The Picture Box Orchestra
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The Picture Box Orchestra

Adelaide, Australia | Established. Jan 01, 2012 | INDIE | AFTRA

Adelaide, Australia | INDIE | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2012
Band World Alternative


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The Picture Box Orchestra @ Paris Cat

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

The Picture Box Orchestra @ New York City Hall

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States

The Picture Box Orchestra @ New York City Hall

New York, New York, United States

New York, New York, United States



"Album Review"

It's rare that something like The Picture Box Orchestra comes into the musical landscape, let alone the Drum office desk. You get used to the formula of music; definitely not a bad thing, but when an album such as this appears, you're reminded of just how powerfully music can eradicate cultural borders and reinforce ideas of emotion in storytelling.

The Picture Box Orchestra is a collaboration between a range of different artists from various artists from different countries, headed by Alies Sluiter. Recorded between London and Melbourne, Sluiter has brought together various traditional song cycles (Indigenous, Indian and Italian are the obvious ones) and infused them with modern style and production. The result is, in a word, breathtaking. The second track, Abracadabra , should be a mess, as traditional Pakistani vocals blend with smooth jazz, divided with the sounds of gunshots and screeching tyres. Benazir mixes Eastern European instrumentation with dub beats and more Pakistani vocals (singer Faheem Mazhar imbues the whole record with an ethereal grace). The Machine is conversely spine-chilling, as actor Nick Farnell breaks down society into component parts over an urgent tune. What If? eventually leads soft emotive vocals into a tight hip hop beat, before becoming a homage to 'Imagine' for the 21st century.

The Picture Box Orchestra has gained plaudits the world over, not least because of the performer's honest - and often brutal - reflection of the world. The music gains so much from the sheer diversity of sounds and styles. It is truly a world album. "We don't own the land, the land owns us, our dreams and songs", storyteller Gnarnayarrhe Inmurry Waitairie reads in the beginning. 'Nuff said. - Drum Media

"WOMADelaide Review"

Picture Box Orchestra were well worth a look. Fusing traditional eastern, classical western, hip-hop and jazz with violin, cello, double bass, tablas and a vocalist trained in traditional Indian style, they were simply amazing. It was one of those performances that could be considered one of the highlights of the festival. Playing at night added something extra to their performance, making it even more captivating. Some of the great moments included Night, Benazir and Mr Fox inspired by seeing the film Fantastic Mr Fox. - Caught In the Mosh

"Fringe Review"

Picture Box Orchestra wowed the Adelaide* Magazine with their string skills. Here's why...

This global mix of talented musicians creates a contemporary sound that wouldn’t seem out of place on a café Del Mar track listing. Drawing from such influences as Indian classical, hip-hop, jazz and Western classical the outcome is inspiring. Ethnic beats combined with a classical mastermind results in an hypnotic melody that whips the crowd into head-nodding frenzy. The surprise of traditional instruments played in an unconventional manner, mixed with world-class vocals of complimentary differences makes this show a must-see. If you failed to catch them in the Garden, head to WOMADelaide.
4.5 Stars out of 5 - The Advertiser

"Fringe Wrap"

A full house in the Spiegeltent for this heralded show proved people in Adelaide are in fact willing to step outside their comfort zones to experience otherworldly music such as the show put on by an eight-piece ensemble tonight. Alies Sluiter, known for her composition, production and violin performance, has put together this nifty and unusual group of Pakistani, Indian, European and Australian soloists, each a magnificent musician in their own right. The alternative blend of classical Indian motifs and Western influences are melded together in a hypnotic swirl of jazz and hip hop, classical and Middle Eastern-sounding folk for a mesmerising feel. Exceptional vocals were displayed by the main female vocalist and beautiful arrangements involving cello, double bass and keyboards. More interaction with the audience explaining the musical background would have expanded the experience rather than feeling as though we had just been put into a very pleasurable trance. - Rip it Up

"WOMADelaide Review"

Introduced as a fusion of genres – traditional eastern, classical western, hiphop, jazz – this next band included violin, cello, double bass, tablas (Indian drums) and a vocalist trained in the traditional Indian style. It was hard to know what to expect from Picture Box Orchestra. It would certainly have been hard to expect how utterly beautiful, how exquisite, they were. Their second song, translated as ‘Night’, could well take the title for the Best, Yet Most Under the Radar Performance for the entire event. Played in the night as it was, against a backdrop of trees lit up in green and purple, and with moths flickering in and out of the spotlights, it told of being surrounded by the night and not being able to see one’s lover, of being alone with the darkness. Not to keep themselves in the melancholy box though, the band next performed a song written by the violinist after she had taken her niece to see the filmic adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox. It was called ‘Mr. Fox’, and featured an impressive display of rhythmic hand-clapping and chest beating. Then, just to turn those tables round a little further, a later song was played entitled ‘Benazir’, told from the perspective of the Pakistani politician’s father. At one point during the song, bubbles started floating over the heads of the seated audience, their precious fragility a reminder of the late Benazir Bhutto’s premature demise. - LipMag


The Picture Box Orchestra LP



The brainchild of composer and violinist Alies Sluiter, The Picture Box Orchestra produce hypnotic, evocative and exquisite music, a virtual cornucopia of sounds from around the world. Combining Indian Classical techniques with Jazz, Hip-Hop and Western Classical influences it’s a curious melting pot of musical genres featuring world-class performers from Pakistan, India, Australia and The United Kingdom.

Alies's music and career are not easily defined by genre or category and her solo project The Picture Box Orchestra has performed at festivals such as WOMADelaide, The Australasian Performing Arts Market, Bellingen Global Carnival, Nannup Music Festival, Illawarra Folk Festival to name a few.

The debut album features the poetry of Granaz Moussavi (Iran/Aus) and the vocals of Faheem Mazhar (UK/ Pakistan) and Jacqueline Gawler (Australia) as well as a whole host of other fine talent. The second album is due for release in 2017.

Alies has worked extensively with a diverse range of Australian and international artists including Nitin Sawhney, Akram Khan, Sylvie Guillem, Sidi Larbi Cherkaoui, Netsayi Chigwendere and The Shaolin Monks of China, performing in many of the worlds leading arts festivals and venues throughout Europe, Asia and the Americas. Her compositional credits include commissioned works for feature films, television (SBS, BBC, CNN, ABC and Foxtel) dance and theatre productions.

"Simply Amazing. One of the highlights of the Festival" Rob Lyon, Caught in the Mosh WOMADelaide review.

"The coolest cello and violin performance I've ever clapped eyes on" Steve Collins, Adelaide Now.

“Mesmerising” Rip it Up Magazine.

“It was hard to know what to expect from Picture Box Orchestra. It would certainly have been hard to expect how utterly beautiful, how exquisite, they were”. Serrin Prior, LipMag WOMADelaide Review.

“Alies’ Picture Box Orchestra is a flawless composition of startling intensity. Its soul-filled performance at the Toff in Melbourne was remarkable - showcasing Alies’ exceptional talent as a composer, producer and violinist with incredible depth and courage. Brilliant.” - Peta Carlyon, ABC (Australia)

Band Members