Glitched Orchestrals: “Dances With Whales” – incorporating orchestral sounds into modern sonic environments

Glitched Orchestrals from London, is a classically trained, eighteen piece orchestra whose style is a hybrid of orchestral music fused with rock riffs and urban beats.  The eighteen piece orchestra is complimented by Emil Scyhren on his Yamaha digital Grand piano, Stefan Magnus on guitar, Binky Bentley on drums and Susu Kawasaki on bass.

glitched-orchestrals-400Unlike most artists anywhere near the electronic hemispheres that are desperate to stay close to current trends or movements, Glitched Orchestrals pretty much follow their own muse with the 12 songs on “Dances With Whales”. They do a stunning job of incorporating orchestral sounds into modern sonic environments.

They don’t treat this blend as a technical and theoretical exercise in fusion; rather, they stir in unique symphonic flourishes that pull the compositions together and make the finished tracks much more unabashedly cinematic, all-embracing and hypnotic than the vast majority of self-conscious, post-modern musicians operating within similar genres today. Moreover, this stuff still sounds current, cool and trendy enough to impress your friends.

Glitched Orchestrals move off in new directions rather than regurgitating tried and tested formulas. “Dances With Whales” is experimental at the core and employs a broad palette of sound and styles; producing majestically atmospheric orchestrations, funky down-beat patterns and even straight-forward jazz grooves.

They focus a lot on rhythm too, but rather than the dry, electronic pulses and patterns of their contemporaries, Glitched Orchestrals turn to Binky Bentley for organic inspiration together with sublimely-kept meter and groove. The percussion interludes are heavy hitting, yet so eloquently integrated that you hardly notice how immense the syncopations are amidst the sometimes tender melodies that accompany them. Prime examples are on “Paikea the Whalerider”, “The Pod”, “The Remora” and “The Whaledancer”.

“Dances With Whales” is a work of dizzying intricacy and variety that offers something different on every track. Emil Scyhren on his digital Grand piano pretty much sets the tone on all of the tracks with shimmering keyboard shadings, while apart from the tasty solo on “The Whaledancer”, Stefan Magnus on guitar gets to shine brightly on  “Scrimshaw” and “The Descent” where he rocks the joint with some downright dirty riffs. Susu Kawasaki on bass meshes all the musical passages together, carefully twisting and weaving between rhythm and melody. Finally, the 18-piece orchestra adds dynamics, depth and chromaticity to an already compelling set of arrangements.

I specifically avoided track-by track descriptions, as the band have their very own eloquent and vivid explanation of each song right HERE. Any other interpretations would be superfluous and presumptuous, suffice to say that Glitched Orchestrals show the way to a really incredible new sound where blending seemingly inimical instruments and styles is both possible and beautiful at the same time.

Very few performers in popular music can truly be called artists and even fewer occupy a genre of their own, but in the case of Glitched Orchestrals this description is more than apt. “Dances With Whales” is truly a work of stunning music, one that all open-minded listeners are urged to pick up immediately!


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Rick Jamm

Journalist, publicist and indie music producer with a fervent passion for electric guitars and mixing desks !

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