Orchestra of Samples by artists Addictive TV has been an enormous undertaking! Ten years spent recording over 250 musicians improvising while touring and performing internationally, then sampling them all to create new music. Using music to help breakdown cultural barriers, they 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 (Addictive TV were to perform Orchestra of Samples at UNESCO’s headquarters in Paris in June 2020, which was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic).
Taking recording equipment with them on nearly every gig and trip abroad for many years, they 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. They also became artists-in-residence with a few venues/recording studios over the years, 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 very 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. 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 guitar specialist Alejandro de Valera, French rapper Edgar Sekloka (aka Suga) and many others.
With massive thanks to everyone who supported us and believed in the project, including venue partners, funding bodies, Stuart Fortune and of course every single ultra-talented musician who took part – we quite literally would not have been able to create this without you!