Orphan Bloom
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Orphan Bloom

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF

Madison, Wisconsin, United States | SELF
Band Rock




"Orphan Bloom blends cultural influences on new album - Indian melodies, American rock"

In 2005, Saigopal Nelaturi came to Madison from Bangalore, India, to earn a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering. Since arriving here, he's pursued another interest, too — his passion for rock. "When I was a kid I had lessons in classical Indian percussion," says Nelaturi, 28. "Then I discovered rock 'n' roll, or Western music as we call it back home, and I really got into it."

Today, Nelaturi plays guitar in Orphan Bloom, the most experimental rock band currently making music in Madison. Building on Indian melodic patterns and scales, Orphan Bloom's complex hard-rock and bluesy arrangements are akin to 1970s prog. But in the tradition of bands like Led Zeppelin, Orphan Bloom sometimes turns off the electric power and goes acoustic.

The band celebrates the release of its debut CD next Thursday, July 29, at the High Noon Saloon.

Nelaturi says his interest in rock began about the time he started college in India.

"When I was growing up there, the music that was most prevalent among kids was progressive rock music and death metal," he says. "That's almost mainstream music in the area where I come from."

Orphan Bloom took root in June 2008, when Nelaturi met guitarist Alex Kress at a Memorial Union Terrace open mike. "He was playing these heavy riffs that I loved," says Nelaturi, "so I went up to him after the show and asked him if he wanted to get together to jam."

Last fall, Nelaturi and Kress found their rhythm section in bassist Nate Wiswall and drummer Travis Drumm. The quartet have spent nearly every day together for the past several months working to hone their sound.

"There's not just one songwriter in the band," says Nelaturi. "Anyone who has a somewhat finished idea presents it. The group almost always adds something that complements it."

"It's pretty democratic, almost frustratingly so," says Wiswall of the band's songwriting process. "It's not like it's some obligation. We just generally care what everyone in our group thinks. We ask."

At times, the Orphan Bloom sound is hard enough to be described as metal. But the tracks on the band's new CD reflect a range of influences. "Brindle" is almost entirely acoustic, but Kress' jagged vocals give the song a bluesy feel. Bass riffs and uneven beats help make the track restless and temperamental.

Orphan Bloom's electric-guitar power goes full throttle on "The Waterway." The angular melody and brooding chords brim with originality. "Immune" is heavy on extended instrumental jams, and bass counterpoint keeps the song on emotional edge.

The band's eclectic sound reflects the diversity of the group's musical background, including Nelaturi's. "I started with rock 'n' roll, got into metal guitar and tried to expand my influences as much as possible," he says. "I even got into acoustic guitar and played folk music. At the same time, I discovered music from the 1970s like jazz fusion, which kind of opened the idea of experimenting with scales that were traditionally not really used in rock music. I've been trying on my own to come up with some Indian influences in the music that we play."

For now, the members of Orphan Bloom are thriving on collaboration. "We're all able musicians, and we don't have this idealized sound we have to reach," says Wiswall. "We're like a bunch of 6-year-old kids in a room full of Legos. Some of us want a red one. Some of us want a blue one. And if what we build doesn't work, we tear it down and rebuild it."

"Meeting other people who are as interested in music as you are," adds Kress, "that's half the fun."
- The Isthmus

"Orphan Bloom (2010 self-title): 14.5/16"

What if you took a (young) Robert Plant and that early, bluesy Led Zeppelin sound to the Mars Volta, then put a top-notch jazz fusion rhythm section behind it? Madison, Wis.- based Orphan Bloom does just that....with lead guitarist Saigopal Nelaturi injecting dazzling solos, especially on nine-minute closer 'Frail Hand', complete with a percussion solo by Travis Drumm that builds into cacophony. Bassist Nathan Wiswall is outstanding throughout and gets a solo on 'Veil'. Wiswall also handles graphics and the album is a visual thing of beauty. Lead vocalist Alex Kress brings a classic blues/rock dynamic, giving the band a retro sound.... A fierce groove ensues on 'The Duel' before finally breaking into Kress's vocals for the last 45 seconds. 'Indira's Web'[sic] spotlights the vocal harmonies and has an Allman Brothers-style middle section. Things can get acoustic as well as on the breezy 'Brindle. This is a very talented young bunch."
- Rick Tvedt, Progression - Quarterly Journal of Progressive Music (Apr 05, 2011) - Progression - Quarterly Journal of Progressive Music

"The 10 Best Madison Albums of 2010"

http://www.thedailypage.com/isthmus/article.php?article=31311 - The Isthmus Magazine, Madison WI, http://www.thedailypage.com/

"Genre-bending Orphan Bloom won’t be pegged"

Orphan Bloom is difficult to pin down.
This is true of the Madison band both in their music (a hard rocking stew of metal, prog, psych, classical, jazz, blues, etc.) and in conversation. At times, interviewing the group felt akin to pinning down a particularly slippery attorney.
Asked to name the music they first bonded over, the musicians responded with a lengthy answer that touched on the players’ camaraderie (“It’s important to learn to work together”), their fondness for melody (“It’s absolutely necessary”) and why heavy metal gets such a bad rap (“People think it’s all black and death and Satan and leather”).
The only thing missing? The mention of even a single band that influenced the crew.
After being notified of this, a sly smile crept across 31-year-old bassist Nathan Wiswall’s face. “Welcome to our trap,” he said, amid his bandmates’ explosive laughter.
The quartet — lead singer/guitarist Alex Kress, 24, guitarist/singer Saigopal Nelaturi, 28, drummer Travis Drumm, 23, and Wiswall — which headlines a show at The Frequency on Friday, Jan. 14, first started playing together in the fall of 2008. But it wasn’t until the following spring that they really started to coalesce as a band.
Rehearsals began in earnest in the attic of an east side home, progressed to the living room and eventually settled into the band’s current practice spot in the cramped, kitty litter-strewn basement. The constant relocations, which found the group moving downward through the house like a family seeking shelter during a tornado warning, were a byproduct of the band’s ever-increasing volume.
“We just got louder and louder,” said Nelaturi. “That’s why we had to go down, man.”
Once in the basement, Orphan Bloom’s sound evolved as naturally as its name suggests, growing organically in myriad directions like algae spreading in a summer pond. “If you listen to every song on the album individually … you might think we’re a bunch of different bands,” said Nelaturi. Added Wiswall: “We’ll get eight different people saying we’re eight different genres.”
The band happily fosters this kind of confusion on their self-titled 2010 debut, a shape-shifting monster that reflects the members’ divergent backgrounds. Wiswall, born and raised in Belleville, Ill., started playing the trumpet at the tender age of 8, eventually progressing to the bass guitar after discovering jazz (he still discusses Duke Ellington’s “La Plus Belle Africaine” with a visible sense of awe).
Nelaturi, by contrast, first studied classical Indian percussion while growing up in Bangalore, India, picking up the guitar only after being introduced to black metal bands like Burzum and Immortal in college.
Fittingly, songs like “Indra’s Web” contain trace elements of each member’s past, swinging between passages that display the malleability and elasticity favored by jazz aficionados and ones loaded with the foundation-rattling guitar riffage preferred by metalheads.
“You have to be flexible, since you might bring in something you’ve written and it’ll get taken in a completely different direction,” said Kress. “Like, ‘Holy (crap), this turned into a metal song!’ It takes a lot of trust.”
Trust is one thing definitely not lacking amongst the quartet, who remain close friends first and bandmates second. Indeed, after Drumm (and what a name for a drummer, by the way) found himself unable to make it to the scheduled interview, Kress called him beforehand to see if there was anything he’d like to add, taking down copious notes on scrap paper that he produced near the end of our conversation. Among the drummer’s additions: “I actually wanted to play guitar first, but it didn’t seem right with my last name.”
“I’ve been part of other bands where members have stormed out of the room during practice,” said Wiswall. “That doesn’t happen with us, and I think that’s a big reason why we’ve been able to really build on this thing.” - 77 Square

"Orphan Bloom CD Release Party @ High Noon 7/29/10"

Holy F***.

I’ve just seen one of the best bands to ever come out of the area and their name is Orphan Bloom. Remember that name, you’re going to hear it again.

What if you took Mars Volta, fronted them with (a young) Robert Plant and put, I dunno, frickin’ Jaco Patorious on bass and Neil Peart on drums? God these guys are good and I don’t know that I’ve ever felt so stunned after a performance by a local band.

Though they are loaded with chops, the band is not pretentious. They keep their songs to a manageable length and the showboating to a minimum. They looked so comfortable onstage; as if they had a long history behind them already (The band tells me they’ve been touring for about a year). They possess a professionalism and sophistication that is surely going to take them far.

Lead vocalist/guitarist Alex Kress has the charisma to front this powerhouse with an immediately likeable demeanor. Lead guitarist Saigopal Nelaturi is a blazing player, capable of complex solo flights. Together they weave a tapestry of guitars that rivals Mars Volta but without the excess. The rhythm section is unstoppable. Nathan Wiswall has a degree in jazz performance and is quite possibly the best bassist I’ve seen locally. Wiswall also does the band’s artwork and it’s gorgeous. At the end of the set, the band left drummer Travis Drumm to do a solo and it was absolutely amazing. His single-handed rolls and tom precision had me shaking my head. He also incorporated a hand drum into his kit. The band returned to finish off the song, then were hailed to do an encore. They played a Melvins tune.

I’m still listenting through the new album and will be posting a review here very shortly. Be sure to get out there and get behind these guys. Bands like this come along about once in a lifetime. - Local Sounds Magazine

"OPRHAN BLOOM – Orphan Bloom (2010 Self-Release)"

It’s not often a young group that offers so much promise comes along. Orphan Bloom’s debut CD is an aggressive, psychedelic composite of the best rock attributes from the last five decades. Each member brings talent to the table that, added up, is greater than the sum of its parts. The rhythm section of drummer Travis Drumm and Nathan Wiswall is an indomitable force, driving these songs with conviction. The guitars of Alex Kress and Saigopal Nelaturi dance like demons on a mission from hell. Kress’s vocals are tough, gritty and sung with the unbridled enthusiasm of early Robert Plant.

It doesn’t take them long to kick some serious ass as the opener, “The Waterway,” begins like a Mars Volta song in mid-sentence. The catchy, melodic chorus gives way to a Zeppelin-worthy riff. Drumm displays his chops with a brief, sprite drum fill that provides the basis for a very effective coda.

Orphan Bloom utilizes the heavy riffing throughout most of the album. The arrangements are inventive enough, however, to keep the proceedings from going stale over this one-hour-long release.

Nelaturi makes a blistering entrance on “Immune,” his solo building into glorious cacophony. He plays with a great deal of inspiration and really impresses, especially when he strays out of his favorite modalities.

“Burning in the Rain” may be the album’s most engaging song with Kress singing, “If I have to believe in something, it might as well be a lie…If I have to believe in someone, it might as well be me” “Atonement” /“Indira’s Web” are the album’s most psychedelic moments. The former is an instrumental track with an underlying hurdy-gurdy sound that carries over into the latter’s trippy groove. The harmonized vocals invoke late sixties psychedelia. Suddenly, you’re in the middle section and the band sounds like the Allman Brothers on acid. An ingeniously placed key change brings the song back around.

There are three tracks that hit the seven-minute-plus mark. “Immune,” with its largely instrumental arrangement; “The Veil,” which lurches from breakneck speed into a Beatle-esque, mid-tempo waltz and a long section highlighted by Wiswall’s bass soling; and the closer “Frail Hand,” which incorporates a Drumm solo.

While the emphasis is on rocking hard, the band also has a gentle side that comes out in the latter half of “The Veil.” “Sepia” is also an acoustic guitar-centered instrumental. “Brindle” is another breezy acoustic guitar song, reminiscent of early-seventies rock a la Led Zeppelin III.

Paradyme Production’s Bill Maynard recorded this album and has succeeded in capturing the personality of the band while not cleaning it up to the point of sterility. Thus, while it sounds fresh and experimental, it also sounds retro and authentic.

Make no mistake, the band borrows here and there. The opening riff of “Until Dawn” is a little too much like “Life in the Fast Lane” and there are other, subtler familiarities. But those are brief and entirely forgivable given the depth, breadth and ambition of the album. The best part of all of this is that the band is even better live (read a review here). Orphan Bloom is a CD you will definitely want to hear (assuming you rock) and Orphan Bloom is a band you will not want to miss before fate likely scoops them up. - Local Sounds Magazine

"Orphan Bloom"

One can hardly wave a wicked scepter these days without hitting a modern band drawing influence from classic psychedelic rock. But when it's done well, it pleases the court as well as the masses—as with the castle-storming, metal-informed rock of ages plied by Madison's Orphan Bloom. Scattering its noodling guitar lines and easy vocal harmonies to the wind over labyrinthine compositions like "Indra's Web," the band weaves the best elements of black-magic rock sorcery while avoiding typical genre trappings such as ludicrous lyrics and falsetto abuse—which suggests that its debut album could end up being one of the bigger surprises of the year. - The Onion A.V. Club

"Worrier, All Tiny Creatures and Orphan Bloom"

Anyone who's noticed that it's hard to bliss out to slightly mathcore hard-rock bands and hard to rock out to ethnically inclined psych-noodlers might seek some compromise in "Indra's Web," a song from Madison band Orphan Bloom. It begins in gloomy, distorted territory, then gives way to a pleasant folk-rock waltz, then somehow gets around to some metal inspired kick-drum pummeling. Orphan Bloom still sounds like it's gradually trying to work together claimed influences that span from Melvins to Ravi Shankar, but has already found some admirable ways to wander. - The Onion A.V. Club


1.) The Wary Traveler (EP, 2011)

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2.) Orphan Bloom (self-titled LP, 2010)

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Write directly to Orphan Bloom: orphanbloom@gmail.com






Orphan Bloom

Brooding, aggressive, haunting and beautiful; focused, driven rock yielding to shimmering psychedelic forays. Surely one of the most unique and engaging bands you will experience: vivid lyrical imagery, powerful virtuosic instrumentation and soloing, jagged bluesy vocals, and tasteful mix of Eastern and Western scales and melodies.

Often compared to groups like Led Zeppelin, Mars Volta, and Tool, where the individual talents of each member fuse to form a sound greater than the sum of its parts. Formed in Autumn 2008, Orphan Bloom works to forge a style that is related to but distinct from the music they love.

Orphan Bloom released its debut album, a full length hour-long CD, in Summer 2010 to critical acclaim. The album was later awarded Best Hard Rock Album by the Madison Area Music Association. Their newest studio effort is a four song EP, 'The Wary Traveler' recorded at the Blasthouse Studios, Madison, and released in December 2011. Since its formation Orphan Bloom has has been performing at various regional venues and drawing attention from press and radio stations. Their electrifying live performances and exceptional musicianship consistently win over audiences wherever they travel.

The band Orphan Bloom consists of Saigopal Nelaturi (lead guitar, vocals), Alex Kress (lead vocals, guitar), Nathan Wiswall (bass), and Travis Drumm (drums and percussion).

Outside of Orphan Bloom, the band members are actively involved in several endeavours. Alex Kress is the general manager of The Frequency bar and music club in Madison, Saigopal Nelaturi is pursuing a PhD in Mechanical Engineering at UW-Madison, Nathan Wiswall is an emergency first response employee and is attending UW-Madison to complete a Bachelor of Science-Nursing degree, and Travis Drumm teaches drums and percussion at the Arboretum School of Music in Waunakee, WI. The band members also regularly perform in recording sessions for several musicians in the Madison area.