Formed in 2008 by guitarists Jason Garber and Jim Jones, The Orchid began life as a four-piece ensemble inspired by a shared appreciation of mind-expanding instrumental music, science fiction, and the unexplained phenomena inhabiting the far corners of the universe.
The bands’s 2010 debut release, New Mexico EP, emphasized melody and big, lush sounds, earning the group comparisons to artists such as Explosions In The Sky and Mogwai. The original four-piece lineup of Garber (guitar), Jones (guitar), Joao Malhinha (percussion), and Clay Redding (bass) expanded to include multi-instrumentalist James Wolf for their 2012 full-length release, Beyond The Vast, Endless Sea. The addition of Wolf allowed the group to explore more complex structures and instrumentation including strings, organ, and piano. Beyond The Vast, Endless Sea earned the group notoriety and positive press immediately upon its release, most notably achieving sales that made the record the top-selling alternative album on Bandcamp in its debut week.
Tom Laird, host of Austin, Texas-based KOOP’s Fade to Yellow, described the band and the album thusly:
The Orchid play instrumental music that is extremely well-written and performed. There is a maturity to the music that makes it stand out above the crowd. The latest album, Beyond The Vast, Endless Sea, is an excellent listen with its amazing melodies and song structures.
Shortly after, though, two of the band’s founding members (Jones and Malhinha) would leave for the West Coast, leaving the remaining members to fill the void left by the departures. By mid-2014, the group reformed with two new members, Brie Anderson (percussion) and Mark Lee (guitar), and began working on new material. The following spring saw the reformed five-piece release Shadowing Lull EP, which included a re-imagined version of the title track and remixes of the original from Jonah Matranga (Far, onelinedrawing), John Whitlock (Half Human), and Wolf.
In the fall of 2015, the band partnered with engineer Kenny Eaton to record Apogee, Perigee at his Mystery Ton Studios in rural Maryland. From the opener, The Astronaut (Escape Velocity), which begins with a string overture before erupting into a massive, three-guitar assault, to the haunting, suffocating sparseness of the closing Life In Retrograde, the album weaves together influences ranging from Morricone’s Spaghetti Western soundscapes to DC-infused punk and math rock. The album moves effortlessly from crushing rhythms to delicate, intertwined arpeggiated guitars, often within a single song, as the group explores the theme of isolation.
In their fourteen years performing together, The Orchid has shared stages with nationally and internationally touring acts such as The Twilight Sad (FatCat Records), Lost In The Trees (ANTI- Records), El Ten Eleven (Fake Record Label), and The End Of The Ocean (Future Recordings).