"The "Flight" EP, out on 7th November, is the second official single from Edinburgh based quartet Hidden Orchestra, who released their stunning debut album 'Night Walks' on Denovali Records and Tru Thoughts in September 2010, and have seen their star continue to rise in the intervening year with an ever-growing media and word-of-mouth buzz. Highly in demand as a live act, their hectic touring schedule this year alone has taken in over 20 countries as their incredible music has worked its way into hearts and minds the World over, and this single brings eagerly anticipated new material and remixes.
The quartet are formed around the duelling drum kits, percussion and electronic pads of drummers Tim Lane and Jamie Graham, and completed with the piano and violin of Poppy Ackroyd and the bass and samples of bandleader and composer Joe Acheson. The result is explosive, percussive, and resplendent with layers of intense soundscapes that take 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.
The lead track on this new EP, "Flight" is the first brand new material to be released since the album came out; "Flight" started out life as part of a live film soundtrack project, and evolved into this intense and transporting piece, which at almost eight minutes long sees composer and bandleader Joe Acheson exploring a dubby avenue, with a strong half-time feel running against a faster double-time context. Dotted rhythms in the kicks and snares and an occasional bass wobble interplay with acoustic basses and acoustic percussion including castanets, metal pipes, snare drums and ride cymbals. The jazz influence that often characterises Hidden Orchestra's work is barely there, giving way to a very strong folk feel. Acheson expands: "This track is the strongest testimony yet to the last eleven years I have been living in Scotland - you can clearly hear the folk influence creeping into various aspects of the melodies, harmonies, and instrumentation."
Harpist Mary Macmaster features heavily in the track, playing the clarsach - a traditional Scottish wire-strung harp. A legendary figure and a veteran of the live folk scene in Scotland, Mary has performed with Hidden Orchestra a number of times this year in special live shows where they have been able to augment their usual quartet with an extended line-up - including Glastonbury Festival, North Sea Jazz, Edinburgh Jazz Festival and Insider Festival. "Flight" also features the band's two most regular live guest musicians reprising their appearances on 'Night Walks' - Su-a Lee (cello) and Fraser Fifield (low whistle and soprano sax) - and in addition plays host to a cameo appearance on clarinet from the celebrated Czech producer Tomas Dvorak (aka Floex, who also created the remix of "Dust" for this release).
The single will be available on beautifully packaged 10" vinyl, care of Denovali Records, featuring "Dust (Floex Remix)" remix as the B-side. It will also be available as a limited edition pressing, including an extra disc featuring exclusive "no-drums" and "drums-only" versions of "Flight". The unique idea for these alternate versions occurred to Acheson because the drums in Hidden Orchestra are such a feature that they stand up on their own; and conversely, splitting the track in this way also reveals all the layers of orchestration that can occasionally be lost underneath the thickness of the drum textures. The artwork for this single features one of Acheson's favourite works by Norman Ackroyd, who also made the etching used for "Night Walks".