Review: Orchestra of the Swan’s Echoes on Signum


Released Friday, Orchestra of the Swan’s latest album Echoes. If you’re in a hurry to read this, top line message: listen to it end to end for eclectic mix of sophisticated sounds; favourite tracks include Philip Sheppard’s Buffalo Jump and a tender arrangement of Venus Furs.

Echoes is the latest in a growing collection of recordings that deliver classy ambience without resorting to nauseating wallpaper. That achievement is largely down to humble classical rockstar David Le Page whose dogged determination has resulted in beautifully crafted playlists that combine unorthodox arrangements of niche rock with lovable unfamiliar classical excerpts.

Swan’s previous Gramophone nominated album was one of a handful of pandemic soundtracks recorded amid COVID restrictions, elevating Le Page’s defiant artistic strategy that effortlessly mixes genres without being all self-consciously wanky about it.

Echoes retains that album-wide narrative arc – a commitment to celebrating detail, texture and colour that is trademark Le Page.

I heard excerpts from the album in Dolby Atmos a few weeks back at PMC Studios. The 36 speaker mix made for an emotional listen. In one case it might even have finally made sense if Max Richter’s compositional calling card.

Regardless of what speaker system you can afford to listen to it on, it’s another lovely collection. Roll on the next release.