Pete Ardron is the driving force behind Orchid-Star and before that world-fusion band Glow. He has worked with Afro Celt Sound System, Afro Celt’s N’Faly Kouyaté and Nathassia, as co-writer and producer, and has remixed for Afro Celt, Nathassia, Terra Nine, Trancient Dreams, Squazoid, Dorothee Munyaneza and others. He has released collaborative albums with Samantha Ray and Kwali Kumara, has conducted at the Royal Albert Hall and received an Hon PhD for his first album from the UK School of Esoteric Crystal Sciences(!)
He releases his 10th solo album (with guests), Unexpected Pleasures, on Nov 4th 2016, on Pink Hampster.
Call it Psybient, Psychill, Psydub, Ethno-chill, World-fusion or whatever, this shows the usual signs of Pete’s main influences - psychedelic, classical, from the turn of the 20th century, and world music, with a strong Indian influence running through much of it. Musically it carries on very much where Orchid-Star’s Birth left off. Having been persuaded to take the band more uptempo for the 2nd album (Faster), Pete started this album at the same time, finally finishing it a decade later.
It is a chocolate box full of gorgeous and very different guest performances, from the epic Hindi/Urdu torch song Mera Dil (my heart) – almost 9 minutes of stunning, passionate wall–to-wall vocals from Psibindi to the entrancing, quirky, random incursions of deaf vocalist Helen Francis into the gentle, dubby title track, sharing the vocal credits with the beautiful morning song of a Scottish blackbird.
Orchid-Star vocalists Samantha Ray and Myo also feature along with 2 tracks from radiant Portuguese singer-songwriter Teresa Gabriel, flautist Harmony Yemanya, a bewitching, genre-blending collaboration with beatjazz wind-control virtuoso Onyx Ashanti (Soul II Soul/Basement Jaxx) who also appeared on Birth, and a cover (the first Pete has ever done) of Ami Tar Thikana Rakhini – a big Bengali hit for Manna Dey in the 1960s, with newcomer Sayak Mitra.
Some things people have said
"It's not often, that upon hearing a new album, you have that certain and immediate feeling that what you are listening to is already a classic, a game changer, a marker for others to follow… ...heavily influenced by the mysterious East and all that it holds, with beautiful indigenous orchestrations, drifting siren-esque vocals, infectious hooks, deep bass lines and swathes of teasing frequencies to lose yourself within. ...an album with so much depth, emotion and honesty. It's filled with tantalising nuances, delightful productions that will stand the test of time and above all it has heritage."
Ian Taylor (Liquid Lounge)
"Nothing Unexpected about the excellence to be had here. Unusual and highly recommended."
Martin Russell (Afro Celt Sound System)
"One word… Wooooaaah! ...The kind of Album that will stay in my iPod and my playlist for a very long time! … All Sounds have their right place and everything blends organically together to hypnotise you with delicious melodies, beautiful voices, groovy modern tribal patterns …."
Jeremy Squazoid (Nutek Chill Records/One Chill Music)
"The whole album felt like sitting in your most comfortable chair with the sun streaming in and having the most gorgeous blissed out Sunday afternoon. Stunning production with immaculate vocals."
Bruce Elliott-Smith (Grammy award winning writer)
Pete is currently rehearsing to take the album out live with Psibindi on vocals
The title track was released on the Diversity in the Isles Vol 1 compilation, March 2016
- World-Fusion / Psydub / Ethno-chill