In case you’ve never had the chance to experience Fugitive Orchestra live, then I suggest you keep your eye out for this talented act. The one man band is made up solely by James Tattington, a lad from Lancaster who has since become a long standing resident to the Portsmouth music scene.
Looping guitar patterns as he sings backing vocals, manipulating the sounds through an array of effects pedals, James then performs over the top of his instant backing tracks. Visually this makes Fugitive Orchestra intriguing to watch, best experienced up close.
It’s not just the novelty factor though, for on the larger festival stage the great tunes and James’ charming personality help pull the crowds. Live performances quite often include a cover song or tip of the hat to something classic, so how does all this transfer to on record?
Well the bonus of working alone is you don’t have anyone to answer to, giving freedom to put pen to paper and enter the studio as and when you desire. Influences range from jazz and blues to pop, beatboxing, hip-hop and LCD Soundsystem.
As such Fugitive Orchestra has always been evolving, with “Rules of the Riddle” being another addition to a catalogue of EP’s. This time around however James has been joined by Daryl Nash on drums and producer David Evans providing additional synths and keys.
The end result may distract a little from the clever build up James’ employs live, with any loops and self-sampling more in the background. That said, it does however focus on some high end production and top song writing.
The four tracks start with “You are Here” and “Heavy Boots”, a nice couple of upbeat song with vocals and riddles sounding wonderful. The percussion by Nash give them a bit of body, with Fugitive Orchestra sounding more of a band effort than a solo project.
The clever lyrics continue on “Scared of the Sky”, complete with a bluesy riff before the more dance oriented “First Past the Post”. It’s probably this last track where you get more a feel of what it’s like to see James in the live environment.
It’s a bit more electronic sounding than the others, resulting in an EP that has enough variety to keep you on your dancing toes. The video clip below shows the artist performing at Quay West Studios, where “Rules of the Riddle” was recorded. It also gives you an idea of Fugitive Orchestra playing around with those pedals, so be sure to keep an eye on his feet as you check it out.