Roots of Orchis

The Red House in Winter

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The debut record from this Sand Diego quartet is a beautiful instrumental epic that brings to mind Tristeza and Maserati. Later discs saw Roots of Orchis expand in a jazzier and more hip-hop-infused direction, but on their first disc, the approach is much more guitar-oriented and subtle. There are still flourishes of the electronics that appeared on later releases, most notable in the freaky beat manipulation of "Accompanied by Fever." The eight songs that form the record aren't too upbeat, bit they still rely heavily on tight grooves and the interplay of the group's formidable rhythm section. Single guitar lines are difficult to pick out as they swirl across keyboard sounds and slinky basslines, and the result is a series of tracks that never impose themselves on you but manage to work their way into the listener's head over time. The nature of the songs is relaxing yet complex, and while there aren't exactly any standout tracks, the record as a single piece of music works very well. Roots of Orchis only got better from this point on, and even a quick listen shows that the potential was there from the start. As the band got more complex and creative, they strayed from the straightforward approach of The Red House in Winter, but there's no denying that this was the start of something impressive.

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