Since forming in the West Yorkshire town of Halifax, over a decade ago whilst still in their early teens, the Orielles have journeyed from lo-fi DIY indie origins (Silver Dollar Moment, Heavenly Recordings 2018) to Stereolab and A Certain Ratio inspired avant-pop (Disco Volador, Heavenly Recordings 2020), even directing and scoring their own experimental film (La Vita Olistica, 2021).
Now, with new album Tableau (Heavenly Recordings, 2022), the Orielles have created their first genuinely contemporary record – an experimental double album self-produced in collaboration with producer Joel Anthony Patchett (King Krule, Tim Burgess). In doing so, the Orielles have utilised holistic jazz practices, oblique 21st century electronica, experimental 1960s tape loop methods, otherworldly AutoTuned vocal sounds, the downer dub of Burial, Sonic Youth’s focus on improvisation and feedback, and Brian Eno’s legendary Oblique Strategy cards.
At the end of 2020, the Orielles – vocalist and bassist Esmé Hand-Halford, drummer Sidonie Hand-Halford and guitarist Henry Carlyle-Wade – regrouped to rehearse in Manchester, the city that the band have made their home across the last five years. When all of the band’s live dates to promote their second album were scrapped due to the pandemic, the group instead spent 2020 creating La Vita Olistica, a high-concept art film directed and written by the Hand-Halford sisters which they toured in cinemas across the following year.
“When we’ve talked about being influenced by film, people think we mean directors but it’s not that at all” explains Esmé, “it’s about trying to make those ebbs, and flows, and creating tension.” Ideas from scoring that film was beginning to filter into the band’s rehearsals – this would be the beginning of a series of creative breakthroughs that would result in Tableau.
One such breakthrough came when the Orielles were booked to host a monthly show on Soho Radio. Broadcasts quickly became impromptu research and development sessions for the ideas that would feed into the album.