Boomkat Product Review:
This latest full-length from The Village Orchestra (aka Marcia Blaine School For Girls’ Ruaridh Law) is a sort of concept album built around London, specifically the Dalston area. Having never spent time in Dalston it’s hard for me to get many of the references, but this wide-ranging hour-long trip does plenty to convince me it might be worth stopping there next time I’m in town. Beginning with cracked metal guitars Law quickly takes us into a realm of smoky, melancholy ambience, punctuated by field recordings no doubt gleaned from the area In question. The electronic haze gives the record a 4AM feeling, walking home in the near-dawn hours in lonely, but peaceful paranoia. Slowly the album moves into more hopeful places, with the kind of processed guitar usually associated with Mountains or Rameses III, but the album reaches its stride when the beat kicks in, no doubt shedding light on Dalston’s gaggle of sweat boxes. Law has an able mastery of clipped 4/4 that reminds me of the glory days of Force Inc and it comes as a nice diversion from the heavy drones and ambience. As the skipping beats slip into a dreamy haze the album comes to a close on a dubbed-out Gas-indebted note which might just be my favourite moment of all. An incredibly ambitious record with a scope that has to be near unmatched, ‘Amid the Blaze of Noon’ should be a must-buy for Dalston residents and anyone else with an interest in artists who don’t mind stepping outside of their comfort zone.