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Whether they’re Broken, Cinematic or Hidden, lots of orchestras have taken to the task of recording lush, expensive and deliberate…
Whether they’re Broken, Cinematic or Hidden, lots of orchestras have taken to the task of recording lush, expensive and deliberate arrangements to create emphatic and breathtaking music. Hidden Orchestra (formerly the Joe Acheson Quartet) is the brainchild of Joe Acheson , a gifted composer, producer and audio engineer who operates out of Scotland. With apparently 100 audio tracks per arrangement, Tru Thoughts must have rejoiced in Acheson obtaining funding from the Scottish Arts Council for the Hidden Orchestra’s new album Night Walks. We’re talking about a major-label budget here.
It’s almost impossible to trace all the audio tracks at first listen. Night Walks is the kind of release that you must succumb to; once the mood of each track is instilled, you can then sit back in amazement for a while, and only after that phase is complete can you begin to decipher the components to each track. The incorporation of samples, whether looped instruments or animals in a forest, provide a unique and wholesome sound that distinguishes Hidden Orchestra’s work. And let’s not forget the awesome, rapid-fire percussion served by Tim Lane and Jamie Graham.
Acheson fills his 100 or so tracks with a wide range of sounds to make for an interesting blend of samples and instrumentation. ‘Out of Nowhere‘ can be praised for its violin or upright bass, but there are also samples of audiences, human voices, creeking doors, you name it. The percussion works just as well in a slower tempo, as is shown by the serene ‘Stammer,’ whose trumpets linger beautifully in the background. That song sets off the final three offerings, which come in a more mellow and interesting form than the rest of the release.
‘Undergrowth‘ builds sublimely from as some sort of forest awakening as the sedated strings give way to an emerging beat and a clarinet. Despite the onsluaght of instruments, layers and ideas, they all come together without infringing upon one another. This may be the greatest feat of the release, and it’s especially prevalent on the concluding track, which even boasts a jazzy piano without sounding forced.
Night Walks is an exercise in musical lavishness, and it’s not really fair to be appraising on a third or fourth listen. Let it build, repeatedly, and see where it takes you.
words Sven CarlssonHidden Orchestra: Strange
Hidden Orchestra website