Orchestra du Soleil

ODSA Mondial: An Excursion in Nuclear Music

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The second album from this strange trio of pan-European experimentalists finds Orchestra du Soleil (Stefane Tachvighi Bauer, Carl Oesterhelt, and Silvie Penelope Schmidt) exploring somewhat more psychedelic terrain than on its debut, combining languid, swirling melodies with generous helpings of echo and reverb, kitschy natural found sounds, and breathy singing to create a soft and inviting ambience that won't necessarily challenge your ears but doesn't sound much like anything else out there, either. Feel free to ignore the fact that the album's "song structures and lyrics are based on the theories and writings of Wilhelm Reich and David Bohm" (and the fact that this album "was conceived as a psychedelic trip into a utopian, post-nuclear New World"). You can't really understand the words anyway, and what really matters are the rich, sweet textures and gently engrossing melodies. There are a few genuine surprises here, not all of which were necessarily intentional: on "Dizzy Time Machine" the band sounds uncannily like the Congos during their Black Ark period; the very long and very boring "Utopic Painting" sounds a bit like disco played on a slowed-down tape recorder. Overall, this album is an interesting sonic experiment that is worth hearing, even if it isn't exactly an essential purchase.

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