Review Summary: A mesmerizing amalgamation of a lot of things you like.
At severe risk of being pretentious, Paradise Lost:
And higher than that wall a circling row
Of goodliest trees, loaden with fairest fruit,
Blossoms and fruits at once of golden hue,
Appeared, with gay enamelled colours mixed:
On which the sun more glad impressed his beams
, the 2010 effort from Hidden Orchestra
, is certainly loaden with fruit of gay enamelled colours mixed. Primarily the work of Joe Acheson, Hidden Orchestra layers electronic music with jazz, field recordings, and orchestral instruments into dense compositions. This should be a task unto itself, but the thoughtful and immersive result that is Night Walks
is an achievement.
“Antiphon” (inspiration for the Alfa Mist album of the same name?) is a perfect opener, a pure demonstration of creativity. Reverse sounds and electro-acoustic elements flicker over breakbeat drums that eventually build into a frantic crescendo. What sounds like someone having a ball experimenting, the album fleshes out into a jazz hop dream. Complex and dark and spanning upright bass and drum machines to strings and horns, and littered with spoken word and nature samples, Night Walks
still doesn’t feel like a chore to listen to.
Alternating between ambient jazz moments thick with noir and more cacophonous routes of administration via multi-genre electronica, Night Walks
fills its runtime with these dynamic peaks and valleys. Its unpredictability requires attention, performing cinema from scene to scene. Hidden Orchestra captures a boisterous and intricate hour of your time in clashes of sound that seem to always be searching for more instead of a way out. “Undergrowth” fittingly takes the album to its conclusion with a slower, simpler approach as if to deliver you through the kaleidoscopic wilderness you just endured.
is a warm hypnosis long to be a staple of whichever style you use to describe it.