Kate Simko has produced strong work in both the electronic and the composed-classical worlds: this full-length collaboration with the London Electronic Orchestra combines both. The risk with this kind of thing is that one element can feel tacked on to the other, but no such problem here: this album is a fully-formed suite of lush strings, shimmering samples and skipping rhythms. Includes a cover of an xx tune and a collaboration with Katy B.
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Composed classical-electronic music from Kate Simko and her all-female string ensemble London Electronic Orchestra have released an album! ‘Finally!’, I hear you cry. Well, the first track in is a cracker: ‘Shikoku’ has beautifully balanced strings with electronic rhythm, piano and subtle rainforest sounds and exotic bird calls burbling in the mix. Further loose-grooved beats mix with melting strings, crystalline electronics and Eastern melodies to produce some addictive music. ‘Waiting Games’ is the most affecting and effective example of Kate’s craft: intricate melodies from those delicious strings combine in the sweetest way with woodwind and harp and all underpinned with a sexy, sinuous electronic groove. I can never get enough harp, you know. It pops up again to heart-melting effect on ‘Dark Delirium’, a beautiful little piece of gently bumping and swaying orchestral house.
‘One Time Game’ is a lilting dance track with a classic 808-driven house groove, crisp hi-hats, warm synth pads and those strings and harp. Jem Cooke provides the perfectly judged soul vocals. Next comes a cover of a tune by the xx, orchestral style naturally, which makes perfect sense as the influence is clearly there throughout. It’s ‘XX Intro’ -- you know, the one with that plucked guitar riff which has adorned many a television commercial background. The record could probably have survived without its inclusion, but the strings kind of work here. ‘Cairo’ brings the Eastern flavour back with its Egypt-referencing strings plucks and harp. It’s an inevitably shimmering groove. The record ends with ‘Violin Duet No.1’, which as it might suggest is, refreshingly, just that: two violins duetting; with only the merest hint of embellishment from a bass synth low in the mix.
A pleasant if low-key way to end a fun record of classical ensemble electronic grooves.
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