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Hidden Orchestra

Hidden Orchestra is an "imagined orchestra" created by composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Joe Acheson, its sole constant member. Recordings feature a wide variety of guest musicians from different musical backgrounds; they're recorded separately and combined by Acheson in his studio to create the illusion of an orchestra. His dark, orchestral textures are layered with field recordings, basses, and layers upon layers of drums and percussion. Originally formed in Edinburgh in 2009 and currently based in Brighton, Acheson also serves as musical director and assembles musicians to perform live. Among regular concert members are pianist and violinist Poppy Ackroyd and drummers Tim Lane and Jamie Graham. Their debut album, Night Walks, was greeted with unanimous critical acclaim as writers fell over themselves trying to describe the project's exotic sound. It prompted Hidden Orchestra to follow up almost immediately with the 10" EP Flight and a tour. 2012's sophomore full-length Archipelago flirted with everything from modal jazz and Sufi music to bird songs, surf and wind sounds, Magma-esque prog rock, and electronic abstraction -- much of it danceable. Response to the recording and the live show was impressive, and two volumes of Archipelago Remixes were issued in 2013 and 2014. Reorchestrations was a covers album that included two pieces by Ackroyd and one by guest clarinetist Tomas Dvorak (aka Floex). Though Acheson was essentially remixing these tracks, he left them all melodically intact. He added rhythms, his upright bass, and layers of textured pitches derived from the electronics of the originals, thus expanding them. 2016's Wingbeats was, in essence, a seven-part suite built on field-recorded bird songs altered to include a wide swath of electronic sounds and sometimes unidentifiable instrumentation. Dawn Chorus, issued the following year, offered long pieces and even darker backdrops amid its weave of timbres, textures, musical colors, and ambient spaces. It is widely considered HO's ultimate recording to date. It spawned the Dawn Chorus Remix Collection in 2018 and featured contributions from Nostalgia 77, Max Cooper, Floex, and Matthew Herbert, among others.
© Thom Jurek /TiVo


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