ORQID- Tenderness - Disco Couture

Pacific Northwest producer and musician [and co-founder of Seattle-based synthesizer store, Patchwerks] Tom Butcher’s latest project ORQID’s debut album Tenderness is a decadent mille-feuille of ambient pop that arranges layers of gorgeous, silky vintage synthesizers and electronic/techno-oriented textures. The excellent six-track release [packaged as beautiful and moody pink and periwinkle vinyl] begins with the titular “Tenderness,” a liquid and smoothly elegant ode to vulnerability and open-heartedness. Butcher’s voice is smoky and hushed, leading the listener through an R&B-shaped landscape. “Our Love” pastiches the 70s and 80s all the while maintaining its own identity with a dynamic bass line and percussion whose undulating contours feel like the open road. The remaining four songs are spacious instrumentals that move more towards the cinematic in scope and theme. The hypnotic “Ritual” is meditative and reflective with a steady drone and clear, quick passes of synth that are as sharp and illuminating as insight. “Melting Heart” fittingly employs a systolic pulsating bass as synths swirl, bounce, divide, and converge. “Analytica” is alive and teeming with warm sweeps and insect-like chatter. The closing track “Civilizations” is an existential fever-dream that feels epic. Overall, Tenderness is a senusal and decadent soundtrack to longing, desire, hope, and life. - Em Maslich