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North Sea Radio Orchestra - Dronne

  by Nicky Crewe

published: 6 / 9 / 2016

North Sea Radio Orchestra - Dronne
Label: Household Mark
Format: CD


Melancholic and intense yet compelling fourth album from experimental British act North Sea Radio Orchestra

North Sea Radio Orchestra are a chamber orchestra for our time, melding classical instrumentation with a folk music influence that owes something to Vaughan Williams. Add synthesizers and delicate melodic vocals to the mix and it creates something very special. This is their fourth album, and comes after a four year break. Interestingly during this time Craig Fortnam immersed himself in Robert Wyatt’s music when he was asked to create arrangements of Wyatt’s work for a festival in Lyon. Taking on the joint role of composer and producer means that a balance has to be struck between spontaneity, improvisation and arrangement. 'Dronne' shows how creative this tension between freedom and control can be. This collection of songs and instrumental pieces wasn’t intended to follow a theme, but as so often happens, life intervenes. 'Alsace Lorraine' started life as a lullaby and became a song of solace in grief for Craig and Sharron Fortnam. 'Dronne' is based on a composition written for a friend’s funeral. Music that can accompany you through major life events is particularly precious. It’s a beautifully crafted collection. Sharron Fortnam’s delicate and wistful vocals are heard to great advantage on the short melodic piece 'Vishnu Schist' and 'Queen of All the Day and Night'. There’s a poignancy to the shared vocals on 'Alsace Lorraine'. 'Guitar Miniature No.4' is a short piece with a troubadour feel. 'Dinosaurus Rex Parts 1 and 2' are instrumentally complex with a pleasantly jolly mood. A cover of Robert Wyatt’s 'The British Road' appears twice, the second time as a radio edit. It has a pastoral, folky and timeless quality that connects with Wyatt’s contribution to contemporary music. The title track Dronne is almost wholly improvised, based on a piece composed for a funeral. It has a magical mood, with layers of sounds from instruments and synthesisers flowing over a drone. 'Dronne' is also the name of a river in France and there’s a real sense of sound washing over the listener like water, soothing and healing. This album will be welcomed by fans of North Sea Radio Orchestra and it’s a lovely introduction to their music for those unfamiliar with their work.

Track Listing:-
1 Arcade
2 Vishnu Schist
3 The British Road
4 Guitar Miniature No. 4
5 Queen of All the Day and Night
6 Dronne
7 Alsace Lorraine
8 Dinosaurus Rex, Pt. 1
9 Dinosaurus Rex, Pt. 2

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Birds (2008)
Pastoral second album from the North Radio Sea Orchestra, whose with their use of musical instruments from the medieval age, have created an album that is very English as well as being of rare beauty and musical brilliance
North Sea Radio Orchestra (2007)

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