Orphx – Primordial State [Ekstasis]

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Orphx has almost three decades of sonic research in musical fields such as industrial, noise and dark techno. Rich Oddie and Christina Sealey already devised this project in 1993 around the rawness and coldness that genres such as techno and industrial can offer, but we have also seen how the Canadian band has explored more experimental trends, such as advanced electronic music or dark ambient, or fusions with EBM, which have later been linked to techno to create a sound framework of their own.

Orphx is currently one of the most respected active bands in the industrial scene, most lovers of this musical genre know this duo very well for their multiple releases on labels such as Hands Productions, Sonic Groove or Hospital Productions, however, what interests us this time are their first years of career. And to talk about their latest project, it is better to go back to their beginnings.

Rich and Christie formed Orphx with very avant-garde ideas from the beginning. Both played together in a group inspired by the shoegaze bands of the late 80s, a period in which they also discovered industrial music. However, Orphx’s first productions were experimental-oriented, a mixture of drone, noise and highly degraded rhythmic structures. And this is where we have to go back to talk about Orphx’s latest release, Primordial State, released on Ekstasis.

Rich Oddie himself inaugurated this new label just over a year ago. The first release was an unreleased recording of different tracks, played live and in different locations and dates (between 2011 and 2019), by Ontario Hospital, a duo formed by Rich Oddie and Dave Foster (Huren). No Contact (Live Archive 2011-2019) is an album with a contemporary sound in which different textures and rhythmic formulas predominate, a great sound document that shows the evolution of this project over the past decade.

Primordial State is the second album, and the last one released to date by Ekstasis. This time it is also a very special sound archive, also recorded live, although, unlike the previous one, the recordings are much older and it is edited in a continuous mix. This release reveals the first stage of Orphx, between 1994 and 1995, in which the band developed a rough sound, with hardly any rhythmic presence and a gloomy environment that intensifies the ceremonial character of the duo’s early years. Another aspect that can be appreciated is how the studio material evolves with the improvisation of the live performances. Finally, it should be added that they had the invaluable collaboration of Aaron West, the third member in discord of Orphx.

Although the first two Ekstasis releases have been from projects linked to Oddie and with live tracks, the label’s intention is not to release only their own releases and live recordings, but the catalogue will be expanded with studio albums that could very well be from related artists or from other producers who have nothing to do with them.

Release date: July 23rd, 2021.  

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