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Review: Hidden Orchestra – Reorchestrations

Multi-instrumentalist composer Joe Acheson returns with his solo studio project Hidden Orchestra, to release a forthcoming album entitled Reorchestrations.

It has been three years since we last heard from the four-piece collective led by frontman Joe Acheson, with their 2012 release Archipelago receiving rather deprecatory reviews from certain critics. With releases on Tru Thoughts & Denovali, as well as touring as a live band in over 30 countries, Hidden Orchestra has gained much momentum in recent years.

Reorchestrations is a remix project, which takes laudable works in classical/ folk/ and experimental electronic styles, to then be reworked by Joe himself, using his unique style of composition and rendering to follow through with enhanced recordings as opposed to transformed frankensteins.

Review of hidden orchestra album reorchestrations on Cone Magazine

The project started life as a remix of Liverpool band Kinetic Fallacy, that later became one of two previously unreleased tracks on the album, ‘The Revival’. The iconic encore track for Hidden Orchestra’s live performances, The Revival is a slow burning presence lulled in by tubular bells, that quickly disembowel themselves in sharp guitar licks, haunting sound effects, and poppy drum signatures. It’s forthright energy juxtaposing against some of the more calming ensembles such as the rework of bandmate Poppy Ackroyd, with It’s delicate piano chords dripping over heavily swung jazz hat’s.

The album feels very early 2000’s Ninja Tune-esque, with concertos like Cross Hands, and the running sounds of Saturnin Fire & the Restless Sounds reminiscent of Amon Tobin or Cinematic Orchestra. There’s imagery of the ocean when listening to Reorchestrations, with crashing sounds and choppy beat construction paving the way for a rather chaotic composition. Yet the jazz swing of the compressed drums, the dusty horns, the Lonnie Liston-Smith double bass, and the wavering clarinet samples transporting you to a smokey New York jazz bar at 4am with Miles Davis in session.

I do however feel this authenticity is drowned somewhat in the over production of certain tracks like The Revival, which feels more like your listening to the score of an action thriller. And the remix of Thograinn Thograinn – Macmaster / Hay seems to drown the delicate harp strings with heavily compressed drum samples, whilst lazy sidechaining of the folk vocals seems to deliver a rather bland artistic output as opposed to forward thing experimental composition.

Saying this though, the album weights itself in merit. With tracks being taken from 2012, this has been a project a long time in the making, featuring melodic symphonies that ooze in production value. It has a real early Bonobo feel to it, and is certainly an album that would grow on you the more it is listened to.

Reorchestrations releases as CD // LP // Digital on Denovali 26 June 2015.



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