North Sea Radio Orchestra

And speaking of William D. Drake, I believe his hands make an appearance in this video (although I could be wrong).



That's from the new North Sea Radio Orchestra album, I a moon. In a word, it's fantastic. I'll have a bit more on it at the end of the month. NSRO is Craig Fortnam and friends (that's him on guitar). Craig also released one of my favourite albums of last year under the name Arch Garrison. Here's a few thoughts on that at the time.

Arch Garrison - King of the Down (Double 6)
Arch Garrison is mainly Craig Fortnam of North Sea Radio Orchestra. This is a gorgeous album of ancient-sounding English folk music, with a few nods to modernity. Song titles like Stone on the pound, Thames Fluvius and Roman Road give a hint of tradition but this never feels clichéd. Great tunes help, as usual, and an irrepressibly upbeat mood.

That upbeat mood is something carried over into his other band. NSRO classes itself as a chamber group of sorts. I'm not exactly sure what that means but, at the very least, you could find traces of krautrock, medieval folk music and avant-garde classical music in this tune. That could all amount to a recipe for disaster but it's pop music at heart, I think, and wonderfully arranged so it manages to work brilliantly.

Here's a bit of background blurb from the band's website:

In the October of 2002, composer and guitarist Craig Fortnam found himself walking through the City of London with a sackful of tunes slung over his shoulder; tied to a stick (Dick Whittington style). Now, as all music comes from the air, the sack was all that stopped Craig's tunes from escaping and following the Thames out to sea. Needing a substance with the weight of history behind it, Craig bent down and began to scoop up handfuls of London clay, folding and kneeding it into the melodies and chords from his sack. As this was such hard work, he got his wife, Sharron, to help. As she folded and kneeded, she began to sing, so her beautiful voice found it's way into the expanding mixture.

I don't know exactly what to make of that. It's a bit puzzling and a bit endearing. A little bit like the music. Let's go back and have another listen to Berliner luft.

NSRO play at St Giles in the Fields in London on July 15th, along with William D. Drake (including his hands) and Firefly.

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