Event Reviews
Lost Noises Office

Lost Noises Office

Lil’ Indies, Orlando, Florida • July 3, 2023

Just before their 40-minute set at Lil’ Indies in Orlando, Lost Noises Office played — on a record player — Side B of a 1976 LP record titled Instant Production Music. Only, the player’s volume, limited and tinny, could not overcome the din of bar patrons savoring night-before-July 4 libations. Yet, the 30-second electronic soundtrack segments, which could not hook the thirsty, proved a blueprint to the show.

This was my second opportunity to see Lost Noises Office perform, though without the percussionist from before, so they deftly worked around that potential obstacle with downy-warm digital percussive elements at the ready, triggered from a Mac by requisite leader Holly Tavel. Tavel and Sarah Morrison are two former Obliterati members, keys and strings, respectively. The ensemble also features Beatriz Ramirez-Belt, notably of Alterity Chamber Orchestra. Instrumentation includes keyboards, violin, viola, oboe, English horn, autoharp, and vocals. This is not a renaissance fair troupe, but Lost Noises Office is steeped in rich, musical history.

My goal is to bring to bear widely understood musical touchpoints informed by song titles and the band’s aesthetic. Frankly, they’ve framed a narrative that’s not exactly obtuse but best grasped by those familiar with French Impressionist musicians (early ’80s cabaret pop), 1970s TV programming, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, and Art Bears. Thanks to Tavel for some influences and song titles: “Sorry Sir,’’ “Swim Meet,’’ “The Mad Scientist Who Lives Next Door To Me” are allusive but decidedly original.

Bygone eras, dreams flitter and recall Kid Creole’s loft where an island girl’s blues drift out the cracked windows uptown to the Brill Building, also with open windows. But up on the roof, the brass are hosting a surprise socialist cocktail party for the cast of Family Affair. Instead of canned laughs, celebrations briefly cease and folks smile and agree to not disagree. Love is a feeling. A beautiful ceiling. Tavel’s vocals recall those of lo-fi pioneer Azalia Snail, with a fondness for and aspirations to the chanteuse. Her performance is earnest and satisfying. Her French was on-point for the closing cover “Annie La Telie” by ZNR.

Lost Noises Office reminds me of Roxy Music (or Stereolab) in the attention to classical structures and instrumentation and adoration for pop songcraft. Not unlike the prior, and perhaps informed by LNO’s collective time spent in “underground” music, there’s timely dissonance and disruption. But it’s colorful, far from blunt force like feedback or atonal V-2 stabs. These are skilled players, comfortable fusing familiar sonics alongside improvisational freedoms.

Lost Noises Office should be seen and heard in a properly attentive listening room, or recorded. As Tavel noted, our “current goal is to finish our first batch of recordings and get them added to Bandcamp. We’ve also talked about releasing a cassette, with a vinyl release down the road. Play out of state.” ◼

Lost Noises Office
AnswersAlterity Chamber Orchestra


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