Posts Tagged ‘Orchid Tapes’

Defined by mellow, ambient, reverberant and cold instrumentation and noises, Aaron Powell’s music under his Fog Lake ‘alias’ has been further perpetuated into a sadness, centric to his relationship with his hometown. The power of Fog Lake and his vocal production is arguably the source for which we measure and compare Powell’s sadness. “Latter Day Saint” and “June” are sunk back with more extensive reverberation and downgraded quality. ‘I sit and think now, another drink now’ from Latter Day Saint is one of the more distinguishable lines, implicitly speaking for itself.

“Sullivan”, “Crocodile” and “Pity Party” further offer Fog Lake’s repetitive, yet secluding and droning tones are themes, central to the alias’ personality. Sullivan and Crocodile epitomise Fog Lake within the realm of piano/synths underlying and carrying the feeling of dread under every note of every bar. The juxtaposing title Pity Party further executes Powell’s Fog Lake manifesto’; but with delicately fiddled strings, extensions of the range of this seemingly excluding ‘droning’ tone offers an alternate sadness to Powell’s song writing.

The singles’ coming prior to “Tragedy Reel’s” release: “Jitterbug”, “Dakota” and “Catacombs”further reinforce Fog Lake’s bind with his hometown (from his previous work), and blindness to the world outside. A persistent sound embeds itself into Powell’s work, although defined under the general term ‘lo-fi’, his drum tracks are distinctly clear; this blend of clarity with his ‘sunken’ and ‘drowned’ synthesised tones overrides elements of the clarity, further bonded with the lyrical content. These songs respectively allude to his memories of a high-school romance, homesickness and seeming bereavement.

“Catacombs” deceptively, with the lack of Powell’s signature suppressing synths, implies a contrary ‘brighter’ tone, but the everlasting gloom of Fog Lake becomes apparent with each stroke of his guitar. “Dakota” stretches our hopes of happiness for Powell even further, but as far as we’re brought out of our Fog Lake comfort-zone, we are soon plunged even deeper into his despair. “Dakota”: “alluding to [Fog Lake’s] experiences constantly moving back and forth from… my hometown to the island of Newfoundland”. Tragedy Reel’s singles have carried Fog Lake’s now perfected balances of instrumentation, musicianship and production in forming (and continuing to write) music that hesitates to step off the cliff of ‘gloom’ into an abyss of over-emotional allusions and reminiscences.

Following on from DakotaCrystalline also alludes to homesickness, but without being dragged away from Fog Lake’s baseline of gloom: ‘I’ve been away for so long’. Fog Lake creates a tympanic addiction shrouded in musical regularity, with Crystallinethe significance of introducing the album with a steady four-four swung drum-loop that buries itself deep in our perception and the song, implies a need, and desire, for regularity – giving significance to his alluding homesickness, until its demise and replace with a melancholic piano.

“Tragedy Reel” is out now on Orchid Tapes


Boring Ecstasy is a compilation put together in celebration of four years of Orchid Tapes releases. In the time that we’ve been in operation we’ve gotten to know some of the most vibrant, talented and kind people that we’ve ever had the fortune of being friends with. Aside from becoming label that houses music that we can truly feel proud of having helped to release, Orchid Tapes has turned into a tight-knit group of people that we’re happy to call our family, despite the geography that restricts us from being able to see each other as often as we’d like to.

The album is a collection of home-recorded songs that represents a group of musicians whose creativity is unbridled by any kind of financial or technological barriers. A passionate love for music and the desire to create things true to individual vision remains the overarching aesthetic that we try to harbor with Orchid Tapes, and we hope those ideas come across through the music on this record.

Thank you so much for your support and for listening.


1. Ricky Eat Acid – Can You See It’s Bloom
2. Alex G – Cards
3. R.L. Kelly – Everything’s Cool
4. The Sweater I Gave You – Nobody’s Baby
5. Four Visions – Hazy Past
6. Home Alone – Catching Hours
7. Julia Brown – Without You

8. Infinity Crush – Spoiled
9. Elvis Depressedly – N.M.S.S. (Amy’s Demo Tape) [vinyl only!]
10. HAPPY TRENDY – Spirit Week
11. Yohuna – Badges
12. Foxes in Fiction – Rearrange
13. Euphoria Again – Change
14. MEISHI SMILE – Sincerity

Yohuna’s Stunning First Album Is For Anyone Who Hates Labels

This is such wonderful bedroom pop. It makes me think of the Softies, though the sonic palette is quite different. The lyrics get a bit burry in favor of overall tone, but that sound! You could curl up in it and feel like it’s an endless, slightly sad mid-afternoon forever . Swanson makes beautiful, layered music that mostly resists classification: too pop to be electronic, too soft to be rock, too X to be Y, too A to be B — she’s heard it all before. No wonder she felt strange: her music is one of in-betweens.

Take “Lake,” the opening song off Yohuna’s long-time-coming debut LP, Patientness, which is now available on Orchid Tapes (and includes a re-recorded version of beloved, Hunger Games-referencing “Badges” . With a bittersweet cloud of synth and guitar, “Lake” sounds like a summer spent in the shade of a tree, a meditation on a passing moment. The light on the lake/ How it gives and it takes/ Like a summer/ Far away, she sings. It sounds a little electronic, a little rock, and a little pop. But it’s not quite any of those things.

Swanson grew up in the Wisconsin countryside, going to church three times a week. Her town was quiet but her family was musical: her mother, at one point, provided musical therapy as a hospice chaplain, and her father played classical piano. Swanson grew up singing in choirs and acting in musicals , honing an interest in songwriting that would follow her through college at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, and through her later stints in New Mexico, Berlin, and finally, Brooklyn.

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Swanson first came to New York as part of the live-in residency program at Brooklyn DIY arts space the Silent Barn, but was quickly displaced by a fire last September. “I really don’t know if [Patientness] would have happened if [the fire] hadn’t,” she said. “Things like that just force you to prioritize.” She was the one who discovered the fire, so moving back in was no longer an option – the memory of that day made her physically sick. It was around this time that she began working with Canadian composer Owen Pallett , and recording Patientness — the title a suitable mantra for such personally turbulent times.

The album’s title is reminder of things just over the horizon, and the fleeting nature of what’s happening now. I would like to be hung over/ With the sun streaming over us/ That’s when things are normal, Swanson sings on “World Series.” Hangovers may be unpleasant, but they are also proof that we’re real. That’s where you find Yohuna — not hungover necessarily, but somewhere in the middle — of then and now, of happy and sad….just trying to feel real.


Written, arranged, and performed by Yohuna.
Yohuna is Johanne Swanson.
Adelyn Strei sang, played guitar, and co-wrote “Golden Foil”.
Felix Walworth played drums.
Emily Sprague played mellotron.
Warren Hildebrand played bass.
Owen Pallett played a lot of things.
Production and engineering on “Creep Date” by Jake Yuhas and Miles Coe.
Produced by Yohuna and Owen Pallett.

EMILY REO – ” Spell “

Posted: May 17, 2017 in MUSIC
Tags: ,

Emily Reo has provided us with “Spell” with which to draw down the moon, conjuring a potent emotive hex from across those cursed moors. From within her dark autotune shroud, Reo allows us to invoke and purge our most inward, plaintive feelings (if this was still a thing you’d better believe “I don’t feel anything/I don’t heal anything” would be everyone’s AIM away message for the rest of the year). Though the track has already acquired plenty of internet love since emerging last week as if from some uncanny fog, don’t forget that the Spell 10” vinyl (with b-side “Stronger Swimmer”)  Spell may be purchased now through Orchid Tapes.


“I wrote ‘Stronger Swimmer’ after reading a short story about a woman who was in an abusive relationship. In the story, she and her partner were canoeing when their boat capsized—he didn’t know how to swim, but she was a great swimmer and she decided to leave him behind,” Reo tells us. “Something about that imagery stuck with me, imagining her being in the cold water at dusk and having to suddenly make the decision to save herself, in multiple ways…. ‘Stronger Swimmer’ is organized chaos—it’s about taking all of the overwhelming turmoil in your life and transforming it into a source of personal power.”

Written, recorded and produced by Emily Reo
Mixed by Emily Reo, Jack Greenleaf and Warren Hildebrand

It’s alarming to note the number of rock genres that have roots in a specific compilation album. The 1960’s folk revival sprang to life as a result of Harry Smith’s Anthology of American Folk Music; punk rock got a jump start by Lenny Kaye and Jac Holzman’s Nuggetsindie pop became a new shorthand after the release of the NME’s C86.

Following in this legacy is Orchid Tapes co-founder Warren Hildebrand, who has been championing bedroom pop artists through his New York-based label since 2010. “Radiating Light” is Orchid Tapes’ second compilation—it gets its name from a lyric fromYohuna’s “Badges,” which was featured on the first comp. Each of its 13 songs is composed by a different artist, but each one also hews close to the label’s defined aesthetic: electronic-leaning, lo-fi pop.

But despite this general overlap, there’s a clear split between the glitchy, experimental electronica of Katie Dey, Ricky Eat Acid, the aqueous synth ballads proffered by Hildebrand’s Foxes in Fiction and the more straightforward pop of R.L. Kelly, Infinity Crush, and Owen Pallett.


The one constant is a general propensity for introspective, backward-looking lyrics. The album’s three standouts—Soccer Mommy’s “Memories,” R.L. Kelly’s “Mad,” and Yohuna’s “Geese Outside”—form a constellation of isolation; “Mad” ends with R.L. Kelly singing, “I can’t remember the person I used to be,” atop a solo guitar while “Geese Outside” begins with Yohuna singing, “I don’t remember a time / when I was happy, gracious, or kind.” The songs on Radiating Light not only define bedroom pop, but provide a compact introduction for future listeners.

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Warren Hildebrand is a busy guy, between recording and touring as Foxes In Fiction he runs the label Orchid Tapes – who have released some incredible albums this year – it just happens that “Ontario Gothic” is the best of that bunch. Hildebrand has synesthesia, which means he experiences sounds as tones, colours and textures, which if you’ve heard the album will make perfect sense to you. It’s an album with zero conflicts, a beautiful technicolour lens to view the world with; you could call it dream pop, but that’s a genre tag to often assigned with a sarcastic curled lip, and what Hildebrand has created, with orchestration from Owen Pallett, deserves so much more than that.


Foxes in Fiction is the musical project of Warren Hildebrand, a Canadian singer-songwriter based in Brooklyn, New York. He released his first album Swung from the Branches in 2010 on Orchid Tapes, and has since released the EP Alberto and a 7″ single. Among his collaborations are a single with Benoît Pioulard, released in 2014.  In 2012 Hildebrand moved from Toronto to Brooklyn, settling down in the neighbourhood of Bushwick. Brian Vu joined Orchid Tapes later that year, helping expand the roster and the label’s scope, which introduced Hildebrand to a number of future collaborators. He occasionally masters albums for other musicians on the label.


When he’s not running the Brooklyn-based label Orchid Tapes, Warren Hildebrand moonlights as Foxes In Fiction, and that’s a very good thing. His sophomore album under that moniker is meditative and comforting; it has no edges. Ontario Gothic” is a smart album too, because it’s self-referential, sourcing material from previous album cuts and early singles. Throughout the LP, Hildebrand never lets the feeling stray from one of warm, misty comfort. There’s a bruised sadness to it—Hildebrand calls it healing pop for a reason—but it’s a pleasant, reflective kind of sadness. Ontario Gothic doesn’t keep anything at a distance; its strength comes from always being right there .