Steve Orchard - Albums
The instrumental music of Steve Orchard is highly emotional and inspired by the likes of Tomita, Mike Oldfield & Medwyn Goodall. His roots are based firmly in the folk music scene but his instrumental music is very much based in the meditative, new age, relaxing chill out music style. Steve continues to stretch the boundaries of instrumental & lyrical composition playing acoustic & electric guitars as well as various Korg & Roland keyboards. It has been said that "Steve Orchard is different" and that what you get when you purchase a Steve Orchard album is a "unique discovery".
Steve Orchard started writing original music from the age of 16. Coming from a musical family his influences were Classical & Show tunes, he progressed through his teen's where music was his life blood & his first demo was on 'spool' for which he had an audition at the 'original' Apple Offices in St James Street London. Bands were formed & he gained some notoriety, with music partner Barry Webb at the infamous Bristol Art Centre, playing a residency there & building loyal following including recordings for the BBC Radio Friday Folk Nights. Steve & Barry were prolific song writers sometimes writing & performing a song within a week. It was a good grounding & a basis for quality composing which continues today. In the 90's Steve took on the commercial business of performing, which included performances, at many 100's of venues across the country including the armed services.
Steve's has already gained a strong reputation in the new age market, and his debut album on AD Music in 2011 is the excellent "Riverboat", followed in 2012 by "Undersail".
Steve Orchard - Music
In recent years Steve Orchard’s music has evolved into a solid, electronic based style, with a far wider range of sounds added to his accomplished guitar and piano. This has provided greater texture and depth to his thematic, journey style music and opened his music out to a wider audience.
‘Pilgrimage’ continues the trend of laid back guitars and piano mixed with electronic sounds. Where there are rhythms, they’re purposeful yet unfussy, providing gentle rhythmic motion. The emphasis is again on mood and a feel and it’s all very chilled.
With track titles like ‘Leaving the City Behind’ and ‘Just Sitting in A Field’, you know that this is an album to kick your shoes off to and sit back with a glass of wine. And as we’ve come to expect from Steve, the evocative string arrangements and lazy, ever so chilled leads, ensure a perfect fusion of melody and spiritual, ethereal sound.
‘Tidal’ is a beautiful album from Steve Orchard and easily his best so far on AD Music. Twelve beautifully constructed tracks of memorable themes and gorgeous melodies, this is a smooth, drifting album of serene, almost meditative music. It captures the mood and feel of the ocean from the delicate opening of ‘Seagull’s Cry’ and maintains it to the closing title track.
The emphasis here is on ‘mood’ and a feel generated by the interlinking sounds of the ocean, drifting synths, pads and the evocative string arrangements. So, when the glorious themes appear, whether it be on piano, deep acoustic guitar or flute solo, there is a perfect fusion of melodic and at times almost spiritual, ethereal sound.
Tracks like ‘Castaway’ with its gentle percussion hint at a faraway south sea island, while the terrific themes of ‘Mackerel’, ‘Deepest Blue’ and Chapel of the Dunes’ move effortlessly along with easy going rhythms. ‘Tidal’ is a very accessible Steve Orchard album that will certainly please his existing fans and could well broaden his fan base in the wider electronic music genre.
Late on Christmas Eve
A beautiful collection of traditional Christmas carols from Steve Orchard, produced in his own inimitable acoustic instrumental style. The music displays some excellent arrangement skills, while as one would expect, guitar and keyboards work seamlessly with wonderfully dreamy orchestral arrangements. The overall result is a relaxing and uplifting blend of melodic and joyous seasonal music that makes no pretence to be anything other than what it is - a celebration of Christmas!
The album begins with a gentle acoustic version of ‘We Three Kings’ and then sweeps into nicely arranged orchestral interpretations of ‘In the Bleak Midwinter’ and ‘Away in a Manger’. Piano comes to the fore in ‘Hark the Herald Angels Sing’ while sleigh bells give ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ an interesting feel. One of the highlights is; ‘When the Snow lay Round About’, which delightfully combines acoustic, atmospherics and orchestration. ‘Once in Royal David’s City’ is another superbly realised track and the album closes strongly with ’Embers: It Came Upon a Midnight Clear’.
Christmas albums aren’t to everyone’s taste, but as Steve Orchard says himself in the sleeve notes: “This collection of carols may please even old Scrooge himself”.
Beyond the Realm of Angels
'This album is full of melodic imagery that is propelled along on the wings of some terrific percussion and keyboard work. Indeed, Steve's music sits somewhere between 'mood elevating new age music' and 'acoustic based electronic music'. So what you get is excellent guitar instrumentation underpinned by dreamy and sometimes swirling synth tones, all underpinned by solid and lively improvised acoustic rhythm and percussion (sorry, no drum machines here)! The result is a wonderful blend of melodic, emotive and well structured electro/acoustic music that drifts by effortlessly, sometimes with dark undertones and deep mystery, while at other times with a sense of joyous life and the grandeur of creation that is perhaps indeed, 'Beyond the Realm of Angels'.
As I walked Out One Midsummer Morning
A collection of gently vibrant, uplifting acoustic guitar and keyboard based instrumental music tracks backed with beautiful orchestration and occasional rhythms. The music perfectly captures the mood and feel of Laurie Lee's lyrical account of his voyages as a young man in the book 'As I walked out one midsummer morning'. This is a daring album by Steve Orchard in which he showcases his talents as both a gifted guitar player and as a producer and arranger. There is variation in both tempo and mood and it is an expressive musical journey filled with the same sense of exploration and discovery found within the pages of Laurie Lee's classic work. Attempting to translate a classic written work into music is always going to difficult, but Steve has succeeded admirably in producing a heartfelt, melodic musical statement of some distinction.
'Undersail' is a daring and utterly captivating instrumental music voyage drawing its inspiration from the fateful voyage of the Titanic on the 15th April 1912. Indeed, the release date coincides with the 100th anniversary of the tragic event. Melodic, atmospheric and thoroughly enchanting, 'Undersail' perfectly captures the essence of its epic subject matter.
The music of Steve Orchard has always been very organic, with the emphasis primarily on acoustic guitar dominated compositions. But on 'Undersail', he dramatically expands his musical horizons with beautifully layered synths and varied rhythms giving the music a much broader, and at times epic scope befitting the concept. Steve's excellent acoustic guitar work is still in evidence, but here it takes second stage to the exquisite compositions, production and the sheer scope of the music which drifts gently and elegantly between ethereal, gently rhythmic and the thematic.
This is multi-textured and symphonic instrumental music that is certain to have cross genre appeal - from acoustic rock to Mike Oldfield to Vangelis to New Age - 'Undersail' is a beautiful gem that ebbs and flows with tides of emotion and a depth of beauty and imagination that will amaze and delight and it is, without question, the best music of Steve's illustrious musical career.
Welcome to the wonderful musical world of Steve Orchard and his first AD Music release. 'Riverboat' is an idilic, rustic, very English journey along the meandering waterways of Olde England based on the journeys of the artist.
It will relax & assist with meditation &.......... for those who do neither...... just simply daydream! So prepare to be captivated by the gentle melodies and acoustic guitars of Steve Orchard that so perfectly capture a beautiful feel of 'England. This is 'Riverboat' - enjoy!
"Counting Stars" pulls together some of Steve Orchards best known tracks from his "Dancer" series of albums released a few years ago and includes a couple of new tracks as well, all remastered. Steve has a gentle but full sounding style of instrumental music, featuring expertly played acoustic guitar, flutes, harp, keyboard pads and occasional percussion. Because it's a compilation, this is a much livelier and more diverse collection of songs than his dreamy "Riverboat" debut on AD Music. But just like that excellent release, the music drifts along nicely, flowing over you in delicate waves while always retaining interest with some nice, gentle rhythmic motion. Ideas never outstay their welcome and the music is varied in tempo and style, well structured and ideal for meditation or simply relaxing to. Recommended.