L'Orange, L'Orange marks ambient composer Gregg Kowalsky's first proper solo release in eight years. It also marks a shift in mood; where previous releases like Tape Chants (a dense drone experiment with cassettes) and debut Through the Cardial Window were borderline ominous, his latest record is a warm bath of light. According to Kowalsky's press release, this is a direct result of moving to Los Angeles, a sun-drenched city. So bright was this place that orange became the colour he started to "hear" when mixing the tracks for this album; hence the title.
It's something you can certainly hear and, indeed, feel throughout the record; you can almost sense the sun cresting the horizon and bursting through Kowalsky's windows, spilling onto his equipment and giving life to everything. "Maliblue Dream Sequence" comes off like something softly stirring from a deep hibernation, possibly like Kowalsky himself returning after such a long hiatus. Then, as if by magic, "Tuned to Monochrome" flutters with vitality, bringing to mind a butterfly flapping its wings in the first spring thaw. "Ritual Del Croix" on the other hand conjures something immense struggling to take flight, but which eventually stabilizes in perfect harmony with the surrounding clouds.
That's the thing about ambient music, though: with so much left open-ended, a lot of the creative onus is thrust upon the listener. It will take you where you yourself want to go, only with a little sunny nudge from Kowalsky this way and that. The route is very much unrestricted on L'Orange, L'Orange, but the tone is set, and it's clear skies ahead. (Mexican Summer)