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News |  29 Sep 2023 18:33 |  By RnMTeam

ORKA share highly anticipated sixth studio album 'All At Once'

MUMBAI: Francine Perry from London and Jens L. Thomsen from the Faroe Islands aka ORKA’s long awaited sixth studio All At Once is an immersive opus that embodies the duo’s distinctive blend of earthy tones and a bold, adventurous spirit. Over ten tracks we are taken to a uniquely ORKA realm bursting with neon-lit hues, pulsating club beats, and an abundance of sensory stimulation that embraces themes of duality, connection and their combined story as artists and performers.

Opening with lead single Bird, a track inspired by their industrial studio surroundings in South London and avian field recordings that never made the final cut, ORKA launch us into a ‘disjointed avant garde take on Gqom’ that blisters through bass and techno references. Complex and percussive, the duo enlisted long-time collaborators Will and Si from LV (Hyperdub, Keysound, Brownswood) to help finesse the final touches on Bird and a handful of others across the album.

Ambient interlude Millennium Green follows (the first of three with ‘Blythe Hill’ and ‘Catford Snow’ providing sonic sorbets later on in the record), before Gold is back to business with another slice of unrelenting futurist techno populated with urgent vocal samples.

Next up is the duo’s second single from All At Once, Mother taking on more reflective, headsy territory. Celebrating the club-experience as ‘womb-like’, it becomes its own nurturing world where enveloped in darkness we float to the reassuring throb of bass and kick. Drawing on feelings of connection, nostalgia and otherworldliness, Mother beguiles like a captivating rave fever dream.

All At Once is perhaps the closest to a ‘full blown dance record’ that the duo have ever made and tracks like Atlantic and Glory Dust give this in spades. Atlantic is spacey techno territory while Glory Dust is house adjacent with euphoric synth stabs and distorted vox that ensure the sonic landscape is always distinctly ORKA. This diverse use of vocal samples across the record - divided from their semiotic meanings and reconfigured as loops, mined for their timbral and percussive qualities - also remind us of the themes of human struggle and global unrest that inspired the piece and the social and political contexts that inform ORKA’s work more broadly.

As well as the dancier facets, All At Once encompasses plenty of moments of floating cyber beauty and pure enveloping warmth too. N176 is one of these - one of many South London referencing titles on the piece - we are taken on an atmospheric night ride, reaching near transcendence as it shimmers with sonic texture and detail. While Ser closes the album with brooding pensiveness, drawing from their maximalist industrial palette in muted but none-the-less arresting tones.

The collective result is ORKA’s own brand of queer erotic dance-floor mysticism, a shimmering futurist city of the night: collective, inclusive and alluring. All At Once signifies yet another remarkable leap forward in the duos’ artistic evolution, filled with unexpected twists and turns and as always, eternally captivating. A glorious and vibrant tapestry, we witness the merging of two exceptional artists in one compelling vision, mirrored in the album’s artwork by Kirstin Helgadóttir who combined the pair’s faces to create another figure that is both and neither at the same time.

Showcasing a bold approach to techno that pulsates with energy and forefronts their artistry as live performers, All At Once cements ORKA as one of the most captivating and urgent electronic acts around today. An unmissable record that brims with complex ideas and technical prowess, and a must-see experienced live at their launch show at Iklectik in London on the 5th of October.

ORKA say:

"We started playing music together nine years ago and played together live for a few years before we decided to start writing together. One of the core questions we have tried to answer from the beginning of our work relationship is “How do you perform electronic music?” We have from the start reflected on this question and over the years developed a way of arranging and playing electronic music that feels significant and meaningful to us. When we play live we play out everything that the audience hears on the spot which makes our shows quite intense. There is a lot at stake during our sets and we are extremely dependent on each other. If we mess up, you will notice.

When we started writing together this dependency affected our writing. We were both doing everything at the same time and had our hands in the other’s ideas and parts. We’re pretty sure that there isn’t a single sound on the album that we both didn’t touch or change at some point. We wrote the album over the course of four years which proved also to be momentous years globally; not only because of the pandemic but also because of local and international political conflicts and human rights struggles. And the album is about this, about all of the issues that affected us and how we dealt with living through these times. But most of all it’s about how we rely so much on each other that we work as one, as one entity. This is captured perfectly in the album artwork by Kirstin Helgadóttir. We took photos of our faces and Kirstin merged them into one fluid being which is both of us and neither of us at the same time. Our combined face somehow catches the full gender spectrum as well as the full colour spectrum and describes the maximalist, amalgamated milieu in which we created our new record aptly named All At Once."

Francine Perry from London and Jens L. Thomsen from the Faroe Islands aka ORKA first crossed paths in the vibrant club scene of London more than a decade ago and since have become one of the most revered underground techno acts in Europe. Twice nominated for the Nordic Council Music Prize as ORKA, they also have a string of accolades as individuals.

Francine is a Producer, Mix Engineer, and cofounder of the Omnii Collective, an organisation based in London that supports and empowers women, non-binary individuals, and trans sound enthusiasts. She was winner of an Oram Award in 2018, Music Producers Guild Rising Star Award in 2023 and is currently musical director on tour for Romy from The XX.

Jens boasts an impressive discography with credits on nearly a hundred releases. In 2022 he was Faroese Music Awards Producer of the Year, is an integral part of Yann Tiersen's live band, and his innovative sound art has been commissioned by esteemed institutions such as the Southbank Centre and the European Researcher's Night. Recently, he made history by creating the first-ever subsea tunnel soundscape for the Eysturoy tunnel.