Hidden Orchestra’s eagerly anticipated third album, ‘Dawn Chorus’ (out 16th June) is a highly personal, intricate and unique work from producer and composer Joe Acheson. The album is built around an expansive collection of birdsong and other field recordings, carefully captured across many years in diverse locations around the UK and abroad. Rich in detail and character, these sonic snapshots intertwine with layers of bass, drums, percussion and eclectic instruments – including piano, electro-harp, glockenspiel, Turkish mey and cello – for an emotive and transporting listen.
The first taste of this LP came in late 2016 with the “Wingbeats EP”, which captivated fans and tastemakers alike, the beautiful lead piece being strongly championed by Mary Anne Hobbs and picked for the BBC 6Music Recommends Playlist. Daytime and specialist airplay across BBC 6Music added to other high profile support from the likes of Jamie Cullum (BBC Radio 2), Late Junction (BBC Radio 3), BBC Radio Scotland and The Arts Desk, while the track was accompanied by a video featuring drone footage of breathtaking Icelandic scenery and birdlife.
The “Still” single, now streaming upfront ahead of its official May release, delivers the next exciting glimpse of this LP with a dramatic and dynamic, beat-laden soundscape built around a sonic sketch from Czech group Clarinet Factory layered with drums, strings, brass, piano and field recordings.
The ‘Dawn Chorus’ album will be launched with a gig at London’s Islington Assembly Hall on 29th June; revered around the world for their compelling shows, the live incarnation of Hidden Orchestra combines the duelling beats of two full drum kits (care of Jamie Graham and Tim Lane) with piano and violin from Poppy Ackroyd, and Acheson’s bass and electronics. Their recent performance at The Royal Albert Hall alongside The Pharcyde, Submotion Orchestra, Andreya Triana and Henry Wu was a milestone event building on a dizzying run of gigs this decade, from sellout AV shows at London’s Union Chapel and St John at Hackney to hundreds of headlines and festivals at home and around the world.
‘Dawn Chorus’ follows the ‘Night Walks’ (2010) and ‘Archipelago’ (2012) albums, which established Hidden Orchestra’s beat-heavy and multi-layered sound as a favourite with music fans of all stripes, gaining praise everywhere from The Independent, Clash and XLR8R to BBC 6Music and KCRW. With releases remixed by top producers including submerse, Mungo’s Hi Fi and Floex, Hidden Orchestra’s reworks of other artists include a notable commission for Bryan Ferry’s ‘Avonmore (The Remix Album)’. Anticipation for the new album has also been stoked in recent years by hugely popular mixtapes (which have gained hundreds of thousands of streams), side-projects, and those incendiary live shows.
A sonic experimenter and nature enthusiast, Joe Acheson has always captured field recordings and found sounds to incorporate in his Hidden Orchestra music, as well as using them in his award-winning work as a radio producer and soundtrack composer. Last year saw him developing this with “Marconi & The Lizard” – an EP born of an artist residency at Cornwall’s Lizard Point, commissioned by The National Trust and British Library. Released under the Joe Acheson solo name, this project was greeted with features in The Guardian and The Independent and radio support from Tom Ravenscroft (BBC 6Music) and Late Junction (BBC R3), creating even more interest in Acheson’s exciting musical explorations as the new Hidden Orchestra album continued to take shape in his studio.