Virgin Orchestra’s Sonically Packed Debut
Released on May 12 via Smekkleysa, Fragments is Virgin Orchestra’s debut album. Exhibiting a range of influences from post-punk to trip-hop, the album is “sonically packed,” in one band member’s own words. Virgin Orchestra walked us through their newest release track by track.
This song was born out of an improvised jam session. We created a drum loop and just started playing the first thing that came to mind on top of it. It soon turned into a song that’s constantly expanding and gets louder and more aggressive the longer it goes.
Most songs on the album were written while we were in separate countries since Stefanía spent the first half of 2022 in Berlin as an exchange student. This song was written in many different places. Stefanía sent the original demo from Berlin and Starri worked on it in Barcelona and Glasgow and Rún worked on it in Reykjavík.
on your knees
One of the first songs we ever wrote together back in the very early days of the band. We had talked about writing an album that was influenced by wartime and horror as a critique on the world today but this is kind of the only track that kept that initial idea as the rest of the tracks became more abstract.
This song went through many transformations before we settled on a structure we liked. Similar to “on your knees,” this was written before Rún was in the band, but her strings really elevated them. It gave us the missing piece of the puzzle that the songs needed. The vocals and lyrics are very early one-take and improvised but we liked how free it felt so we decided to keep it.
The title of this song comes from the fact that something about the chord progression and build-up of the song reminded us of a Bond theme. When we were recording the album, this was the song we spent the most time on by far as we just kept on recording more and more layers using various instruments and gadgets available to us at the studio. A sonically packed song.
The most minimalistic song on the album. This song was mostly written in our hotel room in Berlin a couple of weeks before we went into the studio. Writing it in that setting and under those circumstances had a big impact on the raw, stripped back nature the song took on. Stefanía only finished writing the lyrics five minutes before recording the vocals at the studio. Not because we were slacking, but because it just felt somehow right to finish the lyrics at the last moment to channel some kind of rawness and “in the moment feeling.”
This song came together remarkably fast. Stefanía wrote the synth, drum loop and sampled bits from an old Gloria Ann Taylor song and immediately we just got so many ideas for what we could do. We just started writing with full force. The quiet ambient ending was partially born at the studio and we loved how it just kept on and on. No decisions had been made about how to end it. We had access to an old tape delay at the studio, so we recorded a bunch of cello and the synths through that which created this warbly and dreamy soundscape.
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