Orville Peck
“Big Sky”

Carlos Santolalla

I’ve been grappling with visibility, lately. How much do I want to be seen? Where and in what form? Am I writing and putting myself out there to be acknowledged by the established intelligentsia of my niche interest? And even then, what is it I want to be acknowledged for? My impeccable taste? My hot takes on Twitter? I like to think I do it for my own satisfaction and/or desire to support art and artists I believe in, but I assume someone out there figures I have ulterior motives.

It only took Orville Peck four shows and four tweets before he was signed to Sub Pop and Royal Mountain Records. Must be those eyes. Goodness, they are piercing. They are also the only part of Peck’s head he wants us to see – exploding orbs of blue light burst from his optic cavities, surrounded by a black leather mask adorned with a skirt of tassels that obscure the lower half of his face. Mystery is something that has diminished greatly since social media overtook everything. Which is a shame because mystery is awesome. Orville Peck puts out one (beautiful) song, “Big Sky”; we don’t know where the hell he came from or what he looks like and BOOM he is the next big thing. At the very least, Peck is  one to watch. To me, that’s amazing, even though it all seems very calculated and controlled.

“Big Sky” is also very controlled, in a strange, maybe a bit disturbing sense. It’s like a blood-red sunrise on a calm morning. It sounds classic, confident, melancholy and, yes, mysterious. Peck says he wants to bring some danger to country music, but “Big Sky” merely foreshadows the danger. Peck is going to show us his hand eventually and I really feel like it will be satisfying. Peck is proof that mystery is possible in this day and age, and it’s inspiring despite feeling too good to be true. He strikes an amazing balance between clearly wanting to be noticed while not truly being seen. And while we wait for the danger Peck has promised to arrive, I’m going mask shopping.

Neil Young