In The Orchard Of Osiris

“In The Orchard Of Osiris” (I.T.O.o.O.) is a 15-song compilation of some of the best independent music I’ve encountered over the last few years, while I was working in the mid-Michigan arts community. In an age of streaming media and compromised sound quality, I set out to create a physical artifact — an actual album that flows from song to song, and can be held in your hands – as opposed to the intangible realm of file-swapping, Google-harvested cover art and the diminishing engagement that people derive from 99-cent downloads and shuffled playlists.

Through booking concerts at various venues around town like SCENE Metrospace, Basement 414, Gone Wired and Magdalena’s Teahouse (R.I.P.), I got to know a diverse group of committed indie musicians, and it surprised me that quite a few of them weren’t aware of eachother.  Playing musical matchmaker by designing bills with local and national acts that either shared aesthetic sensibilities or provided interesting contrasts was one of my most rewarding experiences. I was moved to bring it all together somehow, and thus the idea for this compilation germinated.

You can watch a short film about I.T.O.o.O., pre-order a copy, or support the project in other ways at the I.T.O.o.O Kickstarter Page.

I spent this past year pulling I.T.O.o.O. together, all the while focused on making it a thing of enduring beauty.  It will be released in a limited edition of 1,000 copies on CD, a document of some of the great things happening below the radar in the musical world, and there are no future plans to ever release it for sale digitally.  From the outset I realized this would be an expensive undertaking, but one I was very willing – even excited – to throw my modest resources behind.

Nature had other plans.  While driving back from northern Michigan with my wife last February on an empty stretch of US-127, we struck a deer and totaled our Toyota.  Thankfully neither we nor our dogs were injured.  Buying another car, however, dried up the seed money set aside for I.T.O.o.O.

Kickstarter provided just the funding platform I needed to make sure I.T.O.o.O. would still get released on time and within budget.  Kickstarter lets you propose a project, set a budget, and accept pledges toward your budgeted goal.  There is a time limit involved – in our case I need to raise $2,000 by October 16. That’s in just a couple days!

Kickstarter is an all-or-nothing “crowdfunding” apparatus – if we miss our goal, none of the backers get charged for their pledge and we don’t get funded.  The goodwill already extended by backers evaporates and we’re back at square one.  If, however, we meet or exceed that $2,000 goal by this Saturday, we get funded!  I have the CDs designed, mastered (by John Krohn at Lansing’s own Deep Deep Pink Studio), and ready to ship to the pressing plant at a moment’s notice.  If we pull this off, we have I.T.O.o.O. in our hands and ready to distribute by early December!

I don’t expect handouts (although some people have been wonderfully generous), so Kickstarter lets me incentivize pledges.  For example, a $1 pledge entitles you to a bonus track, an unreleased song by Lansing space-rock legends Auburn Lull (“November’s Long Shadows – Lost Leaves remix”).  This song is only available this way, so it gives donors something unique; a stately and achingly beautiful coda to I.T.O.o.O.  A $10 pledge gets you that bonus track plus a physical copy of the CD – a great way to ensure that you’ll be one of the lucky 1,000 people who own this collectible slice of Michigan’s musical present.  The pledges go up from there, with increasing rewards to reflect my gratitude for your involvement.

Want to hear the whole thing – you know, kick the tires – before you decide to back it?  There is a temporary stream of the entire album here:

I.T.O.o.O. features new, unreleased, or hard-to-find songs by Lansing acts Steven Leaf, Alex Hug, Stargrazer, RxGibbs, Small Houses, and Syscrusher (featuring Chris Bathgate); as well as music drawn from a wider pool of current Michigan acts like Cold Mountain Child, Drunken Barn Dance, and Ribbons Of Song. Additionally, there are several Michigan and Lansing expatriates like White Pines, Old Names, and James Collin. And finally, a few of my favorites from other states who I met when they toured through Lansing and left an impression, like Paleo and Arms and Sleepers. Horde Of Two, a duo comprised of David Lester (best known for his work with the pioneering indie rock band Mecca Normal) and experimental bassist Wendy Atkinson, although based in British Columbia, each submitted sound-based artwork to one of the earliest exhibits I curated at SCENE (an art exhibit of entirely sound-based works that also featured a piece by Sonic Youth guitarist Lee Ranaldo) and also offered an unreleased original song for this compilation.

I think you’ll agree that I.T.O.o.O. shows off Michigan’s talent in a unique, moving, and diverse manner.  I’m asking everyone who wants to see this project meet its potential to pledge whatever amount they can (by this Saturday, remember?).  No charges go through unless the $2,000 goal is met, and if you’ve ever bought something from Amazon you’re already all set up to pledge (Amazon handles Kickstarter’s secure payment site).  If you haven’t it’s pretty easy to set up.

I’m sincerely grateful to everyone who has helped out so far, and I want to extend that gratitude to Lansing Collective’s readers for taking the time to learn about I.T.O.o.O., and for helping push us over the top of our monetary goal so Kickstarter will fund our project!


About Peter

Peter Richards is a Lansing, Michigan based artist and musician with a special passion for collaboration and community building.  As former director of East Lansing’s SCENE Metrospace gallery (2006-2008), he curated dozens of exhibits and booked a constant schedule of music, film, and theater events.  Peter has remained involved in the Mid-Michigan arts communities as an exhibiting painter and through his musical outlet, the acoustic bass-only solo project Stargrazer.