In the field of Downtempo music, many orchestras have had a leading role in defining the sound of the genre: from minor acts like Hidden Orchestra to major representatives such as Cinematic Orchestra (they recently released a new album via Ninja Tune, To Believe, and their 2002 Every Day is considered a masterpiece of the genre).
Another young interesting “orchestra” from Leeds, UK, is shaping nowadays’ Down Tempo music scenario. It’s a seven piece band formed back in 2009 called Submotion Orchestra.
Melting the slow rhythm patterns of Dubstep, making massive use of wind instruments, recalling jazzy and electronic atmospheres and entrusting the vocals to the light voice of Ruby Wood, Submotion Orchestra cannot be really clustered as a Trip Hop band, but the contact points with the genre are more than what you can find around at moment.
Especially their debut EP, Finest Hour (2011), can be easily misled with a nineties Trip Hop album. Songs as the opening themes “Angel Eyes” or “Back Chat” recalls dark electronic atmospheres. “Back Chat” will easily make you think about some Portishead primordial mysterious experiment. “Pop and Lock” or “Always” may remind you the rhythmically more elaborated side of the genre, the one usually associated to Lamb, but the connecting link is also identifiable in details such as the dub-reggae style in tracks like “Secrets”.
Moving on to their second album Fragments (2012), the band seemed to slide toward a poppier sound, but still Down Tempo lovers find tracks such as “Blind Spot” or “Sleepwalker” the best way to reconcile with what seem to be a lost kind of music.
2016 Colour Theory alternates slow, deep, reflective moments (“Red Dress”) with faster tracks such as “Kimono” or “Amira”.
Their last work, 2018 Kites, even if probably less convincing, it’s again an elegant piece of work in which slow rhythm patterns, a jazzy style, a beautiful voice and mysterious electronic sounds blends together for the joy of down tempo lovers.
What is interesting about this band is their elusive ability to be identified with a specific musical genre, continuously putting on confusing masks, but at the same time the echoes of all the main characteristics of Trip Hop resound, spreading all around, in the majority of their main songs.