If you are not already familiar with the intoxicating sonic alchemy of Hidden Orchestra, the release of Reorchestrations by Denovali Records offers an opportunity to dive in and enjoy some of the most exhilarating and sophisticated sounds to flow through your headphones.
The album pulls together a seven tracks produced by band leader Joe Acheson since 2012 into one cohesive collection, including two which are previously unreleased. Dubbing them reorchestrations rather than remixes is entirely apropos when you consider both the approach and the end product:
Densely textured, the tracks are beat-driven, sophisticatedly chopped and reprogrammed – delicate classical textures and field recordings with deep bass and complex layers of acoustic drums. Unlike many remixes, these sensitive and non-destructive Reorchestrations’ mostly leave the original track intact, and add layers of rhythms and notes which extend the arrangements and subvert the harmonies of the original tracks – resulting in expansive augmented reinterpretations rather than complete reworkings. – Denovali
The set begins with a strong one-two in punch in the form of an effervescent rendering of ‘Cross Hands’ by label mates Piano Interrupted, lifted from their stellar 2013 release The Unified Field, followed by ‘5 Steps’ from by Clarinet Factory’s 2010 album Out of Home. Both tracks showcase the subtle touch and potent dynamics of double drummers Jamie Graham and Tim Lane pushed by Acheson’s nimble bass lines.
The next several pieces are selected from solo work done by close associates of the band – Poppy Ackroyd and Mary Macmaster (both band members), and Tomáš Dvořák aka Floex (a frequent collaborator and live guest performer. ‘Lyre Grounds’ fuses and reworks material from Ackroyd’s outstanding solo debut Escapement with an especially delicate touch that suits her intricate works. ‘Thograinn Thograinn’, taken from the 2008 Love and Reason by Macmaster/Hay, offers an invigorating percussion driven take on a fine modern trad piece and ‘Saturnin Fire and the Restless Ocean’ from the 2013 Gone EP is a wonderful murumuration of sounds with Dvořák’s clarinet swooping and soaring on propulsive currents of air pumped in by Acheson and company.
Finally, the album veers into downtempo, trip-hop, and jazz territory to close out with a slick rendering of ‘Sleep Key’ by Russian producer Long Arm followed by ‘The Revival’, a spirited piece that has become a staple of Hidden Orchestra’s exciting live performances.
Reorchestrations is a fine summary of the exciting work Acheson and the band have been doing over the past several years and comes together beautifully in album form to make for a great ride and a stellar addition to any summer playlist. The recording is on offer from Denovali on both CD and vinyl as well as MP3 (320 kbps).
Information and ordering: http://www.denovali.com/hiddenorchestra/
‘Saturnin Fire and the Restless Ocean (Hidden Orchestra remix)’ from Reorchestrations
Listen to the original version: