by Zoe Kosovic-Rios
Orgone: California Soul is Here to Stay
To be timeless is to be impervious to the relentless, infinite stream of change that shapes the contextual reality of mere mortals.
The difference between something that is timeless and something that is classic is that the classics are artifacts that reflect a specific moment in time and lay the basis for what is to evolve, while the timeless remain universally relevant.
In Orgone’s 2015 album release “Beyond the Sun,” the themes— and the feelings they evoke — are truly universal and the sounds cannot be relegated to a particular era because they are an amalgamation of everything great about soul music hand-picked, blended, and lovingly cooked into an original creation.
This is music of yesterday, today, tomorrow, and of everyone.
Orgone, and particularly “Beyond the Sun”, is timeless. The word “orgone” came from the psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich to describe the universal life force energy and it’s clear that this band has harnessed it and then unleashed it in this album.
Soul music makes us feel, it makes us move, if we slow down enough it makes us think, and when we connect to its essence, it unites us.
Pain, longing, confusion, frustration, love, ecstasy are turned inside out and shown to us in a more digestible form so we can feel that we are all connected in our humanity while celebrating our individual experiences.
Dance creates a similar effect and when soul music meets dance, the result can be transformative. Or at least sweaty and damn delicious.
The essence of soul music declares our power while crying for our lack of control; a foot stomps the earth while the voice screams heavenward, at once a celebration and a plea for release.
It’s tempting to label this album as funk music, but I ask you to please have trust and follow me a little further down the musicological rabbit hole before you land there.
Originally, the term “funk” in a musical context referred to songs sonically conveying that tasty sexual scent that makes your heartbeat quicken and your bone marrow quiver.
The word has evolved to host a range of meanings like something that’s offbeat and stylish; something kinda nasty, undeniably compelling, and wholly satisfying. Because funk music has become so closely associated with the music of the early 70s through the mid-80s, I would like to propose that we simply call it soul music.
Maybe it doesn’t carry the same weight as “funk” does in terms of effectively communicating the chunky “wah” guitar sound (compliments of Sergio Rios), punchy fluidity of the organ (Dan Hastie), and the searing, roaring female vocals (Adryon de Leon), but when we explore the idea of what it means to have “soul,” I hope you’ll agree that it’s a much more apt descriptor for this album.
Having soul is to be fearless, vulnerable, unapologetically unique, sensitive, strong, honest, and deeply stirring. The reason why we can sense and appreciate that quality of soul is that we all possess it — it’s organic — but it takes the force of will to own it, refine it, and present it to the world.
“Beyond the Sun” has soul, specifically California soul as the band hails from the timeless city of Los Angeles. So, I say that this is more of a soul album than a funk album because it reaches down through the aspect of sexual desire into the primal realm of aliveness.
Lofty meanderings aside, what you’ll find in “Beyond the Sun” are tracks covered with New Orleans swamp sludge like “No Pain”, playful garage gospel in “Don’t Push Your Luck” and “Down, Down, Down”, irresistible dance floor lamentation in “Losin’ You”, deep disco glitter in “Take You Higher”, late-night introspection in “Picture on My Wall” and “People Beyond the Sun”, raw stomp in “Meat Machine”, and the best of Afro-disco in their cover of “Sabi”… and their cover of Rufus’s “I’m a Woman” might just put some starch in your spine.
The band’s sound, which has got that raw analog warmth, is so dialed in that you get the feeling that the musicians are not simply studied in soul music, but they are living it.
Great music connects you to yourself, the world, and the greater picture. But most importantly, it makes you smile and dance, so treat yourself.
No doubt you deserve it.
About the Author:
Zoe Kosovic-Rios is a healing artist with a private therapeutic massage practice, writer, music producer, wine consultant, and co-founder of The Get, a burgeoning independent music label in Los Angeles. She doesn’t believe in “boring,” neither in her own life, nor in the lives of others. Rather, she finds fascination in the minute details of life which we might take for granted, and richness in the subtle nuances of experience. Zoe is a strong proponent of letting the juices run down your chin, making glorious messes, and, as her Mama taught her, falling ass-backwards into the best things in life. You can learn more about her healing practice at zkbodywork.com and her muckings-about in music at barnapkinreview.com
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