Orchestra of Samples has been a huge undertaking! Eight years spent recording musicians improvising around the world, while on the road touring. We wanted to create a project that brought together as many musicians as we could from all backgrounds, both cultural and musical – an impractical task in the real world but not in the digital world of sampling! So taking recording equipment with us on nearly every gig for years, we filmed hundreds of musicians from countries, among many others, Brazil, Mexico and India to Senegal, across Europe, China, Kazakhstan and The Philippines, even Egypt during the Arab Spring revolution. We also became artist-in-residence with a few venues over the years, connecting us with dozens of artists for recording sessions, from places including Togo, Cameroon, Rwanda and Algeria. We then cut up thousands of recorded samples, creating new music, recontextualising musicians as if they played together, when in reality none of them ever met or heard recordings from each other.
No tracks were written beforehand, the samples would dictate the direction in the studio, no musicians played in a pre-defined key, they all just improvised and our creative process was simply to just see which samples worked together. Then afterwards, in some cases, we wrote or collaborated and added lyrics. Orchestra of Samples is an exploration into serendipity and musical probability, it’s about bringing people together who wouldn’t normally perform together, and more to the point their instruments which wouldn’t normally be heard together! Working outside of normal musical conventions has really opened our eyes and helped discover incredibly unexpected combinations of instruments – some of which we didn’t even know about, such as the dombyra, the boudègue, a cristal baschet or tanbur and many others!
With massive thanks to everyone who supported us and believed in the project, including venue partners, funding bodies, Stuart Fortune, Fu at Dog & Rabbit and of course every single ultra-talented musician who took part – we quite literally would not have been able to create this without you!