ORRA “They Mean No Harm” C38 (Heavy Mess)

Orra might as well exist in another time, in the passages scrawled by those rascals the Grimm brothers, or perhaps in myths and legends of Anglo-Saxon history. They don’t exist now, when Donald Trump is on the verge of welcoming in a new weird era of glorious American prosperity and cultural definition from his gilded throne in the Oval Office; no, Orra prefers the forests and the earth – they have no interest in the progress that will clearly be thrust upon the world, the move-it-or-lose-it enthusiasm that is so desperately needed to kickstart the next stage of human evolution.

[*shocked and horrified emoji*]

I kid! Listen gang, we all know that it’s actually people like Jennifer Williams (Gossimer) and Sean Conrad (Ashan, Channelers, the dankest tape label, Inner Islands… besides, uh, Heavy Mess of course) who are going to press us all forward by harking back to a simpler time when human helping human was really the only way to survive. The rudiments of modern life would be present, I guess, in whatever systems people have concocted for themselves, but man, nobody goes into the woods alone, even in the daytime, ever ever ever. That’s what I’m getting at. That’s where Orra dwells, in the shadows, in the deep dark woods, where magic is real and your kids are not safe.

Orra’s clearly the good witch, though, spinning nifty white magic through their long-form electroacoustic minimalist pieces (not all descriptors mine, to avoid plagiarism claims by Heavy Mess’s press corps). Side A, “Glass Sisters,” really gives off that occult vibe, mysterious, heady, and otherworldly. Side B’s “Come Down the Night” features distant pulses, suggesting revels around campfires in distant clearings where pagans call on their nature gods to invoke their favor. You’re in your bed, though, in your home during these events – you can only imagine what’s happening out there.

They Mean No Harm, as a title, is likely the hands-raised, chill-out signal that it’s OK to listen to this music without fear of spiritual retribution. You’re in good company with Orra – they’ll guide you toward peaceful places, not toward the literal torments hinted at by Dante and others. I feel comfortable allowing them to weave their spells over me – I have no fear that they’re actually going to throw me in an oven or change me into some animal. Donald Trump, on the other hand, would probably eat me raw, without even cooking me properly. How very presidential of him!

--Ryan Masteller