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Sunday 30 March 2014 @ 02:00pm :  -


“Arlet’s music is located somewhere between the folk club and the chamber music hall. Propelled by the restless creativity of accordionist and composer Aidan Shepherd, their sound brings together the primary colours of the orchestra – strings, woodwind and brass – and adds an indefinable irridescent shimmer. The joyful melodicism and rhythmic intensity of British folk is a shared inspiration, but rather than viewing these traditions as artefacts to be revered, Arlet are drawing on folk idioms as a point of departure for their carefully sculpted, richly harmonic and ornately textured music.

Despite its freshness, this feels like music that has seeped out of the land – it has a pastorality, an Englishness (wisps of Vaughan Williams and his ilk have woven themselves into Aidan’s remarkably mature composition). Sounding sometimes like a chamber quintet letting its hair down and finding a curious groove circa 1973, sometimes like a session band in the corner of a rural pub suddenly slipping through a vortex into another musical dimension, there are few comparisons besides perhaps the Penguin Cafe Orchestra and Bristol’s criminally under-recognised Spiro. Like Spiro, Arlet are exploring the possibilities of arranging folk melody in a way which draws on the post-1960s serialist and minimalist composers (Reich, Glass, et al.) while achieving a musical vision closer in joyous and exuberant spirit to the music of Terry Riley.

An organic collective, performing with continually permuting personnel, often in beautiful, unusual and unexpected settings, Arlet has drawn in players from Canterbury’s vibrant current music scene to create something forward-looking and intricately structured, yet free-spirited and timeless. After releasing a self-titled EP in January 2013, Arlet went into Wicker Studios with Joel Magill (from psych-rock pioneers Syd Arthur) to put together their first full length work, Clearing, released on Smugglers Records. Building in compositional scope, some tracks include double bass, trumpet, mandolin and bodhran, adding even greater colour and depth to the inimitably progressive Arlet sound.”

Written by Matthew Watkins



“Amongst all the stomping, Glasto-headlining, electro-fused folk going on today, it is easy to overlook certain bands who stay true to a more traditional kind of music. Arlet are a six-piece folk ensemble who, in their debut EP, make the kind of music that could soundtrack anything from a country fete, to a midsummer party in the woods, to a dream about flying. What drew me to Arlet was the organic talent and feeling that bursts through with each track, because they make the kind of wonderful, stirring, instrumental, orchestral music that not just folk music, but music in general, is founded. Like Yann Tiersen injected with a good English country spirit, Arlet – with violins, clarinets, accordions and more – make music with a wide and very natural appeal." ~ Josh King – Thank Folk For That

“Entirely instrumental, the music straddles the boundary between folk and classical, combining instruments such as double bass and clarinet with the folk sounds of the accordion and guitar. Arlet is a very contemporary and fresh sounding EP. Fine summer listening." ~ Mike Hough – Bright Young Folk

photo: Dan Fryer