UK LP/CD No-Fi NEU013
Daniel Padden's The One Ensemble began as a solo project and quickly morphed into a quartet with the recruitment of Chris Hladowski and Aby Vulliamy of Nalle, and Peter Nicholson. With Padden's leadership, they developed a curious and strident brew of Eastern European folk, chamber music, a pinch of Robert Wyatt and some kind of earthy psychedelic primitivism. Padden has been fortunate in recruiting a band of such polymath virtuosity, giving room for his grand designs to be realised gloriously, both on stage and on record. As The One Ensemble Orchestra, their sound is given the blaze of full technicolour glory as they expand to a septet, exacerbating their collision of the formal and the tribal and oftentimes recalling the soundtrack and mood of The Holy Mountain. They originally expanded to a seven-piece for a commission from Bristol's Venn festival in 2007, and consequently recorded these tracks at Padden's studio. The extra members mean the Ensemble's already rich sound is given further depth and added gravity, while losing none of their dextrous transitions or delicate passages. But when they hit those vocal incantations or rhythmic cascades that fans of their sound love so much, there's undoubtedly an extra magic and drive that is a delight to behold. At times, the Ensemble come on like a mediaeval A Hawk And A Hacksaw, other times a chamber quartet ambushed by Balkan folk terrorists, but they always sound unquestionably themselves, channelling a thousand delicately unrefined, rough, raw and dreamlike voices. Like your favourite meal super-sized, The One Ensemble Orchestra is the esoteric treat you've been promising yourself.
Blending ancient folk, avant-garde chamber music and occasional dalliances with the kind of melodies that might have been lifted from some 1940s film soundtrack, Daniel Padden's The One Ensemble return in an expanded format, now with added players and voices. It's a move that's clearly paid off, and this new record is a unique and enigmatic thing, with tracks like 'The Dig' ranking among the more adventurous takes on the sort of pseudo-classical sounds you'd hear from the likes of Clogs, Balmorhea or 7 Hertz. When vocals crop up they knit nicely into the mix as if they were just another instrument, sounding rather surreal in their strained falsetto on the already rather strange 'The Beam' and adding to the general air of Hermann Nitsch-meets-Sun Ra evident on 'The Sun'. - Boomkat