Orchestra Solitaire, In A Land of One Color

orchsol_land In A Land of One Color is one of those albums I wish I liked more than I do because much of the work is quite good, but it’s also a little inconsistent. When it manages to pull me in, I really enjoy the ride. “Desire’s Last Plateau,” for example, works with a simple blend of bright, honest guitar picked and slid slowly over hushed pads. Small-kit drums, lightly played, pop a slice of jazzy percussion behind it. “Early Calm,” which follows, also catches me. There’s more slide guitar, long draws of it set against matching chords and a glimmer of wind chimes. But since it’s only 1:11 long, it’s gone before I can fully fall in. This release also has several places where the endings of songs feel a little arbitrary. “Coldlake” starts strong with a sort of dialed-down post-rock feel (and more of those chimes). A cool background textures gurgles quietly to deepen the space and then, short of 90 seconds in, it just goes away. “Stormwatch” also decides to leave the room at an odd spot, but at least it’s been given three and a half minutes to get there. But getting back to the good stuff, “Icelight” is perhaps the best track here. It builds quietly in bright, welcoming tones, then adds the shine of guitar and the warm sound of fretless bass. It’s an effortless flow that feels pleasantly longer than its actual run time. “Elusive Path” owes a slight debt of allegiance to Steven Halpern. The crystalline tones of the electric piano here are immediately recognizable, and I quite like the use of pauses on this piece, and the twirling phrases that spin off around the keys.

In A Land of One Color shows a lot of potential, but never fully engaged my attention. There’s interesting work here in spots, but between the lack of draw and those drop-offs (entirely a personal peeve, mind you), there’s too much on the minus side for me. Give it a listen and see what you think.

Available from CD Baby.

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