Orphx - Pitch Black Mirror

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  • Orphx aren't your typical noisy industrial group. Sure, "Tensile," from 2011's Radiotherapy LP, featured the sound of an electric drill churning its way through the music, but more often, Richard Oddie and Christina Sealey treat noise as a tool, not the end goal. Since forming Orphx in 1993 (along with Aron West, who left a year later but has worked with the group since), Oddie and Sealey have explored various avenues and setups. As a result, their music has a certain plasticity. Their albums couldn't be pinned down to one style, which has kept the duo fresh and fighting fit. Vocals aren't new to Orphx, but they're used more abundantly on Pitch Black Mirror. In opener "Unknowing," Oddie's coos add a stringent post-punk and EBM dimension to the track's metallic tang. Elsewhere, Oddie spits more vehemently, as on the nihilistic techno-punk of "Zero Hour." The thunderous "Molten Heart" is the album's club-destroyer. Clamouring human noises exacerbate the sweat and fear in the air, while Oddie's voice is nearly bludgeoned by all the greasy pistons. "Molten Heart" also stands out for its sound design: before the hammering really gets going, you can hear all the field recording oddities that make the track really zing. On "Sever The Signal," the duo turns noise into rhythm, their unpleasant sounds (a dead hum in the background, serrated frequencies) molded into an industrial dance floor workout. Over the beat, Marie Davidson, a rising artist in Montreal's music scene, adds a faux-futuristic allure that makes Orphx's barbarous production even more endearing. Davidson's part on "Walk Into The Broken Night" is her best contribution to Pitch Black Mirror. Her voice is bewitching, and the ballad's smouldering production evokes misty moors and long-abandoned mansions. The album ends on a similarly spooky tip: "Pitch Black Mirror" is a leap away from, say, the hypnotic warehouse rhythms of "Blood In The Streets" or "Undying"'s scorpion sting. Such disparate sounds might not work so well in other hands, but for Orphx, abandoning protocol for wild-eyed experimentalism is part of the package.
  • Tracklist
      01. Unknowing 02. Sever The Signal 03. Blood In The Streets 04. Molten Heart 05. Undying 06. Zero Hour 07. Transmutation 08. All Rivers At Once 09. Walk Into The Broken Night 10. Pitch Black Mirror