Hot on the heels of his collaborative album with Stik Figa (The City Under The City) talented prolific producer L'Orange now returns just six months later with more of his refreshingly unique sound: the highly recommended The Orchid Days that was released last month and that, like City, comes via the high caliber indie label Mello Music Group. "Two and a half years ago I got out a piece of paper and wrote down every single thing I wanted to do in the next year and at the very bottom of it I wrote Mello Music Group," the artist told me of finding his ideal label home after self-releasing some free albums digitally. "This is where I have seen myself for a long time and it is definitely an honor to be counted among the roster." His brand new Mello Music release The Orchid Days features carefully selected guest vocalists, (including Blu, Homeboy Sandman, and Billy Woods) on just 7 of its 19 tracks allowing the Nashville based producer to fully stretch and flex his trademark, hypnotically dreamy production style - while interweaving just the right amount of vocal guests to perfectly compliment his (and their) styles - all the while subtly moving the album's storyline along. The Orchid Days storyline is the story of love - finding love, falling in love, and then losing it and missing it - a story told via random soundbites expertly assembled - to the backdrop of an old world mood crafted by building layer upon layer of dreamy jazzy grooves from digging deep into really old jazz records with flutters of dramatically engaging soundbites/samples (handpicked over time by L'Orange) from old black and white movies, along with, often static sounding, classic old radio broadcasts. These samples along with the mood created by the musical backdrop tell a story that strongly hint that there was some specific romantic figure in L'Orange's life that inspired The Orchid Days. So I asked the artist was there a specific girl in mind as he recorded the album? "Of course there's a girl. I'm a poet," he replied adding. "Since that's not a satisfying answer I'll tell you something I haven't told anyone yet- she's on the album cover." [above left]
Perhaps what is most impressive about L'Orange as a producer is how he has crafted such a distinctive sound in such a relatively short recording career of only three years. His artist name however came years earlier than his recordings. "L'Orange was actually an old nickname that stuck around with me for a while so when it came time to make music and chose a moniker in 2006, 2007 I chose it. I always thought it was something that was kinda strange and inaccessible so I felt it matched my personality pretty well," said the gifted producer who is also a trained musician and who was once a recording studio engineer. Of that experience he said, "[That] allowed me how to figure out the heads or tails of mixing and basics. It was good. I was able to learn a couple of mixing techniques to separate my style a little bit." His very first release was the 2011 free album The Manipulation EP that he describes as "an eccentric album of just instrumentals" that tapped into the "deadpan" and "quirky" and "romantic" parts of his personality. "After that I moved on to Old Soul which was my Billie Holiday project" he said of the ten track release unleashed in November 2011 and that can still be downloaded. Of Holiday, who he calls his muse, he said that the Old Soul project was something that he really wanted to do since, "she is my favorite artist of all time. And I love her life and I wanted to be able to tell that story through her own work." This helped him shape his sound and how others viewed his style - old jazzy and noir feeling. As for Billie Holiday he noted what attracted him was her "imperfection" and the fact that "she's human" and "humans are imperfect and I wanted to reflect that" by taking her music and remixing it to have her tell her own story.
Fast forward to the intricately produced, highly satisfying The Orchid Days album which, in comparison to his previous works, is less dark, the project began with thousands of samples that L'Orange then narrowed down considerably as production on the project slowly but surely developed - ending up "with a few hundred beats and then I go through and find which ones work best for my story." That story, which demands repeated listens to fully absorb and appreciate, covers all aspects of love. In addition to the hundreds of carefully selected samples that help tell this tale the story is also fueled by the album's vocal guests: Erik Todd Dellums, Erica Lane, Homeboy Sandman, Blu, Jeremiah Jae, and Billy Woods. These album collaborators were, "Very carefully chosen. I want to make sure that they are not just emcees I like but ones that are right for the project and for this project which is more adventurous and I need the right emcees that I think can handle it." Of Homeboy Sandman's style he described him as, "having one of the most unorthodox and detailed flows and he brings so much to the story of the album. Homeboy Sandman says as much with his approach to music as he does with his words…..he is really incredibly talented at [that] and really digging in and creating his own rhythms to match the music than just laying back in the pocket of the beat."
The Orchid Days is available both online and in Amoeba's retail outlets. The limited edition pressing of The Orchid Days LP vinyl version from Mello Music is already sold out but check back on the Amoeba online store in case they do a re-press of the recommended record. And keep up to date via L'Orange's Facebook page for news on the artists including his tentative late summer/early fall tour in support of this album.
L'Orange "Man of the Night (feat. Erica Lane)" (2014)