The Mark of Excellence

Ratchet Orchestra

Hemlock

By David DacksIf you make music in Montreal, there's a good chance you know one of the 30-odd members of this behemoth, irregularly convened by Nicolas Caiola. Since 1997, he's gradually figured out how to make the most of all the possible instrumental colours and playing styles of each member, and it's never sounded better (on record) than on Hemlock. How lucky to have at one's disposal an entire flock of flutes playing with a gaggle of strings and several bass-oriented saxophones, as on "Yield." The ascending notes of "Hemlock Pt.1" gather another strange collection of instrumental colours into wild fanfare, which leads into the deep, dark groove of the song's second part. Every track yields a sumptuous variety of music that continues to reference the warped big band charts and sounds of Sun Ra, as they always have, while at the same time realizing the potential of this large group of talented musicians. With Hemlock, Rachet Orchestra have finally found their sound, and it's splendid.
(Drip Audio)
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