Orwell was founded by frontman Jérôme Didelot in 2000 in Nancy, France. Along with original members Thierry Bellia and Alexandre Longo (both of whom went on to form bands of their own, Variety Lab and Cascadeur, respectively), Didelot released Orwell's first effort, a self-titled EP, that same year. A bright combination of synth pop, chamber pop, and indie rock, Orwell's music recalled bands like Stereolab, Phoenix, and Sloan, as well as Sean Lennon's solo work. After issuing recordings in Japan and France, Hidden Agenda released their 2002 debut full-length, Following Days (Des Lendemains), which featured contributions from Mederic Gontier of fellow French band Tahiti 80 and multi-instrumentalist Fugu. A pair of albums were released in the following years -- L'Archipel (2005) and Le Genie Humain (2007) -- as well as a compilation, Nouvelles D'Hier (2009), which was aimed at wooing an international audience. Their English-language breakthrough, Continental, appeared in 2011. The LP included Krautrock flavor and some German singing, as well as the first instance that an Orwell album was performed almost entirely in English. Four years and an EP later, they returned with their fifth album, Exposition Universelle. In addition to Didelot, the updated Orwell lineup included Jacques Tellitocci (vibraphone, vocals), Regis Nesti (drums), and Emmanuel Harang (bass), who were joined by flutist and pianist Renaldo Greco.
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