Good music comes in many forms. Great music is less frequent and more memorable & emotive. Cartographer/Explorer, the second album from Seattle based duo Ormonde sits squarely in the latter category.
Anna-Lynne Williams and Robert Gomez are the individuals that make up Ormonde, and together they’ve created a collection of songs that evoke feelings such as peace, fear and romance.
Sonically speaking, the instrumentation and production of Gomez is spot on. Layers are introduced, repeated and removed with precision and delicacy. If it wasn’t for the emotion present in each track would be tempted to say that it’s surgical in nature.
Opening track Beach is melancholic, with funereal touches, especially from the organ, but never strays into the territory of being a dirge. Williams’ vocals add an ethereal feel to lull you into a dreamlike state. Following this is A Grand Design which showcases the additional talents of Gomez – his vocals. At first listen I thought that Paul Banks of Interpol had popped up, as they sound just like him at his most pining. The sparse instrumentation suit Gomez’s vocal, with the double tracking adding a slightly discordant and sinister vibe.
One particular highlight is the almost eponymous fifth track Explorer/Cartographer. The vocals are shared by Williams and Gomez over intertwined choruses, which are underpinned by a melodic wave of a repeated guitar riff itself supported by beats and electronics. As a centrepiece it performs magnificently.
Magnificent is one word to describe the whole of Cartographer/Explorer. There are others I could use, but I’ll just leave it at that.
Cartographer/Explorer by Ormonde is out now on Gizeh Records