International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music
WHO: Toronto-based Christina Sealey and Richard Oddie
STYLE: Modular and software driven, dark technoid vibrations
LATEST WORK: Several reissue packages; forthcoming album on Sonic Groove (2016)
LABELS: Hands, Sonic Groove, Mannequin, Hospital Productions, Token, Khemia
MORE: Sealey is a painter and art teacher who also gives workshops in electronic music and technology for women, Oddie is an academic working in urban sustainability and environment and acoustic ecology
MUTEKs: Montréal: 2010, 2007 as Sealey/Greenspan/Lanza, 2012
Hailing from rust-belt steel town Hamilton, Ontario, Richard Oddie and Christina Sealey have fittingly been mining a post-industrial vein that has cross-hatched techno, industrial, power electronics, soundscapes and noise for more than 20 years now. Early on, they found comrades in the rhythmic noise scene in Europe where industrial tendencies weren’t the liability they had become in North America, and German labels like Ant-Zen and Hands enthusiastically released their material. The scene fragmentation that kept Orphx on the periphery of techno until a few years ago has since been mended – as illustrated by their releases for Adam X’s Sonic Groove label and remix connections to artists like Substance, Surgeon, Oscar Mulero and Perc – not to mention their live appearances at hallowed halls Berghain and Tresor.
Despite the evolution of hardware and software that has exerted itself on the duo’s composing and live performances, their sound has maintained its particular dark, psychedelic, technoid personality. Orphx have travelled from old school machines, field recordings and feedback to solid state and software processes – and back again to hardware, specifically due to Sealey’s embrace of modular synthesizers several years ago.
With several reissue packages on the way plus a new album for Sonic Groove in the fall, the latest live set from Orphx mixes elements of all of their eras using a hands-on kit of modulars, laptops and outboard gear that allows maximum flexibility to improvise and impress. Accompanying the duo — psy-tech visual artist Jackie Levitt (Jaxamuse) provides projections and video to widescreen the experience even further.