I first heard The Village Orchestra on the decent compilation Some Paths Lead Back Again, which came out just a little bit earlier this year on Highpoint Lowlife Records. Amongst a bunch of other tracks (some of which were pretty good), the group just didn't stand out that much, but they must have saved some of their better material for the full length, because Et In Arcadia Ego is a great little release of mid tempo electronic music that blends the texture of ambient music with subtle dancefloor beats in a way that works quite well.
That said, the album starts out somewhat inauspiciously with "COSHH," a rather bland track that mixes ringing feedback tones with a single swell of blended vocals and ambient shimmers. From there, though, Rauridh Law gets busy dropping some niceness, as "Jacob/Bad Hand At Cards V2" hums along with quiet, skittery beats while filtered vocals and beautiful washes drift across the top. "Bryan's Tricky 'Do You Like The Drummer?' Question." takes some of the same elements and constructs them into something similar, as a track that pops a bit with crisp programming while slathers of warm filtered vocals hiccup across the surface.
There are places where the album doesn't quite work as well, like on the overlong album closer of "In Arcadia" and the short and filter-heavy "Dawn," but overall the album shows some great wrinkles from the young artist. "All The Little Lights Going" uses repeated tones that are similar to the pulses of Steve Reich and shuffles them alongside a 4/4 heartbeat kick and some other beautiful programming for what is easily the album standout. It sounds a little like what you might get if Murcof were a little more upbeat and lighthearted.
For the past couple of years, Highpoint Lowlife has gradually been building a name with a steady output of excellent releases from lesser-known artists who are managing to compete with some of the big names in terms of the music that they're creating (at least in my mind). The Village Orchestra is just the latest in line and if you like some of the aforementioned artists or even artists on the Morr Music label or Múm.