Unveiling the Hidden Orchestra

The Hidden Orchestra seems to have turned the idea of a band upside down, in this band it is the two drummers and the bassist who carry the show. This experimental jazz group from Edinburgh is a bunch of very talented musicians who know quite well what the listeners love to hear. Wikipedia calls them a Electronic Jazz collective, whatever that is. The core act, the drummers are fabulous, their expertise span across genres like drum and bass, hip hop and break beats. The interesting thing about these guys is that even though they use synthesized beats a lot, the main rhythm section is acoustic. And this coupled with violin, harp and flute gives their music its love at the first listen (LAFL) thing.

I chanced upon Hidden Orchestra while listening to Stereomood‘s “Working” playlist. This song called Dust is a LAFL song. The song borrows Ravel’s Bolero’s structure and has classical violin and a wind instrument I couldn’t quite identify woven into it. The violin touches and military march beats are very skillfully mixed. The transition into the DnB beats from the march rhythm declares the class of these musicians.

The song flight EP is a soothing piece of music. Its string section is beautifully arranged with the harp and violin playing counterpoint as I understand it. And through this you have a super bass guitar riff playing through out. The whole experience is very uplifting, rich with sounds of bells, flute and piano. The song reminded me of this song by Florence+The Machine which also features harp in a prominent role.

This song has a slight rain falling on the tin roof sound (or paper fluttering in the wind) which permeates the whole 6 minutes. Starting with a 4/4 Jazz beat it slowly grows in complexity. Then the clockwork beats morph into a transformer-like drum and bass rhythm. It is a very nice example of how the band uses the two drummers to interplay and complement each other. The song sort of rises in a crescendo towards the end.

The HO has released an album “Night Walks” on Tru Thoughts Records and this work has won them praise from critics and fans alike. If you like dark, ambient, jazzy, experimental, energetic music then listening to Hidden Orchestra will give you a memorable experience. Check out their Facebook page.