By Josh Beck
I’ve never been to the suburbs of Ontario in 1993, but if one listens closely to these rare recordings, they might be transported to that time & place - through the minds & sonic noise-scapes of Rich Oddie, Christina Sealey, and Aron West. Thank you first and foremost to ORPHX for this vulnerable glimpse unto their minds, their expression, and for taking the listener on such a savage journey. Additionally, shout out to Mannequin Records / Hospital Productions for making these recordings available to a larger audience.
I wasn’t completely sold until track seven, “Excruciate.” It’s relentless chugging and hammering still fresh and unforgettable. Slight whispers marred the background. From the distance I make out some sort of bass line - but who the fuck knows really. Three minutes in and I am attacked by a fully distorted wall - as if Phil Spector grew up in East Berlin & decided to start banging pipes on cement. Highlight the two minute, forty four second mark.
The wave subsides as the mood changes drastically into “Monophilia.” The piece begins gently, almost luring the listener in - but do not be fooled. It’s disjointed punches and kicks are glued together by a haunting melody, almost frightening. Meanwhile, somewhere in New Jersey Lenny Kravitz is recording “Are You Gonna Go My Way.” Odd.
“Veil of Dream” could easily be playing in the waiting room before entering David Lynch’s black lodge, or perhaps the score to a strange wormhole, portal to a different dimension or multiverse. Throughout most of this recording I feel as though I have taken drugs, though I’m not quite sure which one(s).
The general lack of a consistent BPM is one of the things that impresses me the most about this archive, the percussion flows in and out like a tide beating on cold, jagged rock. What’s even more startling is hearing this recording much later and in the scope of history, comparing it to the music of it’s time. ORPHX was so non-linear, so far beyond any of the song writing of their era that it’s not hard to imagine this recording emerging today - where experimental electronics and noise have become a part of our vocabulary. The archive is nothing short of a dystopian masterpiece. Put on a decent pair of headphones, dim the lights and let this chilling “Landscape of Wounds” take over - highly recommended.
Available now on Mannequin Records.