Orla Wren

Moccasin Flowers

Moccasin Flowers sits on delicate, fertile ground. Soft, sensitive tones caress the rosy skin of the music, and light but magnificently deep textures slowly swirl around, caught up in the ether…

‘The Inside, The Outside, The Other’ has a soft incantation of a melody, but a fluctuating signal made up of a light, borderline-piercing pitch digs itself into the music and obstinately refuses to move. It lives here, too. Every sound is respected, and every sound has its place. A little, abrasive fluttering noise mingles with the lightly-scented drones, levitating like a dragonfly over a murky pond. A halfway point makes sure to dissect an electronic melody (on a side note, the melody constructs a rhythm as it progresses – very interesting) and the natural sound of a woodwind instrument, keeping them apart while paradoxically occupying the same space. A cello creeps in, and then saltier electronic textures rise up and take over the music. They all share this space peacefully – perhaps the music’s singing a lesson to our species. We have to make the effort to tune in, though.

Orla Wren’s music is a quietly pastoral way of life, heavily organic and all the healthier for it.

This is an untouched sanctuary. An old, wooden gate creaks as you open it, and the scattered pebbles lead to a secret churchyard. This part of the country is coloured by subtle hues, the rest of the spectrum drained by the softest of light. Through the trees, glowing fingers of light stretch out and seemingly point the way to an all-consuming and everlasting serenity deeper than peace itself. Treading lightly over small pebbles, the adorable tones lead quiet lives. Exuberant tones frequently overlap, building uneven, pyramidal structures that reach cruising altitudes as they fold over and over.

The strings of a guitar lose their typically harsh attack, and they change into soft petals as their definition melts away. The music’s illuminated by a warm, tranquil light. You never need to squint to look into it. Dozy and cosy, the atmosphere’s lax despite the many intricacies inside of it. It absorbs the last of the cherry light. Its fabric is intensely detailed, sequinned with a thousand patterns.

The synths that occasionally knock and then slowly sneak into the music are guardians that oversee and police the ambient tones. The music traces fine, fine lines. ‘A Woven Rope of Woven Hope’ blossoms like a late sun, and her chiming notes light upon the leaves, overflowing with adoration for the space they call home. The deeper, contemplative sound of the organ is well-utilised, and it soon comes into its own. It’s unfair to pick out a single track, but in this case the cathedral-wide and solemn tone really hits you hard. It makes you wonder just why it is that the organ isn’t used more in ambient music. As densely layered as a rainforest, the music pierces the heart.

Orla Wren’s output has always been of an exceptional standard, but Moccasin Flowers may just be the peak. Add to this the care and the astonishing attention to detail during the stages of recording and mastering, and with gentle, hand-made illustrations from Spanish artist and cellist Sara Galan, and you have a very fine record. Moccasin Flowers breathes openly, its well-shaped, physical form scented with perfume. And it’s clear that Orla Wren shares a special bond with the music; it flows from a secret, unknowable place, from soul to speaker. You can just feel it.


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