Can you name bands or groups that opened the door to new genres? Orange and Mountains definitely fall in that category for introducing me to the electronic/modern classical genre. Although the boundaries are blurry by nature, this was the first artist that truly engulfed me and cracked this path open. As you know, the Weekly Featured Artist edition is our chance to dive the deepest into artists we love and that we want to expose. Today is no exception to that premise, and Orange and Mountains is our lucky winner.
I discovered this band by rather chance, as it got on our review list for their first full length, Drawers. This moment also coincided with a period of time when I was opening myself musically to new styles, outside my comfort zone as a byproduct of becoming a writer at Everything Is Noise. This duo, consisting of Lorenzo Pesci and Edoardo de Din, captivated me beyond expectations. It is actually difficult to summarise how a group of this kind sounds in just a sentence, but for what it’s worth, I shall try. Sonically, the electronic meanderings are designed and articulated to create textures that contour the shape of a feeling, mostly melancholic, but any feeling can do. It’s almost exclusively electronic, aside from the guitar work and some string arrangements too. However, the involvement of modular synthesis makes the music shift back to the uniqueness of analog performance and knob-twisting.
Yet, what I’d say that drives me the most to get here and throw roses at them is a concept, or a mentality, rather than just a musical output. In a way it does influence the output, though. This has to do with the (unusual?) initiative to conceive music as a revisitation. If you think ourselves and our creations as a result of our context and influences, then it doesn’t seem such a innovative worldview. In the end, it goes beyond that. While going over their concise but impressive discography, you will find many revisitations or ‘reworks’ as part of their music. They just love to resignify stuff, and that makes the music have a whole other dimension. Through their label, Rhodium Publishing, I got the chance to interview them. For a bit of self-indulgence, I asked about their debut album, which we reviewed last year. It is highly recommendable that you give that article a glimpse because the interview not so indirectly follows up on it. The group has had a series of minor releases up to their latest song “Ave Regina Caelorum” which dropped last month. We will also address that.
Full disclosure, here, I wasn’t expecting to make this article a standard interview. However, I found the duo’s answers so compelling that it would’ve felt sacrilege not to include them. I hope you enjoy this conversation as much as I did. That being said, and without further ado: Orange and Mountains.
Everything Is Noise: Edoardo and Lorenzo, where did you guys meet, and when did you realize you were bound to make music together?
Lorenzo: We met about four years ago in a German town called Aachen, at the border with the Netherlands and Belgium. At that time, I was still working as a university researcher, and I met Edoardo at a random dinner party. Some guitars were hanging around, and we started playing together, just like that. It was funny because each of us was searching for someone to share ideas and make music. That’s how everything started. We started meeting up basically every day during the whole of 2018, and the realization came by itself without telling each other.
EIN: How did you come up with the idea of remembering dreams for the Drawers album? The whole album revolves around that concept, even its structure.
Edoardo: Again, quite naturally. We are both very fascinated by the absurdity of some dreaming experiences. We are always telling these bizarre dreams to each other as if you would tell your friend what a crazy movie you saw at the cinema the night before. These conversations became the starting ideas for the album.
EIN: Different genres demand certain atmospheres and textures. What is something you love about electronic, ambient music that you could not express if you played another style of music?
L: I think I have realized that electronic and ambient music is just the best tool I can use to fit my expression needs. More specifically, I can find musical aspects that resonate with me in so many different music genres, from hyper-pop to death metal and jazz or classical music. However, I am not a highly technically skilled musician, and it would be impossible for me to express myself by making heavy metal, for example. My hands are not able to communicate with my brain in that way. Electronic and ambient music allows me to do that since I can focus on creating the very same resonating emotions through the design of sounds.
E: Just like Lorenzo, electronic and ambient music was sort of a natural direction for me to express the musical ideas I had in my head. I was very fascinated by the fact that electronic music could give a lot of freedom in creating sounds, and in the structure of songs. I also realized that I was not interested in producing improvised music although I am a big fan. And I would rather confront myself with the search for the melody and sounds that best express the ideas or emotions of a moment. It remains like a photograph of that instant.
EIN: You released Frame IV, which is a rework of another piece by Ed Carlsen. You released Drawers, whose central theme is again the rework of your own music. Now, you are about to release an EP that reinterprets other people’s music. How do recreation and reinterpretation have such a seminal relevance in your musical expression? What do you like the most about reimagining other people’s songs, especially in the style you produce and play?
L: I think that in a way it comes from our scientific background. And even though I quit my job as a researcher quite some time ago, many thinking approaches are still there. In science, you get inspired by someone’s work, and then you start building up your own contributions and ideas from there. My feeling is that we often do the same with music.
E: And It can be very challenging, especially when reinterpreting someone else’s music. On the other hand, it’s a great source of inspiration. We get deep into the music material of another artist and, in the end, the result is that our knowledge and experience also increase.
EIN: You’ve also had your songs re-done by artists like BPMoore. How did the Drawers (Reworks) come around? What are your thoughts on artists being more and more collaborative these days?
L: For a couple of years we have landed in the modern/post-classical scene, which we really enjoy even though our music lacks the typical instrumentations that characterize the genre (piano and strings). This is most probably due to the atmosphere that we depict, which very much fits the genre. We thought it would be really interesting to see how our music would sound when reinterpreted using more ‘traditional’ instrumentations like piano/strings as BPMoore did. Piano and synths like Jameson Nathan Jones did, or just piano solo like Simeon Walker did. They all created three gems out of our three Drawers singles!
For the second question, this is a really good one! I really enjoy listening and working on collaborations. It’s an amazing way to grow and learn from each other. This could be a side effect of the highly digital interconnections between people? Which maybe makes it easier to get connected to people you would have never thought of working with? Don’t know the answer but I think it’s a very cool thing.
E: I also think we are all starting to realize, from science to arts, that sharing ideas between different people can produce beautiful and unexpected results, which can only result from an inclusive mindset. As Lorenzo said, our digitally interconnected world is definitely helping with that.
EIN: How do you prepare yourself for a live show? Do you aim at recreating the music exactly as it was produced or do you like to twist things around?
L: In the shows, we try to play as much as we can as a live band. We dissect the tracks to their essential elements and we focus on them by playing and interacting with about seven instruments, including the guitar. On a live show, we want to focus on the essential parts of the tracks rather than on the production nuances. Since we live in different cities we mostly rehearse separately and then we have a single rehearsal day.
EIN: Tell me about Sphaerae, your new EP. What inspired you to rework Palestrina’s music? For those who don’t know, Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina was a Renaissance composer whose craft influenced music hallmarks like J. S. Bach. More on this guy here.
Edoardo: Sphaerae was born out of a series of technical as well as emotional intuitions we got by listening to Palestrina‘s music. From the technical perspective, the pieces evolve through ‘never-ending’ melodies, which give a strong feeling of suspension and at the same time are very vivid and incisive. We felt it could be quite interesting to translate this in a more ambient/electronic context, which is based as well on a balance between suspension and incisiveness.
Lorenzo: Emotion-wise we simply fell in love with his music, and we wanted to do something with it using our language. Moreover, we had a couple of lockdowns in Germany at that time, so we also had plenty of time to work on it!
EIN: What are your plans for the future? Is there an album in the works aside from the EP? Are you planning to go on tour?
Lorenzo: Yes, we did start to work on a new album. This one is not going to include reinterpretations though, haha. It is going to have a more personal and emotional content rather than a rational/experience-based one.
Edoardo: We are playing a couple of shows in Germany between May and August. A tour would be fantastic; hopefully, the situation would keep stable in the next months and we can start planning something for 2023.
Orange and Mountains is…
Lorenzo Pesci – Synths
Edoardo De Din – Synths & Guitars
There you have it, folks. I’m excited to see where this group goes next. For now, I’ll stick with their new release. Make sure you keep an eye on this duo by following on their social media pages: Bandcamp, Facebook, and Instagram. See you soon!