- Spunk / URA5020CD / URA5020
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Once of The Middle East, Jordan Ireland comes through with his second project since the group’s disintegration in 2011, and the first with his Purple Orchestra. They’re not actually an orchestra though - it’s used as more of a catch-all term for a band that throws together lilting pianos, harps, dulcimers, electronics and voice choirs in a similar manner to, say, Sigur Ros or Sung Tongs era Animal Collective.
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Jordan Ireland used to make it happen (“it” being a perfectly fine indie folk) in the Middle East, but as a dude all of his own he makes a lusher and broader sound full of ghostly electronics, weeping strings and sorrowful choirs. Listening to his self-titled’s opener “No Place for Rain”, his music can best be described as a sprinkling, with instruments procuring wandering arpeggios and lost motifs, guitar strings that unwind and horns that only ever fade away. It’s a ghostly little record that makes its presence known only to vanish.
I can see the appeal of ditching proper songs for atmospheres: Ireland’s very good at the latter, sketching out ideas and then drenching them in layers of meditative chaos. The instruments and voices of “Saturn Song” form one long bleed, with melodies and lyrics sounding like they’re being reminisced rather than performed. The record sort of sounds like he’s interposed a cosmic ambience and a straying jazz to his repertoire of folk pluckings, with certain percussive movements recalling Alice Coltrane and plenty of flute, organ and piano drones harkening towards new age.
What you’ve got, ultimately, is a triumphantly gorgeous and wildly messy record -- if you thought Sufjan’s calamitous orchestral processions were simply the best, or couldn’t get enough of the cobbler ambience of that last Botany album, this will be for you. It clears your head out with everything it’s got. Marvellous.
8/10 Poke Customer review, 8th February 2017
Is Jordan from Ireland? I have no idea but this breezes through the speakers like a fair crack at the loose pastoral jazz-folk of 'Astral Weeks' minus the stories and sax (no typo). Maybe a dash of late-era Talk Talk here too but less molasses. It's the summer to Hood's autumn. I hate to call music soothing or nice like it's a stick of lip balm but in the best meaning way this is pleasant without being bland. It sweeps over you but manages to leave an impression. One for spring and summer dusks. Lovely.
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