Artist: Derek Andrew Orford
Derek Andrew Orford is a veteran Toronto composer who has been collaborating with various associates since the early 80s (in more recent years he’s been a member of Kevin Hearn’s Thin Buckle ensemble); most often he’s a solo recording artist and composer. In his own work as a one-man act and restless musical auteur, Orford mines ambient, electronica, progressive rock and whole realms of music I can’t even put a name to. I met the musician socially way back when, and took him for a disciplined guitarist with a penchant for alternate tunings and exotic treatments. Certainly that’s a huge part of his background but Orford's not one to put much stock in facile labels or categorization. On Plagiarist, there’s nary a guitar anywhere - it’s all keyboard. This minimal yet evocative song is a few years old; Orford recently told me he’s thinking of adding some guitar and vocals - meanwhile it stands handily on its own as a vivid instrumental.
Plagiarist creeps up on your ears with a certain low-slung, reverberating stealth conveying subtle menace. Bit by bit its various nuanced layers arise and lock into place as the song blooms into a sparkling soundscape of exotic spaces and intervals swaying over a sinister foundation. Around 1:48 the song kicks into what I've come to feel as its grand melodic refrain - the sounding of a crucial theme, heraldic in its intensity, even as the note progressions revel in a kind of fiercely ecstatic elasticity. In my mind, it’s a bracing call to arms, or an alarm declaring the inevitable coming of some unimaginable calamity. That a single song could summon up all these conflicting notions and emotions is part and parcel of Plagiarist’s compelling essence.