Orcas is a band by haze-pop auteur Benoît Pioulard and post-minimalist composer Rafael Anton Irisarri (also known as The Sight Below). Theirs is a style deeply rooted in personal variations on songform and ambient craft, and as a duo they bridge the furthest outlying aspects of their previous solo work published on Kranky, Touch, Miasmah, Room40, and Ghostly International. On their debut album as Orcas song and abstraction become one entity. Rafael Anton Irisarri answered some questions about the Orcas.
How did you first meet and begin working together?
I was the co-curator for Seattle’s annual Decibel Festival, an electronic and digital arts festival. In 2009, I booked Benoît Pioulard. Following the show we kept in touch and began experimenting with guitar setups at my studio in Seattle a few months later, which eventually led to adding vocals and aiming for more ‘proper’ compositions – even though there is still a major improvisatory influence on the outcome. He would come and stay weeks at a time and we would record and hang out.
Which direction did you choose as the main direction of development of the Orcas project?
Orcas is all about contrasts, we incorporated lots of chiaroscuro elements with the melancholic, subdued energy of the American Pacific Northwest. Piano and electric guitar form the core of most songs’ instrumentation, although I would say we employed the studio as an instrument itself. Many elements were processed beyond recognition of their original form – a guitar can form the basis for a percussive pattern, or a bowed glockenspiel the source of a “trumpet” sound.
Do you already have any records?
We have a single out now, which you can download for free. The full album comes out in April thru Morr Music.
Also read an interview:
What are you work on now?
We are in the process of slating a European tour for the Spring and possibly early Summer. Hopefully we can make it out to Russia (promoters take note!).
What are the plans for the nearest future?
Music. 100% of the time.