Sound Impression: Miscellany by Origamibiro

This spring welcomes Origamibiro back from a hiatus that lasted nearly six years in the form of album that comprises a body of work amassed since the release of 2014’s warmly received Odham’s Standard. It also marks the project’s return to its origins as a primarily solo enterprise from Nottingham based composer & producer Thomas William Hill, though Hill is quick to point out that double bassist & multi-instrumentalist Andy Tytherleigh, who was part of its incarnation as an audio-visual trio, continues on as a strong collaborator.

The new collection is called Miscellany, a title which proves to be apt not because it sounds like an album stitched together from disparate works over a protracted period of time – quite the contrary I would argue – but because it is a word that captures the essence of Origamibiro’s eclectic modus operandi which is an “exploration into the tangible nature of everyday objects and textures both in and outside of the home”. Forest brambles, plastic toys, and the debris of demolished piano parts are just some of the objects that we are told are “repurposed for whatever sonic potential they offer up” alongside a diverse instrumental palette that includes viola da gamba, piano, zither, singing bowl, glockenspiel, drum machines and gongs.

Links: Bandcamp | Denovali | Origamibiro Store

What makes the album work so beautifully is that Hill does not just explore the sonic properties of sundry objects and instruments for the novelty of it, but more so it seems to discover the full range of their musicality. True, you may find yourself occasionally trying to suss out the origins of some of a particular sound or amused at the cleverness on display of playful tracks like “Zoo”, but Hill’s musical vision and skills as a composer ensures that everything together in a coherent and compelling way. The various sounds and textures are tightly woven into nimble rhythmic structures and fused with lush instrumentation, engaging melodies, and a friendly pastoral warmth that makes it a true pleasure to listen to. While Miscellany may encompass work compiled from Origamibiro’s past, it also appears to be opening up a new chapter for the project and that is an appealing prospect indeed.

Miscellany features artwork by Adrian Firth and is available from Denovali Records on CD and in two vinyl LP editions – black and clear red.

More by Origamibiro

“Tinder” from Odham’s Standard

Title track from Cracked Mirrors and Stopped Clocks

“Impressions of Footfall” from Shakkei