Polish-born, Glasgow-based composer Ela Orleans writes self-styled “movies for ears”, which is such a judicious description of her aural collage of cool looped vocals, lo-fi keyboards, guitar, samples and effects that she has named her new retrospective compilation thus.
CCA, Glasgow ****
From her modest sedentary set-up at this album launch gig, Orleans conjured diverse soundworlds, complemented by her own cut-and-paste visuals, featuring Orleans in slow motion or suspended animation, or immersive archive film stock.
Her echoey vocals over a synthetic syncopated beat evoked Come Dancing (the non-celebrity version) meets haunted dancehall by the hall of mirrors at the end of the pier. A groovy go-go number was followed by a beatific lamentation and then a limber motoric rhythm.
This was a hypnotic sensory feast without overloading the synapses. There was also space for a true retrospective treat – the first song Orleans ever wrote. “It’s long,” she cautioned, though the rudimentary but engaging track did not outstay its welcome.
There was entertaining support from Apostille, aka her label boss at Night School Records, Michael Kasparis of Franz Ferdinand “come and dance with me Michael” celebrity.
Kasparis certainly knows how to cut a rug with unfettered style, coming across like Future Islands’ flailing frontman Samuel T Herring with a far more agreeable soundtrack of playful analogue electronica and an impressive malleable vocal, which he deftly switched from a croon to a scream during impish a capella portions where his absent bass player would normally fill in.