“A man fell in love. Then the world was destroyed by an ever-growing nothing in the sky.”
Delicately blending intricate, downbeat instrumentals with sublimely selected features from some of Hip Hop’s finest MCs, beatsmith L’Orange’s latest album The Orchid Days plays like a throwback to the era of crackling radio and jazz lounges where smoke hangs in the air thick as thieves. Mysterious film noir voice overs and dusty jazz samples form a distinct voice that leads you through the story of love, life and wonder. Having honed a very finely crafted sound over the last few years, The Orchid Days is the culmination of dusty fingertips and supremely dedicated crate digging from a producer that’s really beginning to find his stride and who’s style we simply can’t get enough of. Lazily shuffling drums are the punctuation for chopping melodies, satisfyingly human in their skipping programming, and a host of intricate twists and turns that transport you back to times of old while simultaneously updating them with a casual hip hop swagger.
While his organic production, rhythmic crackles galore, is descriptive, visual and emotive in itself, it’s his vision and playful nature with a vocal samples that truly define his style, adding a constant element of narrative to proceedings. The chopped up female vocals of Second Person are enhanced by a multitude of vocal snatches that keep your ears highly pricked to the track’s progression, delicate pianos and drum edits subtly forming the backdrop. Elsewhere, Eventually’s early 20th Century vocal juxtaposes crashing boom bap beats for one of the albums most neck snapping tracks while the funky, punching single bars of For Those Who Don’t help open out the tracks jazzy saxophones and militantly stepping bass-line and Will Wait’s vocal is effortlessly soulful, finishing one of my percy’s over a static filled break and stunning melodies.
However, he proves in dashes throughout that his sound can work to a lyricists vision just as well as his own chopped offerings. Erik Todd Dellums set’s the scene brilliantly in the intro track Unreliable Nature, h is deep, dark ode to the calm before the storm floating over flowering atmospherics with cryptic metaphor that can’t help but spark curiosity as to what’s to follow. Soon after, Erika Lane’s powerful vocals finish off another highlight track over the top of a soothing bass-line, playful pianos and an electric guitar melody taking it to an extra level. Cutting out only to drop back in stronger then ever, it’s a constantly rising piece of music as L’Orange shows his class with deep texture and glorious detail; a wealth of almost unnoticeable samples, switching drum patterns and dainty additions emphasizing the hours in his craft. Homeboy Sandman provides the first MC feature and an injection into the timeline, his honest storytelling instinctively catching the album’s tone before Blu follows up his Alone feature on L’Orange’s previous album The Mad Writer. Entitled Need You, his skipping flow slowly rises in energy among the beats constant warm bass, his rhyme schemes seemingly growing more intricate despite the manic pace set early alongside the infectious pianos. The harder, more swaggering side of his style simply works amidst the consistent MC/beatmaker chemistry the two possess.
Although often sultry and classy in nature, L’Orange’s tales of The Orchid Days certainly never shy away from the mischievous undercurrents of the toying melodies bubbling throughout. Lent an incredibly immersive nature by it’s sheer depth and the intricacies of it’s many samples, it has both the swinging temperament and the stylistically refined nature of a soundtrack, something that makes it an encapsulating listen as a whole album. However, that’s not to say there aren’t individual shining moments; the constant progression and skit like approach of tracks such as Emotions makes them journeys unto themselves while the vocalist feature’s excel when standing solitary. Packed full of sunshine swingers and lazy day vibers, The Orchid Days is an album not to be underestimated. Check it below and pick it up over on Bandcamp.