Occasionally, you come across a song or parts of a song that not only give your ears, mind or body a reaction, but also make your soul jump up and feel high. Joy Orbison delivers just that with his latest EP, “The Shrew Would Have Cushioned The Blow.”
Peter O’Grady – known to the clubbing intelligentsia as Joy Orbison – burst onto the scene in 2009 with the ubiquitous “Hyph Mngo” (which, in addition to being one of the tracks of the year, can also be pronounced in any of 32 different ways).
Both “The Shrew” and “So Derobe” feature lush genre-bending soundscapes of skittering riddims, atmospheric synths, and of course, heavy bass backdrops that keep Joy Orbison relevant in the bass music underground.
Both tracks feature vocal samples that are chopped up, looped, and used prominently as yet another piece of instrumentation, a technique also favoured by other boundary pushers like Burial and Four Tet. It’s the melodic, almost chorus-like vocal sample in “So Derobe” that lifts me off the ground and high above the clouds. In “The Shrew,” it’s the final third of the track when everything gets stripped down to melodic synth and drumbeats, later followed by a non-intrusive bassline and vocal snippet that still lets the melody of the synth ring true. Powerful, high-inducing stuff.
Also included is an Actress remix of the title track, a tension-building, glitchy, minimal number. Drop it right before a big, bass-heavy banger and you’re set to take over the dancefloor.
Already off to a solid start for 2010, Joy Orbison is undoubtedly one to continue watching. Believe the hype.
Review: Helen Luu