Disco Couture Records, 2019


REVIEW BY: Tom Haugen


Seattle's Orqid is Tom Butcher, a musician and music technology developer (he actually owns a synthesizer company). With his EP Tenderness, the landscape is as colorful as the cover art, as he mashes pop, ambient, electronic, and experimental ideas across the six tracks, one-third of which contain vocals. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

The title track starts the listen with a dense beat and an ominous mood as RB stabs and plenty of grooves find their way into the cautious, yet adventurous display. “Our Love” follows with both club and dub sensibilities amid the dance floor friendly anthem that can get a bit funky, too. These first two tracks are the only ones to feature singing; Orqid's tone runs parallel to David Gahan (Depeche Mode), which I doubt few people will have a problem with.

Though there are just six tracks, half of them surpass the five minute mark, allowing Tenderness to cove much ground. Middle tunes like “Ritual” rely heavily on ambience for its spacey, contemplative atmosphere, while “Melting Heart” buzzes with exploratory synth and a bass heavy execution that helps makes this the standout track.

Near the end, “Analytica” offers a surreal and hazy place to reside as skittering electronica add much to the highly creative formula, and “Civilizations” exits the affair with a cinematic quality and emotional capacity that we usually associate with names like Brian Eno or Aphex Twin.

Butcher has also recorded music under the moniker Codebase, where his electronic prowess is more in line with techno. As Orqid, he presents a more sensual and romantic place for his artistic approach to flourish, embracing both analog and digital approaches as well as drum machines to flesh out these  gems.

(P.S. Tenderness is not only engaging musically, but also aesthetically; the vinyl version comes on marbled wax with hot pink, lavender and periwinkle hints -- pure eye candy for the collectors out there.)

Rating: B+

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