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Orienteering is defined as a cross-country race in which participants use a map and compass to navigate along checkpoints across unfamiliar terrain. In the case of Ottawa’s Orienteers, music is both navigational tool and terrain. The result is their unique brand of space-folk that seems less intent upon any sort of race, than it does with taking its time exploring the outer limits of an uncharted aural galaxy.

On the release of their eponymous fall 2011 debut, the UK’s Popped Culture proclaimed that Orienteers had “found a niche and smacked it out of the ground”. But they’ve been around awhile…

In 2008, under their former moniker That’s The Spirit, they released the album ‘Staying Places’ to critical acclaim, in the wake of which they opened for fellow indie dream-explorers the Flaming Lips and Metric, even Skrillex, toured Western Canada and played at festivals like Sled Island, NXNE, CMW and Ottawa Bluesfest. Their music has since appeared on NPR’s All Songs Considered, Nickelodeon/MTV’s Degrassi: The Next Generation, along with a National Film Board project called Fire, the Travel Network and several short films.

Since settling on a new name that they felt better reflected their penchant for writing about travel, Orienteers have penned an album that is quiet and sparse, but feels complete in and of itself, as it traverses the realm of psych and folk with aplomb, and has drawn comparisons to Sparklehorse, the Shins, Flaming Lips, Giant Sand, Belle and Sebastian, Simon and Garfunkel, The Byrds, and Spiritualized. However, the fact is that this four-piece truly sounds like no one else.

Orienteers’ first eponymous full-length (out via Antique Room), is, in their own words, “… a travel focused collection of fragile space-folk, layered with looping pedal-steel guitar, wind chime acoustics and warm blankets of bass and brush sticks.” On Orienteers, the experimental melancholia is heightened by countrified guitars, undulating synth and subdued vocals—all swirled into a melodic psychedelic dream.

The self-titled LP is the first in a series of upcoming space-folk creations…