Orior 'Strange Beauty' 2xLP
Orior’s ‘Elevation’ 7” was released in 1979 and is one of the records that Sean Canty and Miles Whittaker of Demdike Stare shared an obsession over around the time they started working together 30 years later.
Spurred on by rumours of an unreleased LP, Demdike were determined to track them down but had scant information to go on, just the names “Clip and Phil” credited on the 7”, and an out of date contact for the obscure label Crystal Groove. After some detective work, and with a little help from Frank @ VOD, they managed to get a postal address for Clip that was ten years old and sent a note over.
Fortuitously, a letter was returned in reply from a Jeff Sharp (Clip) who was extremely surprised to be asked about recordings he had long forgotten about. This started a rewarding process: the master tapes were found in Jeff’s loft, but were in poor condition so were passed on to Andy Popplewell at AMR to bake and transfer. As Miles Whittaker explains:
“The day I went to AMR to collect the masters, before I’d even listened to anything, the engineer Andy Popplewell told me there was ‘pure gold’ on those tapes. He said it was an absolute joy to listen as the tapes were being recorded, so our anticipation was through the roof...”
The material is indeed special, in some respects typical of the era - lots of experimental drum machine experiments and so on, but also posessesd of a totally unexpected character: there are moments that recall the dense atmospheric pieces of Angelo Badalamenti, others that evoke classic Vangelis, or indeed the eerie soundscapes of Leyland Kirby. There are passages that bring to mind Bruce Gilbert’s Dome project, and parallels can be drawn with the Fourth World ambience of Jon Hassel and Brian Eno, as well as early Coil.
In short - it’s a revelatory set of recordings that, were it not for some resourcefulness and an awful lot of good luck would have just rotted away in an attic somewhere in South East England. Lucky for us, we can now hear it in all its expansive glory, spread across two meticulously curated LP’s on this wonderful label.
Catalogue number: DDS017 2LP