The Art of Oryx First Book of Sound

This German quintet have made the strange discovery of romance clenched deep in the heart of electro acoustic music. On their first full-length, they massage the boundaries between the straight reporting of field recordings and heart strung jazz to roundly tell a seaside story. To this already potent mix they plant timely explosions of rock energy that hint at kinship with ’70s prog rock. The jazz elements themselves are fairly muscular, with leaders Thomas Büchel and Willem Van Dijk carving out paths with guitar, bass and keyboards. All these moving parts collide on "Timeline,” featuring guest vocals by Iris Romen; it’s a track that veers from damp eyed lament to an arrow of percussion shot through the heart of sentimentality. On "Variations/Gold And What’s Gleaming,” the band’s free flying brass and woodwinds, and Büchel’s raspy Waits-like narration further blend the signifiers. Far from shooting off in all directions, First Book of Sound ebbs and retreats from a jutting shoreline that anchors everything. (Berlin-Moves)