Release Date: Nov 10, 2017
Record label: Mexican Summer
As a solo artist, Gregg Kowalsky is known for creating sound installations involving site-specific arrangements of cassette players, as well as dark electro-acoustic drone works. His recordings on labels like Kranky, Root Strata, and Digitalis are often minimal but highly considered and nuanced, and while his 2006 debut, Through the Cardial Window, is bright and shimmering, his Tape Chants releases are bleaker and more ominous. L'Orange, L'Orange is far less conceptual than most of his solo work, and it ends up being much more relaxing and optimistic than his usual output.
You're in a mall, and early Christmas music ramps up your anxiety about the upcoming season. You grab a bite at your favorite café and see upsetting news pouring out of the television. Even your favorite jazz artist sounds less healing, kicking around more musical ideas than you've got room for in your mind, which would flash a "no vacancy" sign if it could.
Like magical realism, the key signifiers of ambience are invariably opaque: as a genre, it thrives on ambiguity, haze, distortion, the 'undecidable', the inversion of assumed values. Light, where permitted, may only be dusky or twilit, carved out in anaemic shards of an otherwise pitch-black or cobalt totality. It may not be bright or, heaven forbid, sunny.