“In The Orchard Of Osiris,” a new compilation of mostly Michigan artists, wasn’t thrown together on a whim.
The 15 tracks were seamlessly woven together by musician and graphic artist Peter Richards, who compiled and released the album on his label It Takes a Village to Make Records.
The CD, which features tracks by White Pines, Drunken Barn Dance, Arms and Sleepers, Syscrusher, Small Houses, Paleo, and James Collin, spotlights a roster of Midwestern indie and folk songwriters.
“Twelve of the 15 bands have roots in Michigan, although some of them are based out of Brooklyn, Chicago, or Virginia these days,” Richards said. “Several of the musicians I’ve known personally for a long time, but the great majority I came in contact with through booking performances at (SCENE) Metrospace.”
Richards (a.k.a. Stargrazer), who is also featured on the CD, said the vibe of the record was constructed around a fictional story he imagined involving Osiris, the Egyptian god of the dead.
“Osiris was considered a generous and lenient god … willing to overlook some of a person’s faults and let them pass on based on the quality of their heart,” Richards said.“It seemed to me that, by extension, the way we seem to regard different cultures and religions as fundamentally opposed — well, we could learn a little something from Osiris’ attitude toward those he had power over,” he added. “That whole idea of lost gods, forgotten gods — that kind of appealed to me, too. I also imagined a misty orchard, where living things are the fruit that falls to the ground, decays, and nurtures the next season of life. I tried to create a soundtrack for this fictional scene.”
In 2006, Richards released “First- Hand Accounts, Theories, and Their Repercussions,” featuring Canada, Jen Sygit, The Casionauts, Sam Corbin, and Rattling Wall Collective — an eclectic mix.
However, with this new collection Richards said he stuck to his vision.
“The last time I made a comp, it was kind of first-come, first-serve. I just asked a bunch of bands I liked for songs and after I had a disc full I pressed it,” Richards said.
“This time around I was much more deliberate. I came up with a name for the compilation and determined the feel I wanted it to have and asked bands I had a personal relationship of some sort with. I’d been thinking about all kinds of political and religious and cultural conflicts, and I stumbled on this paper about Osiris …” Richards said he feels the record doesn’t play like a random mix, but more of a cohesive album.
“I’m amazed at the overall flow of it: front to back, it moves like a story, even though the musicians all worked separately in separate styles,” he said. “It isn’t without moments of tension and dissonance, but its character is reflective as a whole.”
The record is available at local music stores such as Schuler Books and Music, Flat, Black and Circular, The Record Lounge and Elderly Instruments.
’In the Orchard of Osiris’
CD release show 8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 8
Gone Wired Cafe 2021 E. Michigan Ave., Lansing