November 9th, 2017 | Album reviews

L’Orange L’Orange
Mexican Summer

L’Orange L’Orange is the first solo work from sound sculptor Gregg Kowalsky in nearly nine years, and unlike the arrays of sine-wave oscillators and mutant cassette tapes with which he constructed his reputation, it’s an album sumptuous with organic textures and gentle motion. Kowalsky acknowledged that the sunshine of his recently adopted home Los Angeles seeped into his mixing process, and that gives the album a feeling of sunbathing with one’s eyes closed. His synths shift easily like breezes and shadows, lending texure to—rather than obscuring—the unending warmth that underpins L’Orange L’Orange. This album ebbs and flows with an natural kind of freedom, as paths softly unfold through playfully named tracks like “Maliblue Dream Sequence” and “Tonal Bath for Bubbles,” a shimmery exercise for his machinery. For all the albums that have been predicated on the concept of Los Angeles, this one feels remarkably pure. It’s removed from the cultural darkness and in tune with the spiritual essence always pulsing through the hills and seas. Closing track, “Bling Contour Drawing for Piano,” follows his hand up and down a classic-sounding keyboard, ambling around major chords and finally evoking a satisfied smile. Like giggling during a savasana, it closes with a subtle, hopeful sense of catharsis.

—Christina Gubala