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Whilst the rest of the world was devouring the Christmas turkey, Orange Black were busy in the studio recording the first song of their third album. In the intense months that followed, heavy commuting occurred between the computer and other electronic devices at home and the recording studio. They were given quite a few helping hands by Arne Van Petegem, who under the name of Styrofoam releases records on the Morr Music label. He also recently finished touring with The Notwist, both as supporting act and as temporary band member. In the meantime Jan De Ryck was there to steer the whole thing in the right direction. (Jan De Ryck is also sound engineer for Mauro Pawlowski and Zap Mama)

But now the new record is finished. It sounds sophisticated and layered, but still retains a pop quality . It comprises elements from the sixties and the eighties, but also continues on the same course of the debut album “It’s Electric” (1997) and of follow-up “Bright Lights” (1999). The characteristic SST/Lintfabriek sound is somewhat dampened through the use of electronic sounds and catchy, yet refined pop touches. The sound of “Morning Notes” kind of situates between the ultramodern pop of The Notwist and Phoenix and the Americana of The Byrds and Neil Young. Occasionally we can also hear a cross between Coldplay and Supergrass, between Lambchop and Calexico or between The Undertones and Ride.

“Morning Notes” is a two-edged record. On the one hand it deals with a large number of delicate songs, sometimes almost to the point of eerie, such as “Golden Years” and “(We’ve lost) Gravity”. The rest of the album is taken up by mid-tempo, groovy guitar tracks (e.g. “Dream Team” and “Sunspots”), which through carefully added electronics sound a lot more sophisticated than previous Orange Black material. Take, for instance, the first single “Rush” with its paradoxical chorus “waste of time is a golden opportunity”: This song is packed with catchy chilling-out gone berserk; “you can’t relax ‘cause you don’t know what to do” could be the creed of anyone who is a sucker for vitality.

Dieter (vocals, guitar) was playing with the idea of “taking it easy”, but was instead beavering away sixteen hours a day in an attempt to integrate the electronics as top-notch as possible into the sound of the band. Micha (drums) was having mixed feelings about the plastic side of society, decided to keep it real and shifted down to soul and funk. Freek (bass) remained his own cool self. Aldo (guitar) was combining the recording of “Morning Notes” with a full-time commitment to Millionaire and was ultimately forced to make a harsh decision.So Mathias took over guitar duties; he is more of a laidback kind of person with a funk(y) background. Nico (keyboards) had been previously involved in Starclub West and Parkland and is now contributing his fine musicianship to Orange Black.

The band has already shared the stage with Stereolab, dEUS, Pavement, Sebadoh, Guided By Voices and has played at Pukkelpop (1998 & 2002). Nowadays, Orange Black is on a break and most band members are active in two other projects: The Go Find and Société Anonyme.

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