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Edinburgh-based Hidden Orchestra combine two live drummers, organic samples and dubby basslines to make cinematic, emotive, percussive music. Their sound, resplendent with layers of intense soundscapes, takes audiences on a deep and truly original sonic journey containing elements of jazz, classical, drum’n’bass, rock and hip hop, moulded into a coherent whole.
Debut album “Night Walks”, released on Tru Thoughts in September 2010, has been met with critical acclaim (including BBC Radio 1 Introducing’s “Album of the Month” and iDJ’s top albums of 2010; radio play from BBC R3′s Late Junction, Laurent Garnier, FIP, RTS, NME, Radio 1 Prague and many more worldwide) and sparked a genuine and organic buzz among music fans, with a huge demand to experience the music in a live setting. A deluxe vinyl edition of the album was released in January 2011 on cult German label Denovali Records, and is now already on its second pressing.
The album was part-funded by the Scottish Arts Council, and features a selection of distinguished Scottish jazz/folk/classical guest musicians. An intense and rewarding listening experience, the album 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 bandleader Joe Acheson’s words, “the brooding reflections of a solitary walk through the still, restless night”.
Hidden Orchestra have a very eclectic fanbase, which could be born from the fact that the emphasis is on being experimental and accessible at the same time, creating music based on feeling and energy, rather than image or fashion. Impossible to pigeonhole, the band have previously won the guitar/indie/ rock band-dominated T-Break competition to play at T in the Park, while simultaneously being listed by Radio Scotland in the A-Z of the greatest Scottish jazz artists of all time. In addition to their own headline gigs, Hidden Orchestra have supported acts including Aim, Bonobo, Gilles Peterson, Jaga Jazzist, Craig Armstrong, The Bays (…and, ahem, Coolio). Their beautifully-crafted, explosive live show, where the core quartet is augmented with visuals, cello and brass, has cemented their reputation as one the UK’s
most unique and watchable up-coming outfits.
They have recently completed an extensive European tour, playing in 12 countries in March and April 2011. They made numerous appearances on radio and TV in several countries, including national TV in Bulgaria and a live performance on German radio network WDR. This followed the ecstatic response to their tour of the UK last November, which saw a phenomenal turnout for a debut act, with all shows at or near capacity, and garnered outstanding reviews, including an iDJ Magazine spread comparing the experience of their live show to that of the great Cinematic Orchestra.
Upcoming gigs this summer include an exclusive 10-piece lineup on the West Holts (formerly Jazz/World) stage at Glastonbury, and other festivals around Europe including North Sea Jazz in Rotterdam, Pohoda in Slovakia, Outlook in Croatia, Festineuch in Switzerland, and jazz festivals including Copenhagen, Stuttgart, Brecon and Ljubljana.
The band is founded on Acheson’s exceptional musical upbringing and career as an established composer, music producer and radio documentary maker (recently nominated for “Best Feature” at the Sony Awards 2011, as presenter/producer/composer of BBC World Service documentary Sound of Snow and Ice).