Pearl Fishers / Boat Notchers


An album with selections culled and collated from performances in Colchester, London and Milan, and beautifully presented by Antigen Records with extensive artwork and a limited edition bonus phenakistoscope!

This could be seen as a compendium of recent DRO approaches to folk and worksong,  touching on Spanish sewing, swamp hollering of the Southern States, Scotish waulking, meat cleavers and mbira, with many pieces selected from two  performances by differing duo permutations of the band.

Track listing: Canto, Pigeons Goose and Storks, Captain’s Apprentice, Pearl Fishers, Meeting is Over, Martinmass, Hoquetting/Blow the Horn Blow, Joy/Sorrow, Barrel House, Seal Hunt, Pretty Boys, Waulking the Guga, Carol of the Drum and Kuridza.


Available from Antigen Records HERE!

Pearl Fishers 1 cwk





8 Selections and Premonitions from the Tower VOL IV  

(w. DRO - side a).



Some while ago now we were invited by the excellent C JOYNES to form a response to one of his tracks, which we duly recorded in St Martin's Church, Colchester (pictured).  We’re very pleased that the results of our collaboration, mixed in Asmara and Addis Ababa have now made it out onto one of his very special and limited 7” split releases on GPS/Bo’Weavil.


Sadly this is now out of stock.

In celebration of 10 Years of Dead Rat Orchestra, the good folks of ANTIGEN RECORDS re-released three of our key live recordings (previously self-released and available through Bandcamp in hand-made editions) in remastered and reworked packaging.  They are available HERE.

St Martins 1000_72-1

St Martin's – 29th July 2004


Recorded by Simon Loynes aka The DOOZER (formally of Lionshare, who also played that night) and initially released on his own Palimpsest label, this set is the result of a week building music for the space.  The nave of the empty church of St Martin’s, Colchester (lent out by the Churches Conservation Trust), was filled up by the band and an augmented assortment of instruments; who then constructed joyous funeral marches, delicate melodies and moments of abstract experimentalism, by way of copperplate records, birdsong, celeste, drainage grating, suitcase drumming, huge old organ pipes and ever present harmonium and violin.

Track listing: Copperplate/Pipes/John Wort's Grave, Tinderbox, Walrus Hunt, Joy/Sorrow.


Palimpsest Festival 2006


This set marked the group reconvening after a year of not playing together – yet the music they produced feels tighter then ever and marked with a new purpose. 

Starting with a hushing lullaby the set creeps into physical guitar/violin set against the snap and crackle of matches and foley snow – both pieces relating to work the band had done on a live soundtrack for Robert Flaherty’s 1922 film ‘Nanook of the North’.  A ramshackle hoedown follows, all crossing rhythms and joyous intent.  The last piece utilises clockchime gamelan, kettle drum and scorching improv fiddle.

Track listing: Lullaby, The Sentinel, Cantankerous, Mazurka.


Ghostband w. Mt View Memorial Choir


Recorded in support of Silver Mt Zion (the extended name in part a tip of the hat) at Colchester Arts Centre in 2007, this set comprised only two of the normal trio, who launched into the set with a physical commitment at times causing the audience to stand back in avoidance of being struck by disintegrating bells and other debris. 

The set comprised pieces old and new, ranging from delicate melodicism to broken chaos, and was imbued with the essence of the missing third member, who led the recorded singing (carefully pieced back together live) in the last track – a glorious take of the Lullaby.

Track listing: Music Box, J Wort's Grave, Scattergun, The Stomp, Lullaby.

CRITTER11 Dead Rat Orchestra - Guga Hunters Of Ness COVER



Recorded as the soundtrack to Mike Day’s beautiful film for the BBC, documenting the endangered tradition of the Gannet Hunt in the Outer Hebrides and taking musical cues from the traditional songs of the area, processed through the Dead Rat filters to become something quite different.  

The album received radio play on BBC 6 MUSIC and BBC 3’s LATE JUNCTION, a Four Star rating in MOJO Magazine and many fine words spoken in print and into the ether.

Track listing: Joy/Sorrow (Sula Sgeir), Dods' Banjo, Black & White Houses, The Heather Isle, The Geshin & The Guga, Sunrise, Salt Slide, Dods' Banjo (Ness Social Club), Guga End Theme.


Available from Critical Heights HERE!


INTREPID CINEMA have now brought out an edition of the film on DVD - available HERE.

ProductImage.ASP CRITTER08 DEAD RAT ORCHESTRA - Cover championversion_image_releases_cv201009 3986713368-1

A Hint - Music for Gauguin’s Letters.


In 2010 we provided a short soundtrack to a film by Martin Hampton, commissioned by

TATE MODERN to accompany their GAUGUIN Retrospective, and featured on the

GUARDIAN online.

The music was later released as a limited CD on Critical Heights and is now SOLD OUT.



Available briefly as a super limited edition of 100 lathe cut 10" clear vinyl from CHAMPION VERSION, this recording is a live take from a residency we undertook in a disused abattoir/art space in Madrid in 2007, featuring room tone singing, long strings and our usual approach to extended composition.

The Beardybox


We made an app - an ever shifting composition of varied Dead Rat elementals.  It currently lies dormant awaiting some technical modifications.  However, a lucky few do have copies of early versions... and we've heard rumours that it's still out there...


Tyburnia - a Radical History of 600 Years of Public Execution



This album is the product of meticulous research into the history of the Tyburn gallows and features rediscovered broadside ballads, written by and for those condemned to dance the Tyburn Jig, intercut with psychogeographical field recordings, musique concrète and lost songs in the Thieves’ Cant. Dead Rat Orchestra have collaborated with director James Holcombe and award-winning folk artist Lisa Knapp, to create their most political album to date; an indictment of oppression, greed and the criminalisation of dissent, as relevant now as when the words were first penned, more than 300 years ago.


The CD is mounted in a 32-page, A5 perfect-bound booklet, containing lyrics and stills from the film.