrounds you, your senses are sharpened, and the moment is delicate and liable to slip away, becoming all the more precious for its very unsustainability. Milton finds this delicacy on pieces like “Chamber Lull,” where the metallic pluck of the spring pegs punctuates the gentle oscillations of the fan motor. He builds the 12-minute “Some Dreams Must” from a scrabble of lisping, bubbling tones, accumulating layers of scree and tattered wails until the piece is thick with rough-hewn texture and heavy tectonic plates.

Milton doesn’t shy away from the big gesture either. “As the Rain Comes Down” is classic sheer-faced drone, the bellows wheezing like ancient lungs, while “Sky Voltage (reeds)” finds its form in the lower register. Milton’s drone, however, has none of the monotony that drone pioneer Tony Conrad indulges in - his explorations are more compact, more textured, more intimate. It’s a bold move, trading trance for texture, but the pay-off is a more nuanced look at the musical infinite.

By Matthew Wuethrich

Read More

View all articles by Matthew Wuethrich

Find out more about Ikuisuus

©2002-2011 Dusted Magazine. All Rights Reserved.