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LISTEN: New Orphx Archival Release
Christian Eede , March 7th, 2017 11:51

New release collects together early industrial techno experimentations from the trio

Orphx formed as a trio in late 1993 in the Canadian suburbs of Dundas, Ontario, taking influence from early industrial music as well as alternative sounds emerging from Japan and across Europe, and it's these early years in their life as a group that are forming the focus of a new archival release, which you can check out above.

This all manifested itself in their music, created in those early days from second-hand equipment in their basement studio known as The Pit, with much of the material seeing release across two cassettes in late 1993 and early 1994. Their work reached wider attention in the years to come, without one of their number, Aron West, through monthly concerts and tape-trading networks, while the Sonic Groove label has been bringing their music to the attention of techno fans across the world since 2009 via a series of vinyl releases.

Entitled Archive 1993/1994, this new archival record will see release via Mannequin Records and Hospital Productions. Across a double-LP or CD edition, the release includes 20 early tracks from the trio. It's out on Friday (March 10) and can be pre-order here, and you can listen to it in full above. Below, the group's Rich Oddie gives us an insight into those early years of Orphx.

"The three of us became friends in high school and we were all passionate about music. Christina [Sealey] and I were both into punk, synth pop and industrial, and we were beginning to discover techno through the rave scene in Toronto and Hamilton. Aron [West]'s tastes were rooted in thrash, grindcore, and death metal. We all shared an interest in early industrial music, second wave acts like Skinny Puppy and The Klinik, and the new forms of industrial music coming out of Japan and Europe at that time. The recent mix that I did for Electric Deluxe focuses on some of the music that inspired our earliest recordings.

"Christie and I had formed a shoegaze band in high school and we were starting to experiment more with synths and feedback. As that band dissolved, those experiments led into the early recordings for Orphx. In the summer of 1993, Aron and I started creating soundscapes and rhythms with a couple of synths and some pedals. Christie soon joined in, adding location recordings, film samples, and loops that she recorded on a reel to reel. We made a lot of the location recordings at the Bertram and Sons Foundry, a condemned industrial site that was in the center of town at that time. We released our first cassette, Orphx 01, in the fall of 1993 and we began meeting regularly to make improvised recordings in Aron’s basement. By this time, we’d acquired a bit more gear: a drum machine, a sampler, some sheet metal and power tools.

"A few months later, we met a group of fellow freaks called Sublimatus. They were a bit older than us and fiercely dedicated to making art and improvised music. This was a big inspiration for us. We began organizing concerts together and we started up a cassette label called Xcreteria that I managed. The second Orphx cassette, Orphx 02, was released on Xcreteria in April 1994. I edited this one out of a long improvisation that we recorded in late 1993. We also re-released the first cassette under the Xcreteria banner and began releasing music from Sublimatus and other local experimental artists. By late 1994, Aron had started a new project called Tropism that was inspired more directly by Japanese noise. The following year, he left Orphx to focus on Tropism and other projects but he has remained a close friend and has assisted us over all these years with technical advice and the documentation of live performances. In recent years, Aron and I have been collaborating again as Oureboros. He also contributed to the latest Orphx album and will be appearing on future releases."