Journey of folk and chamber music hall
Touring UK 1st to 14th Sept 2013
Arlet’s music is located somewhere between the folk club and the chamber music hall. Propelled by the restless creativity of accordionist and composer Aidan Shepherd, their sound brings together the primary colours of the orchestra – strings, woodwind and brass – and adds an indefinable irridescent shimmer. The joyful melodicism and rhythmic intensity of British folk is a shared inspiration, but rather than viewing these traditions as artefacts to be revered, Arlet are drawing on folk idioms as a point of departure for their carefully sculpted, richly harmonic and ornately textured music.
Despite its freshness, this feels like music that has seeped out of the land – it has a pastorality, an Englishness (wisps of Vaughan Williams and his ilk have woven themselves into Aidan’s remarkably mature composition). Sounding sometimes like a chamber quintet letting its hair down and finding a curious groove circa 1973, sometimes like a session band in the corner of a rural pub suddenly slipping through a vortex into another musical dimension, there are few comparisons besides perhaps the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Bristol’s criminally under-recognised Spiro. Like Spiro, Arlet are exploring the possibilities of arranging folk melody in a way which draws on the post-1960s serialist and minimalist composers (Reich, Glass, et al.) while achieving a musical vision closer in joyous and exuberant spirit to the music of Terry Riley.
An organic collective, performing with continually permuting personnel, often in beautiful, unusual and unexpected settings, Arlet has drawn in players from Canterbury’s vibrant current music scene, both its psychedelic/progressive/funk branch (Zoo For You, Boot Lagoon, Lapis Lazuli) and its folk scene (Triskele) to create something forward-looking and intricately structured, yet free-spirited and timeless. With their debut self-titled EP (co-produced by Joel Magill of Canterbury’s ascending psych-prog visionaries Syd Arthur), Arlet have just added one more gem to the repository of the world’s recorded musical treasures.
Josh King – Thank Folk For That
“Amongst all the stomping, Glasto-headlining, electro-fused folk going on today, it is easy to overlook certain bands who stay true to a more traditional kind of music. Arlet are a six-piece folk ensemble who, in their debut EP, make the kind of music that could soundtrack anything from a country fete, to a midsummer party in the woods, to a dream about flying. What drew me to Arlet was the organic talent and feeling that bursts through with each track, because they make the kind of wonderful, stirring, instrumental, orchestral music that not just folk music, but music in general, is founded. Like Yann Tiersen injected with a good English country spirit, Arlet – with violins, clarinets, accordions and more – make music with a wide and very natural appeal.”
Mike Hough – Bright Young Folk
“Entirely instrumental, the music straddles the boundary between folk and classical, combining instruments such as double bass and clarinet with the folk sounds of the accordion and guitar. Arlet is a very contemporary and fresh sounding EP. Fine summer listening.”
Brendan Power – BBC Folk Awards Best Duo 2012 – Tim Edey and Brendan Power
“An unusually successful synthesis of folk, classical and jazz influences. Intelligent compositions and unnervingly tight ensemble playing from a band obviously committed to their music.”
Debs Earl – Folk in the Barn
‘”different and very beautiful music, Aidan and friends have something special here…”
“The EP features 4 beautiful compositions, recorded live in a school hall in Kent. Engineered by Zoo For You’s Barney Pidgeon and mixed by Syd Arthur’s Joel Magill, the EP brings together a host of creative people from across the current Canterbury music scene. Arlet also called in Seth Deuchar of theBoot Lagoon who has contributed a brilliant remix of ‘Jesus Mi Amigo’, which brings together influences of Steve Reich, Aphex Twin and Mount Kimbie, and rounds off the album very nicely.”
“Instrumental mastery both hypnotic and climactic”