Orchestra of Samples is by artists Addictive TV and has been an enormous undertaking! More than ten years spent recording nearly 300 musicians improvising while touring and performing internationally, then sampling them all to create new compositions. Using music to breakdown cultural barriers, the artists wanted a project that brought together as many musicians as possible from all backgrounds, both cultural and musical – an impractical task in the real world but not in the digital world of sampling.
Addictive TV’s Graham Daniels explains more in this short 2020 interview for UNESCO’s Humanities Arts & Society online magazine (UNESCO live streamed a performance of Orchestra of Samples for their 2021 European Humanities Conference).
Taking recording equipment on nearly every gig and trip abroad for many years, they filmed hundreds of musicians from countries including Brazil, Mexico and India to Senegal, across Europe, China, Kazakhstan and The Philippines, even Egypt during the 2011 revolution. They also became artists-in-residence with venues / recording studios, connecting them with dozens more musicians from countries including Togo, Cameroon, Rwanda and Algeria. Addictive TV 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.
Musicians didn’t play in a pre-defined key, they all just improvised individually and the creative process was simply to figure out which samples worked together. Then afterwards, in some cases, they wrote or collaborated and added lyrics. Orchestra of Samples is an exploration into serendipity, it’s about creating a dialogue between different musical cultures and very different instruments. Working in this very unconventional manner has resulted in incredibly unexpected combinations of instruments – some of which are quite rare and unusual, such as the angklung, the boudègue or cristal baschet.
In 2017, an album of Orchestra of Samples was released with German label !K7, and in 2021 new singles were released. Addictive TV have performed the project worldwide at festivals and venues including the UK’s WOMAD and Celtic Connections festivals, Erarta Museum in St Petersburg, Pompidou Centre in Paris, Mexico City’s Centro Nacional de las Artes and Rome’s Museum of Contemporary Arts. Guest musicians often perform on the show and have included world-famous percussionist Dame Evelyn Glennie, sitar virtuoso Baluji Shrivastav OBE, jazz trombonist Dennis Rollins MBE, award-winning Beatbox Collective, fretless guitarist Alejandro de Valera, French rapper Edgar Sekloka (aka Suga) and many others.
For biography and more info about Addictive TV, check out their website. For more info on all the recording sessions and each musician, check out the project’s blog.
Massive thanks to everyone involved, particularly the musicians and venue partners! We’re especially grateful to Arts Council England for their continued support, this project is a true labour of love and hope you enjoy the musical exploration as much as us.
Orchestra of Samples is produced by Graham Daniels and Francoise Lamy. Music composition by Graham Daniels, Michael Neo, Stephen ‘Morf’ Hollands, Mark Vidler and Alejandro de Valera, additional production Jerome Caron, motion graphics Stuart Fortune and all cover artworks by Anna Alcock.