After listening to the talents of Cloud, I’ve had a thirst for more atmospheric, heavy instrumental music.
Some stuff I’ve found sounded worse than that time you heard your folks shagging. Some of it has been pretty good but not quite exploring the heights I’d hoped for.
Into Orbit contacted me saying I could download their stuff, for free, from Bandcamp, so I thought I’d give it a listen. What do I have to lose other than time? (My precious, precious time)
What I can undoubtedly say is they hit the spot for me with their brand of epic, atmospheric sound scapes. Bringing together ambience and heavyness as though they should have always been married. This music takes you places.
Into Orbit are but two men, Paul Stewart on guitar and Ian Moir on drums. Their hometown is Wellington in New Zealand. Moir said “We’ve played in a few different bands together over the past 10 years, mostly metal stuff. This band came about when we decided to have a casual jam with just the two of us about three years ago. Paul had just bought himself a loop pedal, he was playing around with that and I was jamming along on the drums. It all felt pretty organic and songs just started kinda flowing out of the jams. We realised that, with Paul’s loop pedal and plethora of other effects we could create a full band sound with just the two of us. We decided to stick to that because we were finding the creative process so smooth with the two of us and didn’t want to jeopardise it by adding someone else”
Bringing together ambience and heavyness as though they should always have been married. This music takes you places
Their music it is at times light, serene, full of resonance, warm and comforting, and in the same track it can become heavy, aggresive, dark and at time mechanical, deranged.
Within the compositions, there are well thought out layers of sound that keep you alert and involved in the music. Stewart uses effects to create broad soundscapes and Moir’s drum work is at times inspired and always well performed. Their ability to compose thoughtful and interesting music completes the package.
They are not members of a particular scene in New Zealand, but this suits them. Drummer, Moir told me “New Zealand is a small place. There are some great bands, and there are scenes, but I’m not sure where we fit into it, and to be honest we don’t want to be part of a scene, we just want to play with great and interesting, different bands. Some of our favorite local bands to play with over the past year have been really stylistically diverse, experimental, alt-rock, post-rock, punk, doom, funk, country-drone, extreme metal. Our fans seem to be really diverse, they don’t come from one place musically”.
And you can see why they are appreciated by a wide ranging audience. They identify themselves as experimental rock, which is quite fitting but theres a lot of rock ground covered, with metal, prog, ambient and drone all thrown in. So often you read bands associating themselves with an abundance of genres and when you listen you’re scratching your head digging around for the metal element they said they had. For Into Orbit, the multitude of references is completely relevant.
“New Zealand is a small place…and there are scenes, but I’m not sure where we fit into it, and to be honest we don’t want to be part of a scene, we just want to play with great and interesting, different bands”.
There was a great soundtrack released in 1984, written by Mark Knopfler, for a film called Cal. It was ever present in my household growing up thanks to the eclectic taste of my step father. Listening to Into Orbit envokes happy memories of listening to Cal in my youth. Whilst stylistically completely different, Into Orbit’s compositions hold the same ability to paint a picture and portray an atmosphere through sound. Their music, especially the excellent album, Caverns, is like a soundtrack to an epic, unwritten film.
If you let it, it can make the imagination run wild. When listening I envisage floating over stunning rural scenes, and then epic battles full of passion and bloodlust. (can someone recommend a psychiatrist?)
There’s songs that inspire thoughts of adventures and danger, one being the excellent Gilgamesh their newest track described bt the band as an “enigma” spawned from a jamming session.
When listening I envisage floating over stunning rural scenes, and then epic battles full of passion and bloodlust.
They take you on a journey while listening, but non of this is by design. Moir says, “The music tends to happen in the moment, before any thematic ideas come into it, I guess at that point it’s about following an undefined ‘feeling’ of where the song is going. The themes come into it when a song is finished and we take a step back from it and think about song titles and artwork to fit the vibe, which explore those kinds of themes”.
I couldn’t begin to envisage how Into Orbit came across live before learning about Stewart’s loop pedal, Moir explains; ” Paul’s loop pedal is basically our ‘third member’. Paul lays down the layers of guitar loops live on stage, and I do my best to stay in time with it! You might notice on our releases, that multiple guitar parts don’t (come) in at once, but one layer at a time. I guess it’s a limitation in being a loop pedal duo, but it’s also helped define our style”.
Whilst Moir describes the limitations of the loop pedal, as a listener you may feel it adds to the build up of the compositions, creating a progressive feel. The fact it is recorded in this manner must also add an authenticity to live performances that are played and built up in the same way.
Into Orbit are working on a new album, hopefully to be released this year. When I asked about it’s progress I was told, “6 months ago I would have said it was about 6 months away from completion, but we’re constantly changing our minds about parts, and about which songs to include on the album. . . Our writing/arranging process involves a lot of experimentation, sometimes it takes a while to hit on something we’re 100% happy with, and it’s pretty hard to predict when we’ll get to that point.”
It’s refreshing to know that putting out the right material, that which best reflects the band’s development and direction is paramount over purely getting something out.
Whilst we eagerly await this release why don’t you head to Bandcamp and download their back catalogue. Sit in a dark room, put on your headphones and enjoy a bit of impressive creativity and above all, amazing music.