Sion Orgon - Recognition JournalWe're always impressed by the works of Sion Orgon, and his latest release, Recognition Journal, released on Lumberton Trading Company doesn't disappoint. Like his previous releases, Recognition Journal draws on his associations with other fellow Welsh musicians and artists. Gaz Williams (Rocketgoldstar, Underworld) is there and, of course, so too is Thighpaulsandra, as well as Rob Greensmith contributing lyrics, once again. Often regarded as part of the extended Coil family, as the late Peter Christopherson contributed to his last album, The Zsigmondy Experience, and to his last release the 'Into The Dark' single, Sion Orgon is also a constant long time collaborator to Thighpaulsandra.
Orgon shares with Thighpaulsandra, who co-wrote half of these songs, a penchant for extended avant garde and experimental intros and outros. Besides his solo work Orgon regularly composes for theatre, film and installation. He has provided soundtracks for Earthfall, a Welsh radical dance theatre company, receiving awards and nominations from BAFTA Cymru. This year he engineered the sound - based on a Thighpaulsandra composition - for Caitlin, a powerfully bleak physical dance performance which appeared at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. Nestled within and blossoming from those experimental and abstract passages is Orgon's love of a pop song. Orgon, who also engineers for countless acts, gives the studio a serious workout transforming difficult textures into beautiful melodic moments. And while Orgon's previous album The Zsigmondy Experience relied heavily on vocoded voices this time on Recognition Journal his pure unadulterated voice is allowed to shine.
Recognition Journal springs from an unwieldy array of squeaks, scrapes, taps, and sprightly rhythmic tones of 'The Black Spider of the Garden' which within a flickering twist of a glistening drone are drawn into shimmering drone chime where disjointed processed spoken words of cryptic text by Jonas Gruska, are shadowed by vocal treatments, backward spinning tapes and snatches of random electronic wired-up noise. As abstract as the opener is Recognition Journal quickly finds its way into one of its more accessible moments in the form of the beguiling 'Pools of Tigers', blending the favoured electronic equipment with acoustic instruments. From a random mesh of tones and textures, it swells into acoustic and mandolin strum creating something akin to Pink Floyd melodic sunshine song. This is post-rock psychedelic pop, with Orgon's wistful high-pitched vocal tones, sounding like a pared down take on Sigur Ros's Jonsi, swooning over violin stabs, journeying through passages of melodic folk accordion before losing itself within lashings of improvised noise and electro-acoustic touches. Orgon clearly has a handle on pop construction, and 'Pools of Tigers', like the title track which comes later, are clear examples of his ability to craft stunning melodious pop-esque hooks.
'Pools of Tigers' is followed by 'Erasing Deep Set Habits' by far the most experimental track on Recognition Journal. Building from layers of foggy drones, squeaks and creaks, and rickety percussion it continuously bends and folds in on itself. It eventually succumbs to a harmonious atmo-drone, welcoming Orgon's pleasing vocal tones as they waft over soft bass movements, augmented by prog-electronic textures, swelling then disintegrating into a sustained wash, as if it was never there at all, almost.
Sandwiched between 'Locking Horns' and the closing track 'Chain Spine Chine' is the driving electro sequenced pulse of the title track. Sion Orgon's charming melodic tones capture a sense of yearning, as they soar over crashing guitar chords and chiming moog synths - marrying an eighties electro sound with traces of Bowie's Low, maybe. Naturally drones lurk underneath and somewhere in the midst of this is a violin and trumpet but I'm damned if I can detect them. It's another great song with an acute pop sensibility.
Over the sombre piano notes of 'Locking Horns' is the assured timbre of Thighpaulsandra intoning a series of abstract lyrics. Occasionally treated and multi-tracked his voice unexpectedly fades away leaving 'Locking Horns' to traverse through passages of flickering effects and electronic mulch, eventually springing into stabbing synths and rhythmic discord, kinda like 'Some Bitch Stole My Umbrella' from The Zsigmondy Experience with drum rolls jostling with wayward theremin wails before spiralling into a miasma of sprawling electronic sequences. Recognition Journal closes with the drone excursion of 'Chain Spine Chine' where an arcing woozy hum is interspersed with heavily processed panning.
Sion Orgon has been operating under the radar since his 2004 debut album Orgonised Chaos released on Experimental Seafood. Between working on a multitude of theatre, art and dance projects and collaborating with Thighpaulsandra, he's been crafting his intricate sound that shifts between experimental music and more accessible pop songs. Like The Zsigmondy Experience, Recognition Journal, which is currently only available on CD in an edition of a mere 300 copies, is well worth investigating. Great stuff and look out for the vinyl release with an accompanying CD-R which will follow soon. For more information go to Lumberton Trading Company or Sion Orgon's Bandcamp page
Sion Orgon - Locking Horns