Ela Orleans - Tumult In Clouds

15 February, 2014

By Alexia Natalia


I first heard Tumult in Clouds a few weeks ago (thank you, C. Mike) and was mesmerized by it. Before writing a review, I wanted to listen to it for hours and hours, days and days, just so I could find the words to capture what it is that she does so well.  


Ela Orleans is Polish, but her music is international. She was immersed in the New York underground and alternative music scene, but now lives in Glasgow. Like many musicians in the electronic, lo-fi genre, she is not eager to put her own voice in her creations, even though we do hear her in some, like in the recitation of a James Fenton poem in This Is and Light At Dawn. I listen to the tracks and I feel more like entering a dream, or a museum booth of the imaginative and the fantastic, and it even takes me back to the first electronic albums that were recorded in the 30's. What is more, she uses recorded voice samples and fuzzy, squeaky, synthesized melodies in a very original way. From a mixture of radio sounds from a bygone era and barytone voices seemingly coming out of American 50's television shows in All Men, to literary, poetic narrations in Risky Trip to the Underworldand meditative, celestial loops in Rolling Waters, her music makes me picture dots, bubbles, black and white photographs, faded film, medieval book illustrations, hazy colors and snowy television images. Yet, that's not all to it. As the album unfolds, one finds himself barely able to place a label on it. It's pop, ambient, old, new, lo-fi, psychedelic, and magnificently poetic. 


Some tracks feel more like interludes than actual songs, like Clangers in the Night and Living in the Wreck but then she couples those with shyly grand, melodious, dark, soothing and goose-bumpy tracks, like Dark Wood and Rolling Waters, and takes breaths away. Another characteristic of her music is that it doesn't limit itself to structure nor roundness. There is no beginning nor end, and no clear narrative, even though the LP is inspired by literature and poetry (such as an Aleister Crowley poem in A Jealous Lover). There is a lingering atmosphere of both decay and hope, the galaxy, planets, milkyways and black holes in it. 


But what I love most about this album is that she never gets superficial, and never too obvious. It's a journey into the mysterious. 



Primary Genre: Electronic


Secondary Genre: Lo-fi, dream pop, psych


Release Date: 12th December 2012


Label: Clan Destine Records


Like This And You'll Probably Also Like:  Dirty Beaches, Tropic of Capricorn, Die Jungen, Sore Eros


Album Highlights:  This Is, Rolling Waters, Risky Trip to the Underworld







Tumult In Clouds



Contributor mini-profile

Alexia Natalia

Alexia Natalia

3 Fluffy Reviews
"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are"
Mini bio

Assistant editor for an American magazine, African continent freak, social (or rather, sexual) anthropologist, part photographer and part writer. I love music in ways I can't really express in words. But I try. 

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