The Lantern | March 30th

I’d never heard of Kate Simko and the London Electronic Orchestra but it didn’t take me long to get into the feel of her electronically produced, classically embellished trademark sound. Soaring violins and thick vocal harmonies cascaded over experimental housey beats of Champa, reminding me slightly of Bonobo, only more cinematic with less experimental sampling.

Classically trained in piano, Simko is so much more than just a producer. Her complex orchestration and use of texture combined with organically and synthetically produced sounds keeps her music engaging and listenable. Whilst for the most part I loved her hybrid collaboration of a genre, Simko has the tendency to overwork and over decorate her simple but effective beats. Sometimes less is more.

Half way through a group of people who had been hiding in the back rows suddenly sprung to life turning the centre aisle into a temporary dance floor. For a few songs the energy in the room swelled and you could feel Simko and the LEO relish in the reaction as their playing became instantly more together.

Whilst the classically overlaid techno rhythms might be a bit much for your usual Friday night techno buff to handle, Kate Simko gives classical music listeners an opportunity to experience electronic music without the stigma it so often holds to it. Instead she presents you with a more mature, “adult – friendly” version of beats that could easily get played out at a nightclub.

Harpist Valeria Kurbatova stole the show for me with her consistently rhythmic arpeggios perfectly complimenting luscious chordal sections from the cello and violin. Of course, Kate Simko is the brains behind it all and sometimes her computer generated tracks blended so seamlessly with the music it was easy to forget she had also sat down and produced all of those tracks too.

If you’re looking for a classical concert with a modern twist, I would definitely recommend getting tickets to see Kate Simko and the LEO but if you’re looking for slightly more chilled electronic music, the sometimes oh so staccato plucking and high pitched glissando’s might not make it such a relaxing occasion.

Check out ‘Champa’ below.