Nick Grey and the Random Orchestra – Regal Daylight

David Bowie, Current 93, Tindersticks, Björk, Fauré and Verdi. Just a few of the names that are dropped in relation to this peculair musical collective, based in France, set up by Romanian artist Nick Grey. He has gathered amongst others a tenor singer, a metal guitarist, a jazz clarinettist, a Brazilian trompetist, a soprano singer as well as a few classical and rock musicians in his Random Orchestra.

This mixture obviously leads to a not so everyday sound, though this album sounds more accessible than I expected. I’m not a very experienced listener of opera singers like Pavarotti, so I had to get used to the contributions on some songs of tenor Vasile Moldoveanu, apparently a highly-praised singer. In general Nick Grey and his orchestra offer us a fusion of avant rock, electronica and classical music, but translated to rather melodic pop songs. They are often moody and melancholic, a bit like The Tindersticks, at times in danger of becoming too pathetic.

A song like ‘Intruders’ sounds very elegant, reminding a bit of David Sylvians Japan, if it was not for the heavier guitar parts. A ballad like ‘The zealot’, with nice minimal piano sounds played by Jasmine Pinkteron, makes me think of Current 93’s ‘Soft Black Stars’. ‘Parachute drops’ is then again more psychedelic and ambient electronic, making me think a little of Coil.

A lot of influences and musical styles have been combined in this orchestra with musicians from very different backgrounds. It took some time before I began to really appreciate the atypical orchestral pop music of Nick Grey. “Regal Daylight” is an adventurous album, which gives away its treasures only after multiple listening turns.

artist: Nick Grey and the Random Orchestra
label: Sensitive Records
details: 11 tracks [snstv001]