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300 musicians around the world: Addictive TV’s Orchestra of Samples

A world of music on one stage for one night in Sheffield.

2 June 2022 at
Orchestra of Samples Sheffield 2022 06 02 22 06 02 343

After a long drive back from London we decided to treat ourselves to a pizza. In the shop next door to Porter Pizza I spotted a poster for Addictive TV’s ‘Orchestra of Samples’, presented by TalkingGigs. As our pizzas were being made, I checked the internet and my interest was further piqued by an enticing description of sampling adventures, global travel and sonic collage. So I contacted a few friends and soon had bought four tickets.

After meeting in the pub before the gig we entered the old church that’s now the Drama Studio. It was cool and dark, with round tables laid out cabaret style. We sat down near the front. On a low stage fronting a large projection screen were an array of digital kit, laptops, cables, electronics, stringed and percussion instruments and a keyboard.

Having been to Talking Gigs pre-Covid I had an idea of the format. In the first half Q&A with Alasdair Dempster, Graham, Michael and Françoise (but mainly Graham!) described how Addictive TV had gradually grown a bank of thousands of audio-visual samples from over 300 musicians around the world. Sharing some video footage examples gave us an insight into the time consuming process of creating a track. This involves laboriously trawling through samples to discover unlikely, surprising and never-heard-before combinations of voices and instruments.

In the second half Addictive TV treated us to their absorbing and fascinating blend of digitally recorded samples and live improvisation, joined by versatile Sheffield percussionist Ford Collier and the beautiful vocals of Manchester-based Sufi singer Sarah Yaseen. It was a memorable end to the gig with Sarah grabbing my hand and pulling me up to join the band, and others from the audience, to reel and dance around and join the rest of the world onstage in Sheffield.

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