Beth Orton: Eschewing ‘Folktronica’ For Lovely Acoustic Flourishes

Watch the folk singer perform “Dawn Chorus” and a minimalist reworking of “Galaxy Of Emptiness” in the studio.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

Beth Orton performs in the Soundcheck studio.Beth Orton performs in the Soundcheck studio. (Michael Katzif / WNYC)

Beth Orton made her name in the ’90s by setting her gorgeous folk songs to electronics and beats, a genre eventually dubbed “folktronica.” Her latest release is her first studio album in six years, a gap that she spent raising two children, being dropped from her label, and considering leaving music altogether.

It’s a good thing she didn’t: The stunning Sugaring Season might be the most critically acclaimed album of her career.

Produced by Tucker Martine (Laura Gibson, The Decemberists, Laura Veirs), Sugaring Season eschews the more eclectic instrumentation for delicate acoustic flourishes owing more to classic English folk in the tradition of Pentangle’s Bert Jansch. Still, for all its subtlety and spareness, Orton remains just as powerful, especially in songs like “Dawn Chorus” or “Mystery,” which carry a sense of immediacy that builds in intensity. Yet at the heart of Beth Orton’s songs is her warm, expressive voice that makes her music so agreeable and downright lovely.

Hear Beth Orton perform in the Soundcheck studio with songwriter (and husband) Sam Amidon and pianist Thomas Bartlett.

Set List:

  • “Dawn Chorus”
  • “Galaxy Of Emptiness”
  • “Call Me The Breeze”

For more photos, visit Soundcheck’s Tumblr page.


Sam Amidon and Beth Orton

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