Friday, April 25, 2014

North Sea Radio Orchestra - Birds (2008 England) @320 [AvantProg]

Let’s start with the name. North Sea Radio Orchestra has to be one of the most evocative monikers in recent years, conjuring up all kinds of images, ideas and emotions - incurably romantic. This romance aims much farther than a pleasing title though. As on their eponymous 2006 debut, the group draw on English poetry for lyrical inspiration. On Birds there are three pieces by William Blake ('The Angel', 'A Poison Tree' and 'The Wound'), one by Chaucer ('Now Welcom Somer') and one by Tennyson ('Move Eastward Happy Earth'). Then there's the music: made up of classical and acoustic guitars, chamber organ, many solo voices, piano, various woodwind instruments, percussion and violin, North Sea Radio Orchestra couldn’t sound more out of time. This is not to say that they feel dated, it's just peculiarly not now. But this isn’t so simple either, as there is a feeling within the music that could only come from now. Despite their entirely non-rockist existence, it’s their ability to bend their compositions into song form that see them being praised to the heavens.

And if there is ever a whiff of austerity, its counterbalanced by the sheer listenability of the music. You could play this to the family on Christmas Day and everyone would probably love it. Equally, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such unforced music - no matter what conceptual considerations might have gone into this, it just sounds so… natural.

But equally, English ‘tradition’ has never been more prominent than now. Ghost Box and the whole Hauntology genre, the newly-reissued Robert Wyatt and a heightened interest in obscure folk make North Sea Radio Orchestra a lot less anachronistic than they might have done a few years ago. Yet tradition is warped a lot more obviously by those mentioned above. The North Sea Radio Orchestra are certainly original, but their twists in England’s fabric are blessed with far more subtle.

1. The Angel (2:13)
2. The Wound (3:55)
3. Copt Gliders (4:49)
4. Move Eastward, Happy Earth (4:08)
5. A Poison Tree (2:16)
6. The Flower (3:54)
7. Harbour Wall (3:58)
8. Guitar Miniature #2 (1:22)
9. Phantom (2:11)
10. Personent Hodie (3:25)
11. Now Welcom Somer (6:15)
12. Golden Cage (2:48)

Nicola Baigent: clarinet
Luke Crooks: bassoon
Ben Davies: piano, chamber organ
Harry Escott: cello
Craig Fortnam: guitars, chamber organ, piano, voice
Sharron Fortnam: lead voice
James Larcombe: monosynth, chamber organ
Sarah Longe: violin
Dug Parker: voice
Geraldine Peach: oboe
Hugh Wilkinson: percussion
Brian Wright: violin


  1. Can't download it. Is the link or/and the file all right?

  2. I downloaded it right now without problems.
    What kind of error are you getting?

    1. Worked just fine, now. Thank ya!

  3. Such a wonderful album. Your taste in this obscure music is just superb. Thank you so much.

    1. Yes Brian.
      North Sea Radio Orchestra was a found!
      They do a very delicate and creative sound with a right balance between dissonances and nice melodies.
      A strong Zappa influence.
      Today one of my prefered bands.

  4. Amigo, no te he dejado comentarios a las bandas, solo he agradecido. Quisiera decirte que amo toda esta musica influenciada por el rock pero con mucho de lo folk de cada pais, eso está entre mis musicas preferidas.
    Solo puedo seguir agradeciéndote y esperar que sigas adelante con esto tan maravilloso que compartis con nosotros.
    Otra gran abrazo, Osvaldo

  5. Muy agradecido estoy Amigo! Qué maravillosa música hace ésta gente. !


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