An Orchestra of Samples recording session with a difference! We spent a long and facinating day recording 80’s icons Wang Chung and their musical inventor friend and Bjork collaborator Henry Dagg and his Sharpsichord! It was the 1980’s and UK band Wang Chung had their massive hit Dance Hall Days, but outside the UK the band had even greater success in the USA with a string of Top 40 hits. Interestingly, their name means “yellow bell” in Chinese and is the first note in the Chinese classical music scale.

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The Beatbox Collective – are a group of top UK beatbox talent, many of them award winners in their respective styles, who all came together to form one high impact and energetic collective! Originally formed in 2011 when they were commissioned by the Shambala Festival to create an exclusive main stage performance, they’ve since gained members, doing the rounds at UK festivals, including Glastonbury, Bestival and Lovebox to name a few. With the group, never are two shows the same and often the line-up of beatboxers is different. For this recording session we had to pleasure of filming four of them…

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After filming musicians in more than 25 countries, we’re now recording sessions on home turf! So headed to Islington in London to spend the day with some of the amazing Inner Vision Orchestra, whose members are all blind! The brain child of blind Indian maestro Baluji Shrivastav, he’s brought together musicians from around the world, with the aim of proving that music really does have the power to transform lives – especially for people without sight, as sound is their way of interacting with the world. The orchestra play everything from Western classical to Indian and world music, some members even played at the London 2012 Paralympic Closing Ceremony.

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June 2014, and while performing Orchestra of Samples at the Timitar music festival in Agadir, Morocco, the festival organised a recording session for us at the local Jazzawiya studios, where many international artists have rehearsed – including, at one time, the legend Bob Marley himself! Guitarist Oussama Belmamoune, from the band Mehdi Nassouli, who were headlining that night at the festival, introduced us to a number of his amazing musician friends who we recorded for the project – including himself, who we recorded first.

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Le Hangar, the excellent venue in the Ivry suburbs of Paris, recently began their first ever artists-in-residence programme and we had the wonderful pleasure of being their very first, with Orchestra of Samples.  The residency allowed us to work with young musicians from both Le Hangar’s music school and the Music Conservatoire of Ivry.

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It’s not often you get the chance to meet admired and long-time highly-regarded actual inventors of musical instruments, but this was one of those rare occasions! So we headed off to France to visit the Baschet studio, just south of Paris. The famous Baschet Brothers, François and Bernard, both in their 90s, pioneered a completely new way of combining sculpture and sound in the early 1950s. François was the musician and sculptor while Bernard was an engineer, and together they worked on creating both original installations and inventing new musical instruments.

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Whilst in Istanbul this month performing our other film remix and mashup set at Ghetto Club we also gave talks about our work at both Istanbul’s School of Audio Engineering and at Bahçeşehir University. The university also arranged for us to film on their roof terrace with the amazing tanbur player Korkutalp Bilgin. The tanbur is the very long necked stringed instrument usually found in Turkey, the Middle East and Southern & Central Asia.

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November 2012 saw us play at the Agora Festival in Bordeaux, France – an amazing festival. The very next day we hooked up with a few local musicians for a day of recording, including with the wonderful cellist and singer-songwriter Agathe Issartier. Despite studying classical music for over 10 years in a conservatoire, she has such a rock attitude and usually plays the cello standing up!

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In early 2012 French venue and recording studios Canal 93 came on board the project, helping to part-fund Orchestra of Samples, offering us a place on their artist-in-residence programme. In June 2012 we headed over to the French capital for a few days of recording in their studios in the Paris suburbs of Bobigny, working with over a dozen amazingly talented musicians, some from as far afield as Algeria and Togo.

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