Click the links below for reviews to the brand new oRSo album, 'My Dreams Are Back and They Are Better Than Ever':
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*Bear in Mind*
/oRSo soundscapes the Stork/
Musically, we live in an age of reconstruction, wherein truly new styles and sounds are painfully hard to come by. Originality, 21st-century style, is a graceful combination of disparate or unexpected influences, and Chicago's *oRSo* has that in spades. As refugees and current players from Califone, Rex, Red Red Meat, Fruit Bats, and other skilled Windy City soundscapers have moved through its ranks, Phil Spirito's project has maintained its rustic space-folk trajectory around his evocative tenor banjo and guitar playing, combining the slowcore pace of Low, the vocal stylings of Tom Waits (Spirito's vox occupy some multidimensional crossroads between Waits' gentle, pianoman years and his latter-day, razor-gargling cabaret tones), a windy front porch tilted toward the stars (and any oncoming UFOs), a TV playing Lars von Trier flicks and cowboy serials, and a cobwebby garage full of synths, brass, strings, and anything else that rattles, hums, or buzzes. Arty but warm, lo-fi but epic in scope, oRSo plays the Stork Club, 2330 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, on Wednesday night.
-- Stefanie Kalem

*What's been said about oRSo/Phil Spirito in the past:*
. . . Orso is more akin to a motley assemblage of New Orleans players and Appalachian hillbillies given the field-recording treatment by Brian Eno . . . One moment you'll encounter a filmic bit of ambient spookiness, while later on you get the distinct impression that the stringed plucks, edges of feedback and kiddie xylophone tings and tongs are supposed to signify an Oriental motif - oblique strategies indeed. But though odd, they work, and taking in the whole recording is as fascinating as watching a documentary travelogue of exotic backwaters.
-- Fred Mills, /Magnet/

On the band's 2000 release, /Long Time By, /oRSo combines elements of two of Chicago's noteworthy musical movements: the post-rock noise meanderings of Tortoise and its ilk, and the Drag City pseudo country vibe a la Smog and Palace. Slow, harsh and pretty.
-- Stephen Seigel, /Tucson Weekly/

. . . Orso continues to do what they did well from the start: layer intriguing and varying noises in interesting ways. . . 'Mavis', for example, takes an almost-traditional sounding country ballad and rolls it on top of bubble sounds and subtle bits of unusual percussion, balancing the impulse toward exploration with a more anchoring structure. The resulting work is both emotionally moving and intellectually stimulating - which is, after all, what all good country music should strive for.
-- Betch Lucht, /Splendid E Zine/

Recalling Dirty Three at their most genius of times, Orso play out their own prairie/carnery rock so deftly and deeply that /Long Time By/ blows away their first self-titled record. An interesting concoction of sorts, this record includes loads of swirly circus-type instrumentation, animal noises and just some overall absurd, low-fi shit that catches you when you least expect it. It helps to spin the eclecticism of the record into overdrive when Phil Spirito's vocals whine, snarl and whisper so strangely, yet perfectly, over the piece.
-- Debbie Bento, /Chart Attack/