Cults Percussion Ensemble


Limited repress. Privately pressed in Scotland in 1979, this illusive and quite wonderful percussion album is like no other. Played by a group of 11 girls with an average age of 14, the group included Evelyn Glennie, who was destined to become one of the world's greatest percussionists. This is her first-ever record. The Cults Percussion Ensemble was a group formed by percussion teaching legend Ron Forbes in the mid-1970s. The ensemble must have one of the best group names of all time. To many, it will immediately come across as something sinister, a touch spooky and possibly a bit dramatic, too. They are certainly two of those but the use of the word "Cults" here is easily misinterpreted. Cults, in this case, is the suburb of Aberdeen. The average age of the students was just 14. They came from a few of the schools in the area, including the Cults Academy, Ellon Academy, Aboyne Academy, Inverurie Academy and Powis. Reminiscent of Carl Orff and peculiar library music, we now have a formal release of something quite lovely that was only previously available very briefly in 1979 at concerts when the young girls performed. The music here is really quite unique, with a celestial, swirling, hypnotic quality. The blend of glockenspiels, xylophones, vibraphones, marimba and timpani drums is quite intoxicating and can recall the shimmering warmth of the desert sun one minute or freezing glacial icecaps the next. The Ensemble perform with an effortless tightness and deftness of touch, building textured layers with recurring percussive motives which appear simultaneously dense and yet sparse, almost sounding like modern sampling. Sleevenotes also include a letter from Ron Forbes: "I decided to form a percussion group to provide an outlet for my percussion pupils to play music specially written for them. The group soon became well-known in the region and as a result of winning the outstanding award at the National Festival of Music for youth on three occasions, they were invited to play at other festivals within Europe, one being in Erlangen in Germany -- hence the "Erlangen Polka" -- and Autun in France -- hence the "Autun Carillon." During these visits we were often asked if we had any recordings and so it was decided to make an LP." Thanks to Ron Forbes and Trunk Records, more people can now enjoy the simple hypnotic musical charms of the Cults Percussion Ensemble.