FAME Review: John Orsi - A Room for the Night
John Orsi - A Room for the Night

A Room for the Night

John Orsi

Available from John Orsi's online store.

A review written for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
by Mark S. Tucker

The DIY (Do It Yerself) era has gone largely unnoted and unrecorded in print venues. It was a time in which the music world was democratizing as never before, both in terms of access and creativity. As might be expected, generous shovelfuls of every stripe of music of every possible quality issued, from wildly experimental and thought provoking to absolute shit. Just so no one gets their hopes up, I ain't going to be the one to memorialize it, but I was indeed part of that time, writing for Sound Choice and other print mags while releasing a cassette of my instrumental mostly ambientalist synth music (11 Constructions, which garnered undeservedly positive praise but didn't sell worth a damn). To this day, even with myriad hybrid styles currently vying for YouTube space, the DIY scene remains a unique phenomenon and in it can be found the lion's share of stylistic origins still rising to the ear.

I say all that because Knitting by Twilight's John Orsi has released another self-work. His stuff is always welcome no matter whether in group (Knitting by Twilight, Incandescent Sky, etc.) or solo configuration, and A Room for the Night is very reminiscent of the high point of DIY, in his case embracing such divergent talents as PBK, Schlafengarten, Mike Chocholak, Jeff Grienke, Vidna Obmana, and one of the inspirations for this release, Don Campau, as well as a cornucopia more, not to mention then outside-progbientalists like Roedelius. I'd recommend starting with the last cut on this disc, the long and captivatingly haunted transdimensional travelogue titled Two Trains Passing (Not that many Trains Pass in my Nights Anymore), the sort of thing one would expect to find in a von Triers film (Europa in this instance). However, I'm not sure that recommendation's fair, as the entirety of Room has more than a small intent to mildly or blatantly upset certain listener expectations. Thus, it might also be best just to start at the beginning.

One of the disc's more interesting features is Room's lo-fi, mid-fi, and high-fi (so that you don't mistake it for 'hi-fi') nature, traits sometimes displayed all within one song, layered one atop the other, or separately, depending on the emotions, sensations, and soundfields desired. At one time, that would've been along the lines of glitch technique but has evolved more and more to be a discreet element of the compositional palette as time goes on and hybridization expands outwards to previously unthought-of perimeters. As with the more recent of Orsi's work, synths, allsorts, found sound, and various other ingredients overshadow, abet, sandwich, and infiltrate the percussionistics to achieve a more organo-mechanical result. Hodges' Lodge even approaches a form of odd recitalistic furniture music. John advises all and sundry to listen twice through Room in order to get the sense of things properly; I say that no matter how many repeats you indulge, it'll keep changing and divulging anyway, that's its secret, so don't stop at two.

Track List:

  • Crescent Park
  • Hodges' Lodge
  • Jaldi
  • Togetherness
  • Companion Wheel
  • Two Trains Passing (Not that many Trains Pass in my Nights Anymore)
All songs composed by John Orsi.

Edited by: David N. Pyles

Copyright 2012, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
This review may be reprinted with prior permission and attribution.
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