ALBUM REVIEW: Dances With Whales by Glitched Orchestrals


Glitched Orchestrals are a band based in London featuring Emil Schyren (piano), Stefan Magus, (guitars) and Binky Bentley (drums). They also involve additional instrumentation which varies from track to track. This album was inspired by whales, particularly the underwater photography of Shawn Heinrichs and news stories about whales in 2014.

The album consists of twelve instrumental tracks that could be described generally as ambient, but each track melds various genres together, with the drums in particular covering some cutting edge styles, and the overall sound of the album is very modern. They themselves describe it as ‘a hybrid of neo-classical Electronic Instrumental with urban beats’.

Dances With Whales starts with the enchanting sound of whalesong, eventually leading to a haunting piano melody that evokes the depths of the ocean, and combines with a funky beat that you’d normally find on a hip-hop album. Krillsong was my favourite track on the album, another nice piano melody combining with a hip-hop beat, then a short orchestral section, as well as the evocative sound of the theremin.

Call Of The Beluga opens with a beautiful piano figure before developing into what they describe as a glitch/jazz track, the jazzy part coming from some tasty saxophone played in harmony, which adds nice variety to the sound. Paikea The Whalerider is an innovative track, blending a choir and a memorable, dancing violin melody with what develops into a drum ‘n bass beat. Bowhead Ballet is blissfully laid back to begin with before a four to the floor beat kicks in, though only briefly.

Narwal Tusking is another mellow orchestral track, this one with a bagpipe drone, and I enjoyed the simple but effective chord progression and repeating melody. The Pod is nicely contrasting, with a funky hip hop beat and acoustic guitar while atmospheric pads wash over them in the background.

The next few tracks are more guitar based, with the aptly named 2200 Blues featuring a nice bluesy guitar lick and harmonica, while The Remora mixes mellifluous lead guitar with dubstep drums. Things get even more rocking with both The Whaledancer and Scrimshaw combining meaty low-end guitar riffs and chords with punchy beats. Last track The Descent is a great album closer bringing all the elements together, with superb piano, inventive orchestration, synths, powerful guitar and another vibrant, funky beat making for an epic finale.

Overall, this is an impressive and enjoyable collection of instrumentals that are surprisingly diverse and eclectic in their instrumental range and blend of styles/genres. I suppose it would be classified as ambient/New Age but it will also appeal to any fans of electronica/rock and nature lovers attracted by the theme of whales will find much to enjoy.


Alex Faulkner (The Faulkner Review)

Verdict: 8.6 out of 10




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