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iTunes Review

Orcas' murky and surprisingly emotive music isn't terribly removed from the minimalist ambience of The Sight Below, which is no surprise since half of Orcas is TSB’s Rafael Anton Irisarri. The other half is Benoît Pioulard (a.k.a. Thomas Meluch), with whom Irisarri has collaborated in the past. He's an artist also known for his ambient-washed atmospherics, though he works in more solid songforms. Meeting somewhere in the middle, their debut as Orcas bridges pop song structures (albeit fog-shrouded ones) and shadowy, electronic soundscapes with a delicate, precise touch that's utterly captivating. Songs like “Pallor Cedes” and “High Fences” use scratchy vinyl and static as backdrops for their slow and stately unfurling, with actual melodies and something like hooks embedded in the former while a hypnotic, barely discernable melody moves the latter. Pioulard’s gentle vocals and acoustic guitar bring an Iron & Wine sensibility to tunes like “Arrow Drawn,” and Irisarri’s hand is evident on dreamy, distant pieces like “Standard Error.” Their tribute to Broadcast’s late Trish Keenan is a moving, gorgeous cover of that band’s somber “Until Then.”


Genre: Alternative

Years Active: '10s

Orcas is a collaboration between Pacific Northwest-based sound-shapers Thomas Meluch and Rafael Anton Irisarri, both of whom are better known as Benoit Pioulard and the Sight Below, respectively. The pair blended their distinct yet harmonious approaches to songs equally inspired by electronic and ambient music on Orcas' self-titled debut album, which was released in 2012 by Morr Music and featured a cover of Broadcast's "Until Then," dedicated to that group's late singer Trish Keenan. For 2014's...
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Orcas, Orcas
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