Formed four years ago after a chance meeting at a gathering in Aachen, Germany, Orange and Mountains is a project which founders Edoardo De Din and Lorenzo Pesci describe as “a musical conversation between two musicians, sound designers, producers, and friends”. Of course there is no conversation without language, and in the short time they have been collaborating, the pair have already fashioned one that integrates organic instrumentation with synthesizers and electronics and incorporates their respective scientific backgrounds (one is a former biotechnology university researcher and the other an electrical engineer).
Following up their full-length debut Drawers (Rhodium Publishing) from last year, the band turns attention from the world of dreams to interpret the music of the prolific Italian Renaissance composer Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina who is credited as a major influence in the development of polyphony and counterpoint. The concept of their new EP is to translate five chosen Palestrina works into the Orange and Mountains ‘language’ using the Ptolemaic system, or ‘vision of the spheres’ as reference point. As the band notes, Palestrina lived during a time in which the transition to Copernican heliocentrism had begun but was not yet accepted by all astronomers. This confluences of science & music and the tension between antiquity and modernity is what drives Sphaerae.
Hearing Palestrina’s music recalled in us unmistakably a deep sense of (religious) peace, solemnity and mystery, which contrasts with our highly technological and science-based society. These mysterious feelings made us think to infinite vastness of the universe and the perfection of space.
In advance of the album’s summer release, here is an exclusive premiere of “Dum Aurora Finem Daret” (when dawn ends) in which Edoardo and Lorenzo adroitly fuse Palestrina’s classic melody lines and evocative Renaissance motifs with glassy synths, skittering percussion, guitars, and horns to create a foot-forward homage in their own unique style.
Sphaerae will be available in full beginning June 17. The band is also producing a documentary entitled “Sphaerae – a Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina Redesign”, which narrates the process that led from the rediscovery of Palestrina’s places to the composition of the new EP.