Leipzig is the fourth album from Faroese band ORKA. The name of the band immediately had me intrigued—any act brave enough to hint at their homeland’s worldwide controversies deserves at least an album worth of my attention. It wasn’t necessary though, because here is an album I instantly connected with. It’s often hard to put one’s finger on what makes a standout electronic album, but I’m here to give it my best shot.
While I consider myself a fan of electronic music, this kind of album is something different to what I’m used to. It has been thought out as a work of art, not as an album. It’s self aware, yes, but without being pretentious, and experimental in the same way. ORKA are remarkably original. In fact, they are known to use trademark custom (and self-proclaimed “badly-built”) instruments to construct the album. The result is an astoundingly unique, industrial and ultimately dark sonic.
The album seems relatively lengthy at 7 tracks, but there are actually only a few full tracks, peppered with experimental bursts—a number of tracks are just minute or so long. The full-length tracks in isolation are great but it is an album to be heard in full. It flows seamlessly together, despite the extensive spectrum of emotions portrayed. It has a bit of everything; pumping, almost mainstream enthusiasm (‘Open Skylines’), the sexy and fashionable ‘WIthout’, spacey and 80s-inspired (‘Black Ice Age’). Whatever kind of electronic you’re into, there’s a track in here you’re going to love.
I love the vocal work, used sparingly throughout the album. It’s simple, elegant, and only as instrumental as the rest of the electronic sounds. The first track (after the introductory ‘Olav’) ‘Tower of London’ uses it perfectly, both offsetting and complementing the sci-fi-esque eeriness of the instrumentals. It is most prominent, and intentionally so, in the aptly named ‘Sing’.
The album’s creation is another borderline eye-roll cool story. As taken from the press release “The bulk of the album was recorded at UT Connewitz; a spectacular and worn down pre-war cinema in the heart of Leipzig, Germany, together with Oktopus (Dälek), Ólavur Jákupsson, and HOGNI. Other recordings were done on tour in Paris, New York, a small church in Sibrandahûs, Netherlands, a boat in Hong Kong and a train terminal in Bombay.” It was completed in London, the current base of the band, and so we have Leipzig. If you’re at all interested in electronic music I would encourage you to give this album your full attention. You’ll be glad you did.
Leipzig is out to download on December 15th on Cargo Records.