Orca Minor is the solo recording project of New York-based Zach Callouri, who describes his music as “a groove-based synthesis of alternative rock, soul, and neo-soul influences.” This 3-track self-titled EP is his first release, or at least the first thing I can find anywhere on the Internet. It came out on January 20 of this year, and it is sexy. Keep readin’.
There ain’t no living, living without you
“Mist” is a hazy, side-swiping number with romantic inclinations and questionable intentions. It opens with the crackling of a mic, a guitar harmonic, and some bass noodling before the vocal hook is slapped down right in the center of the production picture. A funky bassline and plucky guitar riff accompany Zach’s self-harmonizing love cries, a pleasant combination for sure. The instrumentals slowly build into a chaotic, noisy breakdown that involves some hectic synth tones (I think?) and a twangy, 70s-rock-sort-of guitar solo. “Ooh, the mist settles” sings Zach – the production quality is a little low towards the end of the track (the kick drum is boomy, it’s been unmastered the whole way through) but somehow it’s just more endearing because of this. Mistier.
The beginning of “Espionage” is a bleak, swirly, fucked ambient introduction that recalls the likes of Massive Attack and FKA Twigs, which is pretty impressive for an EP which seemed at first glance to be mostly an instrumental (i.e. not very electronic) release. This track moves beyond the moniker of ‘future soul’ (or neo-soul, like Zach himself said) and is somewhere closer to triphop sonic endeavors. The whole thing is sort of atonal, with hushed spoken-word parts laid out carefully over steamy guitar licks and a drum track so simple that it’s difficult to tell whether it’s a real kit or an 808.
“Honest Love” brings us back to the lovey-dovey simplistic lyrics (“honest love, baby / why don’t you try some?”); these lyrics aren’t the scriptural epics of Joanna Newsom, but that’s not exactly what’s expected in R&B/soul music anyway (think about Hiatus Kaiyote: “I love you, I do” makes up a whole chorus). It’s cool to hear him have fun at the end of the EP, and to have a long played-out jam, but in moving forward with the project I hope to hear many more tracks like “Espionage” over tracks like this one. “Honest Love” fulfills a lot of listener expectations, but if I was looking to have my expectations fulfilled I’d just go listen to Hiatus Kaiyote or D’Angelo or something. “Espionage” is undeniably authentic and original. I’m sure you know yourself well though, listener.
All in all, the Orca Minor EP is a worthy candidate for the use of the next 11 minutes of your life. Looking forward to hearing lengthy, varied neo-soul excursions from Orca Minor soon. I’m out.