The debut album from Hidden Orchestra – OUT NOW
An intense and rewarding listening experience, “Night Walks” encompasses the energy and production techniques of studio-produced beats, but replacing synths and drum machines with natural/acoustic sounds and instruments for an emotionally potent style. Built on contrasts – experimental without losing accessibility, electronic and acoustic, complex and simple, dark and energetic whilst intricate and calm – there is a sense of journey and progression, and, in Acheson’s words, “the brooding reflections of a solitary walk through the still, restless night”.
“can only be described as a beautiful noise” – BBC Introducing in Scotland (Album of the Month for September)
“a highly emotive, celluloid-inspired journey through one of the greatest films never made” **** – The Skinny Magazine
“a soundscape that truly envelops you” **** – The Sunday Express
“every bit as jaw-dropping as DJ Shadow’s Endtroducing” – The Daily Record
“a gem, a chattering, pulsating collection” **** – Is This Music? Magazine
“these are lullabies primed to pounce when the clock strikes midnight” 7/10 – Clash Magazine
“Stunning stuff” – iDJ
“The stunning debut from Tru Thoughts will blow you away” – XYZ Magazine
- Antiphon 6:05
- Footsteps 3:48 | Listen | Free download from Bandcamp
- Dust 7:04 | Listen
- Tired and Awake 5:30
- The Windfall 5:02 | Listen
- Out of Nowhere 5:09
- Wandering 4:33 | Listen
- Stammer 6:27
- Strange 6:26
- Undergrowth 6:06
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Featuring performances and improvisation from:
Joe Acheson – Bass guitar, zither, double bass, kantele, piano, glockenspiel, bassoon, guitar, field recordings, sound design, programming
Poppy Ackroyd – Violin, viola, piano, wurlitzer, rhodes
Tim Lane – Drums, trombone
Jamie Graham – Drums
Su-a Lee – Cello
Fraser Fifield – Soprano saxophone, low whistle, kaval
Marcus Britton - French horn, cornet
Julia Biel – Vocals on Footsteps
Phil Cardwell – Trumpet on Footsteps
Nick Roth – Alto saxophone on Footsteps
Hidden Orchestra is as much a live project as it is this studio album. The core live 4-piece band (two full drum kits, violin/keys and bass/electronics, regularly joined by guest players and visual artists) bring a whole new layer of energy to the music, an intense and emotive blend of intricate beats, deep basslines and orchestral textures.
Hidden Orchestra the band are Joe Acheson, Poppy Ackroyd, Tim Lane and Jamie Graham.
Traditional jazz drummers are usually only given a few bars to shine, and consequently these short solos are bursting with brilliant ideas and glimpses of pure rhythmic feel. I began to isolate and reprogram fragments of these rhythmic gems, looping them up and adding studio-produced beats to bring out the underlying groove, mapping them out according to the build-up/breakdown/drop structures of the various electronic and leftfield dance genres I was listening to – producers like DJ Shadow, DJ Krush, Orbital, Aphex Twin, DJ Premier, Luke Vibert…
I then started layering up single chords, textures and hooks, selected moments from a range of classical, jazz and folk music inspirations. Then field recordings of natural sound effects – wind, rain, water, birdsong reprogrammed into beats – the overall aim being to create music with the energy and production techniques of studio-produced beats, but replacing synths and drum machines with natural/acoustic sounds and instruments. The complex drum arrangements and instrumental parts are then precisely notated for the live act, a stage at which this music really comes alive. For this album, we have made an effort to recreate the sounds of vintage recordings – particularly with the drums – each beat is made with a different drum kit, assembled from parts of other kits and recorded with individual microphone techniques.
I have also been applying the techniques of sampling to solo recordings of musicians improvising in my studio, which are then coupled with multi-tracked recordings of my orchestral arrangements (with the result that some tracks have more than 6 drum kits and over 100 channels of audio). This is all shaped to an overall aesthetic and emotional content which is deeply informed by strong classical and sacred choral influences (Debussy, Bach, Stravinsky, William Byrd, Arvo Part, plainsong), as well as a raft of other musical reference points from John Martyn and Radiohead through to Madlib, Godspeed, Xploding Plastix and Squarepusher.
Above all, and despite essentially being the sum of all of these influences, this is an attempt to create music that is based on beauty, energy and feeling, rather than fashion or image – music built on contrasts, experimental without losing accessibility, electronic and acoustic, complex and simple, dark and energetic at the same time as intricate and calm. There is a sense of journey and progression, variations from repetitions, the brooding reflections of a solitary walk through the still, restless night.
Joe Acheson, Edinburgh, May 2010