Orchard is a quartet of Aidan Baker (Nadja, Caudal, B/B/S/ - guitars), Gaspar Claus (Pedro Soler, Angélique Ionatos - cello), Franck Laurino (Zéro – drums), & Maxime Tisserand (Chapelier Fou – woodwinds). Assembled by Ici d'ailleurs label boss Stephane Gregoire, the group came together in the studio in Nancy, France in October 2016.
The musicians had never played together before, which might explain why the album takes its time to find its drive. The opening track, 'A Day, Staring At Eternity' is a long stretched piece of ambient and drones. It's a gentle track, flirting with elements from modern classical music and jazz experimentalism. 'Drawn With The Wind' brings in the drums and from then on we're slowly being lured into an immersive space/krautrock anthem. The band seems to find its drive. By now, I'm convinced that this will be a highly recommended album, but I already expected it to be.
The third track, 'After All The Sun Is Awakening' follows it predecessor's example but you can feel that the band is a coherent and well attuned group by now. Still roaming around jazz, krautrock, ambient and space rock, things are now turning into something that can best be compared with Caudal. This is definitely my favorite track on this album and then there are two more to come, two shorter ones,.'Fructification' and the jazzy 'We Host You'.
In all, this is a very successful experiment and an interesting album. It contains plenty of variation, even though the overall overtone is calm and gentle. Needless to say perhaps, but this one comes highly recommended. I'm sure that many - if not all - of these tracks often appear in my day-to-day playlist from now on.