Watch the trippy video for lush, lo-fi lead single “So Long” via Boston NPR Station WBUR
Just a year after the release of his mesmerizing debut, ‘Wild Raspberries,’ Massachusetts songwriter Sir Orfeo—aka Max Wareham—is back with ‘Millefleur,’ his entrancing new follow-up EP, due out June 25. Building off the verdant, homespun song-poems of ‘Wild Raspberries,’ ‘Millefleur’ is by turns earthy and vaporous, strolling the strange borderlands of chamber-folk, symbolist imagery, and ambient minimalism as it journeys deep into the recesses of the dreaming mind. Watch the psychedelic video for lead single “So Long” (out on streaming services April 20), animated by artist and filmmaker Shane Beam, via Boston’s NPR affiliate WBUR.
Named for a style of Medieval tapestry in which the image appears to emerge from a patternless sea of small flowers and plants, ‘Millefleur’ sounds a lot like the thaw of springtime in which it was written, evoking tranquil meadows and slowly shifting light with its mix of nylon string guitars, hypnotic synthesizers, and vintage drum machines. “I was reading lots of magical realism, decorating my internal worlds as a way of finding meaning,” Wareham says, recollecting the isolation and exploration of the pandemic. While ‘Millefleur’ still carries on the lo-fi, cassette-creaking tradition of Sir Orfeo’s debut—the songs here began life on a tape machine before they were digitized for the mysterious and largely nocturnal process of overdubs, arranging, and mixing in Wareham’s home studio—the collection also revels in the infinite nuance and possibility of the digital realm, with reverbs and delays that expand into infinite halls of mirrors, electronic orchestras that ebb and flow like the tides, and Koji Kondo-esque keyboard flourishes that firmly ground the music in half-lit childhood afternoons: static on the screen, toadstools along a mossy nook, briar roses weaving in the mist. The result is a deliberate, ponderous collection that lands somewhere between Pentangle and Devendra Banhart, a gentle, arresting meditation that’s at once eerie and inviting, lush and elemental, intimate and expansive.
Before embarking on his latest chapter as Sir Orfeo, Wareham got his start playing bass in the acclaimed psych-pop band Sun Parade and writing/co-producing for the cult-favorite studio collective Cousin Moon. In 2017, Wareham released a pair of folk-tinged fingerstyle collections under his own name, which landed him on the road with legendary British folksinger and guitarist Martin Carthy. Wareham also lives an alternate life as a bluegrass banjo player and performs regularly with the Peter Rowan Bluegrass Band.
2. So Long
3. Mark and Lizzie
4. Sometimes I See A Storm Come In