L’Orange- The Orchid Days
“You would remember her. Your second person. You’d count blessings and beating hearts and follow lifelines like callused palm readers. You’d trust in the earth beneath you. You’d trust in the stars we’re made of. But then. It came and chose. When time was measured in heartbeats per minute, you found warmth. Darkness crept in. The sun started to fade and the starlit night began to dissolve. And, even as the sky went dim and the world fell apart, you impressed the earth. Those were The Orchid Days.”
Imagine, with the help of The Orchid Days’ opening narration, the sounds of love in all its treacherous and discontent territories. Feel optimism and free-falling romance fall through dystopia’s invisible doorway. It’s something of a “love story set at the end of the world” says L’Orange, the North Carolina producer behind Mello Music Group’s latest instrumental (with exceptions) release. 19 tracks largely composed of dream-state chopping and 1950’s gender banter soundbites define L’Orange’s cinematic style, though the distinct mood of his productions is what truly feats the claim. In an interview with AllHipHop, he acknowledges the buzz: “I think what we mean when we say something is ‘cinematic’ is that it creates an environment. It creates a world. If that’s what people mean then that’s as big of a compliment as I can get, because that’s exactly what I set out to do.”
Most songs hover on or below the 2 minute mark. Flipping fast like pop culture meshes moments into trends and seasons, tracks on The Orchid Days roll into a concept album. The camp and wit of L’Orange’s sample selections imply that he lives with a mind half indulgent in the innocence of the mid-century nuclear romance, or he’s just entirely cynical. He has either been caught by romance’s floral visage, or he’s become so aware of love’s temporary tendencies that a twirl of hyper-romantic honeymoon irony is combustion’s last coping resort.
If the samples lured us in, we’re definitely staying for the beats. Vintage, nostalgic and weighted with stoned lounge tempos, most songs have an irregular, thick-filtered quality, and according to L’Orange that’s kind of the point: “I don’t like things that are perfect. It’s not a good refection of feeling, because feelings are imperfect.”
All the while, the best tracks on The Orchid Days are the ones that feature MCs. L’Orange proves how well he collides with all types of flow. The album features Blu (Sire), Homeboy Sandman (Stones Throw Records), Jeremiah Jae (Brainfeeder), Billy Woods (Backwoodz Studioz) and longtime vocal collaborator Erica Lane. “Mind vs Matter” is a favorite, boasting a weary nightclub sax over Sandman’s lux and lock story flow. Hips swingin— does sexier hip hop exist? Jae’s verses lament over an anguished broken record on “Love Letter,” and Blu storms over an uneasy twist of piano blues on “Need You.”
Fun like Wax Tailor, theatrical like Gorillaz and as sad as any state you’re currently in- The Orchid Days is smooth and perfect for both your summer love and sunny, impossible ache. Stream, share and buy below: