Unexpected Pleasures - Pete Ardron - Review

Right now, as I'm writing this, I'm siting in the waiting room of Oiki Ladies Clinic in south Osaka. My wife, a few doors down the hall, is currently in labor with our second child, another boy. Previous experience tells me I'm in for a long wait before the doctor's let me into the delivery room.

However, this time I've come prepared. A backpack of assorted snacks, a book of jokes to keep my spirits up in the wee hours and Pete Ardron's new album loaded on my phone. These should see me through to the finish line.

Pete Ardron - Unexpected Pleasures album cover art

Titled "Unexpected Pleasures", the album is a real delight and I'm glad it will be forever associated with the birth of our new boy.

Pete Ardron, for those not familiar with the man, is a British electronic musician, producer, mixer, DJ and artist. He has an extensive back catalogue of work as a solo artist and as a member of various groups including the wonderful Orchid-Star.

Unexpected Pleasures was over ten years in the making and his 10th solo album overall. It's an album with an exotic blend of tribal percussion, ethno-ambient vocals, and plenty of spiritually uplifting melodic highlights. A highly polished gem, each song sparkles with exotic  otherworldly ambience. Think Kuba meets Abakus meets Kaya Project. A holy trinity of blissful psychedelic tribal chill out.

If you have listened to any of Ardron's older work you will instantly recognize a big jump in production values with this latest release. While his music has always displayed a talent for writing and crafting an interesting song, production values on earlier releases were somewhat flat. Fast forward to 2016 and what you hear from Pete today is on a par with any of the top producers in the electronic music game.

The album begins with the track "Angel". A very Kuba/Abacus like sounding track as we often got on those old Liquid Sound Design comps Youth was putting out back in the early to mid 2000s. Extremely relaxing ethno-psychill. The second track "Vignette" is in much the same vein. Deep bass, Indian flavored harmonies and instrumentation provide a relaxing backdrop for a sunny day.

On the third track, "Bridges", the album gets more upbeat with faster percussion, lounge keys and eastern vocals. One is reminded somewhat of Talvin Singh from his "Ok" album days. Which is not a bad things at all. Loved that album back in the day. Very cool tune. 

The fourth track bears the same name as the album. I usually take that as a sign the artist considers this tune to be the best on the album. Although it doesn't command your attention as much as other songs on the album it possesses a subtle beauty that is to be appreciated. Dreamy, enchanting music. If this track sounds familiar then you may well have heard it before on the compilation album "Diversity In The Isles" released earlier this year. This track is then followed by some outstanding vocals on the next track "Mera Dil".

Mera Dil in Hindi language means "My Heart" and this tunes pulses along with a life force all of its own. Classically trained Indian singer Psibindi sounds like an alluring goddess here. She has performed with plenty of top producers and vocalists over the years so be sure to check out her website for more info if you like this one.

The next track, "Dhow", is a slow, meandering river of deep dub delight tinged with a groovy guitar riff in parts. This is definitely my kind of tune. I really love that heady reverb on the snare, creating a sense of being caught up in the vacuum of space. Dig it ! 

With its uplifting backbone of reggae guitar stabs, floating flutes and laughter samples, the next track sure does leave a smile on your face. Titled "Hasya", the Sanskrit word for laughter,fun and amusement, it delivers a delightfully playful escape into childlike wonderment.

The most lyrical of the album, "Ami Tha Thikana Rakhini", has a rather cool growling synth bass coupled with a galloping rhythm. The vocals this time are provided by Ardron's ex-housemate Sayak Mitra. The original version of this song was a hit Bengali pop song back in the 1960s for singer Manna Dey, and one of Mitra's favorite childhood songs. Ardron recorded his friend singing an A capella version of the track and then turned it into this tasty reworking. would have liked a longer version - the groove is so infectious. At a touch under three and a half minutes it just wets the appetite. Possible future extended remix ?
After that we have something less tribal, more of a lush landscape of spiraling synths and ethereal atmospheres. The way it builds into an explosion of emotion reminds one of "Queen Of All Everything" or "Shower Of Sparks" by Ott . Which happen to be two of my most favorite Ott tracks. So this one slips down an absolute treat too.

The final track Bamiyan, closes off the journey with a celebratory mood. Strings, sitars, chants, flutes all dancing around a fire of of mystic exhilaration. 

This is a fantastic album and one not to be missed by fans of tribal, ethno chillout. There are plenty of guest appearances here too. So be sure to check them out as well to continue your journey into a land of unexpected pleasures.

There are few artists in the electronic music scene that can claim to have released 10 solo albums. Fewer still who can stand proud knowing that their 10th is as fresh and exciting as anything they have ever released. Well done Mr Ardron, it seem with both have something magical to celebrate !

"Unexpected Pleasures" is released November 4 and available for pre-order now via the following online store:
There is also a planned release party happening at the stunning Cafe Cairo, London ( Nov 4 ) from 6 pm with a number of album guests and DJs including the amazing Liquid Lounge.


Posted on 26.10.16 by PsyAmb TAG : | 0 Comments ( ADD NEW COMMENT )


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