The One Ensemble
Wayward the Fourth

Cover Image
The One Ensemble - Wayward the Fourth

December 2006

US CD Secret Eye AB-OC-32

  1. Joker Burlesque
  2. Neither One Thing
  3. Shapes Disguised As Sizes
  4. The Venerable Eleventh Melody
  5. Smok - [MP3]
  6. Resonant Kings
  7. Horsehead Waltz
  8. Fog And Tumble
  9. The Following Thunder
  10. Berlinda - [MP3]
  11. Another Cup To Drown

Daniel Padden - guitar, piano, clarinet, voice etc
Chris Hladowski - bouzouki, bow and clarinet
Peter Nicholson - cello
Aby Vulliamy - viola
Fergus Hetherington plays vioin on the introduction to 'Joker Burlesque'.
Hanna Tuulikki sings on 'Neither One Thing'.

The heir apparant to Moondog and Zoltan Kodaly, The One Ensemble blend European folk, narrative, popular and chamber forms to create modern compositions that provide attention-grabbing hooks and thought-provoking challenges. At times formal and at others improvisational, it is difficult to pin down the One Ensemble sound. Influences range from the classic pop-psychedelia of Robert Wyatt to the deep experimental drone of Third Ear Band. Blissful free jazz, delicate acoustic out-folk, tape collages, Eastern raga and mystical modern minimalism all peacefully coexist in the One Ensemble's uniquely beautiful universe.

At times turbulent and at others sombre: the music of Daniel Padden and his One Ensemble covers a lot of emotional ground. Formerly a solo venture, Padden - himself a key member of the hydra-headed Volcano the Bear - is now joined by Chris Hladowski, Peter Nicholson and Aby Vulliamy. Hladowski and Vulliamy, together with Hanna Tuulikki (who lends her voice to this recording) also release music under the moniker Nalle. Together, this topsy-turvy Glaswegian quartet put together tiny symphonies that incorporate elements of Eastern European folk, minimalist drone and string-laced chamber psych. The One Ensemble's humbly haunted, multifarious tales look back to post-WWII Europe, following displaced settlers voyaging across the Atlantic towards the unknown. Cello, bouzouki, clarinet, guitar and piano all play a key role in reciting the woeful tale of humanity's uncertain future. The most prominent and effective instrument however, is Padden's plaintive wordless vocal, which at times evokes spirits formerly unearthed by Jeff Mangum. The intoxicating brew crafted by the deft hands of The One Ensemble is not difficult to swallow; its complex palette is cleverly disguised with beautiful melodies and a healthy dose of hopefulness. Padden and his band of minstrels have created a truly unique and engaging record, one that should be celebrated for the rare beauty contained within. Highly recommended! 9/10 -- Bryon Hayes (3 April, 2007) Foxy Digitalis

I've been a fan of Daniel Padden's skewed and intriguing songwriting for some time but the interplay between the 4 players on here lifts it onto a truly magical level'Influences include heavy doses of Eastern European folk music, music hall, 20th Century chamber music and Robert Wyatt but no-one else puts these elements together or sounds quite like The One Ensemble. One of the contenders for album of the year. - Gayle Brogan, Boa Melody Bar

Had this one a while and been trying hard to summon the words to fully capture it's strange beauty. Daniel Padden is one fourth of the always fascinating Volcano the Bear. He's also released some delectable solo albums under the One Ensemble of Daniel Padden name for the last four years. What he did then was a kind of minimal free jazz/prog folk response to what folks like Robert Wyatt and Brian Eno were doing early in their careers with multi-tracks and instruments all performed by Padden. As with the recent Live at VPRO CD-R (Brainwashed), Wayward the Fourth is the work of a genuine ensemble, quartet to be exact, captured in a studio. The songs are gorgeous, twisted amalgams of European and American ethnic musics, free jazz, chamber music, minimalism and experimental plateaus rarely glimpsed in the western world, dispersed with just the right emotional -- ranging from giddy to somber -- intensity. There's vocals on a few tracks, a few bizarre deconstructions on some others, but what strikes me most about this is the sheer musicality, the deliberate attention to space, detail and compositional structure. One Ensemble albums have always sounded like this, but just as with Volcano the Bear's brilliant Classic Erasmus Fusion (Beta-Lactam Ring), the ensemble approach has reached new depths of cinematic, multi-hued brilliance. Easily one of the best '07 has coughed up so far. - Lee Jackson, Womblife

For this release Padden has decided to drop the last part of the name, as this is more of a group effort than a solo affair. Here we see Padden teaming up with members of Nalle and Scatter and the somewhat burlesque results fascinate. Intoxicating folk from Eastern Europe is an element that's visible throughout, but this Glasgow-based quartet approaches the style in as many different ways as there are tracks. You'll find psychedelia, free jazz, chamber music, drones and general sonic goofiness riding the melodic waves of this equally joyous and saddening aural journey. The one looking will likely find a whole range of different influences but the outcome still holds together amazingly well and strikes me as the perfect soundtrack for a script yet to be written by Emir Kusturica's unknown cousin. Dreamy haunted carnival songs that are surprisingly danceable and catchy. Perhaps not as intensely beautiful as Padden's solo music but nonetheless incredibly charged music that'll circle over your head long after that imaginary film of yours is over. - Mats Gustafsson, Ptolemaic Terrascope

The One Ensemble's music comes in waves: smokey ones that dance and weave in and out of audible frequencies until they fabricate a space all their own with rules that don't exist for other compositions and definitions that betray the very term. The exotic brew of the east and Padden's own Volcanic whimsy allow the music on Wayward the Fourth to go any direction it pleases and often the instruments and voices employed take sudden turns and execute acrobatic maneuvers that'd make the most talented contortionist wonder about their constitution. The opening "Joker Burlesque" announces itself quietly, floating into existence on a wave of buzzing strings and odd hums. With the addition of sharply plucked guitars and unmistakably One-ish vocal calls, the album begins to take off, stepping deftly about the room like some hypnotic dancer with seductive intent. As the song washes through the remainder of its nine minute duration, a strange and unsettling calm begins to settle in and Wayward the Fourth sounds as though it might come to an early and quiet end, harkening back to the Ensemble's debut release. "Neither One Thing" quickly erases that notion with a quirky chorus of high-pitched voices, a walking acoustic guitar, and the simple flourishes of other stringed instruments. There's something truly child-like about the music and as "Shapes Disguised as Sizes" begins to stomp about it becomes difficult not to imagine this as the soundtrack to some very imaginative child's mind. Being carried away by all the sensuous arrangements, off-kilter voices, and dance-inducing rhythms is easy and imagining a world of strange creatures inhabiting the world this music exists in is even easier. "Smok," for instance, brings to life a world of sailors weary from the sea and drunk on the docks, celebrating the chance to relieve themselves from work for one night. The music rotates and swings to and fro before engaging a cinematic aura and developing an entire story about the history of the sailors and their voyage. The second-longest piece on the record, "Resonant Kings," sounds precisely as it is named: it swells and whispers gently underneath the steady playing of a circular acoustic melody highlighted by dramatic and urgent strings literally propelling the song along. The sharp rhythmic dynamics and brisk cadence thrust this song to the center of the album and give it a heavy weight. This is less a reverie and more an intense moment replayed over and over again, with the consequences always held just out of view. Padden and company do a superb job and switching between these moods and between various modes of expression, whether playful or serious. This easily matches the performance on Live at VPRO radio as a whole and presents a whole range of ideas that sit extremely well next to each other. It's proof that the genius heard there was no mere fluke and that Padden and his band still have a lot of music left in them. - Lucas Schleicher, Brainwashed