a1x by Orange BirthdayRelease date: May 7, 2019
Texan Jacob Hagedorn is not exactly a household name, not even among the fans of ambient electronica. He’s been around for approximately five years and had issued eight unofficial albums. Still, even Orange Birthday, the moniker he works under might not be a known quantity. Maybe a1x, his first official release will change things around. It should anyway. Frankly, it is hard to decide whether to call this an album, an EP, a set of 20 tracks, musical vignettes, in which it is formally divided or one single, elongated experiment. Why Orange Birthday? – “All first loves have colors. She wore an orange shirt on our anniversary which was my birthday,” he says.
The segments themselves last anywhere between 30 seconds and a bit over a minute and a half, presented in a form of muted, minutely structured impressions, leaving more to the imagination than the sounds that are actually presented. By presenting his music in this manner, Hagedorn, on one hand, escapes one of the usual problems nagging a big chunk of ambient music, long, never-ending meanders that maybe know where they began, but most don’t know where they are going.
On the other hand, Orange Birthday’s a1x is like a puzzle piece, that in the end presents a whole picture. Even moreso, you can simply exchange the playing order of the segments and get a completely new one that has both a head and tail, giving the listener practically limitless possibilities. You would still know where you started and where you are ending – with a whole image that is completely different than the previous one. From a to x, or in any order that you wish.