Gig Review: Ela Orleans, CCA, Glasgow – June 27th, 2015

Entrancing, cinematic and creative are just some of the words that we would use to describe Ela Orlean’s performance at the CCA on Saturday night.

“movies for ears” is how Ela describes her own music on her web site and that is a very apt description.

James Grant was playing King Tuts on the same evening, which might explain the relatively modest crowd of around 75-100 who were at the CCA, but then again Ela is doing something quite different whereas James no doubt played an excellent set of well-established numbers as he always does.

For those not familiar with Ela, here is her own biography taken from her web site:

Ela Orleans (HB Recordings, Parental Guidance) is a Polish musician now based in Glasgow, UK.

She was a member of pop collagists Hassle Hound, has played with various luminaries of the New York experimental and noise scenes and is a composer for the screen and theatre.

Over the course of Orleans’ music career, her tagline and brief description for her music has always been “Movies for Ears”.

In the work Orleans pushes her pastoral pop roots into more cinematic terrain, experimenting with carefully considered sound art segments, complex electronic textures and orchestral flourishes. She has a number of solo recordings and numerous collaborative releases on labels such as All Saints Records, Warp, Parental Guidance, La Station Radar, Night People, Clan Destine Records, Twisted Nerve and Staubgold.

In December 2014 she finished work on her upcoming LP with Howie B – the musician and producer, who has worked with artists including: Björk, U2, Robbie Robertson, Elisa, Tricky, Mukul Deora and The Gift. The “Upper Hell” LP is due out on April 27th 2015 on HB Recordings

Orleans utilizes instruments, electronics and her softly spun vocal to make some of the finest echo-drenched ’60s chamber pop around.

Her ability to flip sound into more panoramic symphonic expanses is deeply uncanny and the perfect counterbalance for her breezy, baroque-flavored moments. During her career she released “High Moon Low Sun” CD, 2008, “Lost” LP, 2009 “Mars Is Heaven” LP, 2011, “NEO PI-R” LP, 2011 and “Tumult in Clouds”, 2LP, 2012. She also released a split LP “Double Feature” with Dirty Beaches (Night People and La Station Radar) as well as contributed to the four way split LP “Statement” with Slim Twig, Dirty Beaches and U.S Girls. She has played with Dirty Beaches, Lee Renaldo, Magic Markers, Julia Holter, Space Lady, Lower Dens, Vaselines, The Pastels, Baby Dee, Quintron, The KVB, Le Volume Courbe, Remember Remember, Jackie O Motherfucker, The Pheromoans, and many others.

The upcoming LP referred to is “Upper Hell” which was released in April by HB Recordings and we can certainly recommend the vinyl version…as you can never have enough vinyl.

Ela Orleans Upper Hell

“Upper Hell” dominated the set and the audience were transfixed by the cinematic images on the rear projection screen behind the stage as Ela tweaked and turned the controls of her various loop machines and synthesiser.  Performing in the dark cavern-like CCA room on the first floor – which did much to enhance the experience – visually Ela herself does not hold the gaze of her audience, but the multimedia presentation of her music combined with her images really does work live and we will certainly be back to see her again.

Ela’s technique of using loops reminded us of that unique Falkirk musician, who is also a film-maker, Adam Stafford, although whilst Adam’s work is very much centred around his own guitar playing, keyboards dominate Ela’s work.

Ela has quite an extensive back catalogue, although it is interesting to note that almost all previous recordings have been sold out so you will need to search for those used copies people.

Excellent gig and our concerns about how Ela’s fine recordings would translate in to a live stage were unfounded.

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