Thursday, December 13, 2012

UK neo-classical composer Poppy Ackroyd premieres entrancingly beautiful song via SPIN Magazine from forthcoming debut

Click image above to watch video

"Clicking, whirring, and lots of other onomatapoeia-ing goes on as soft piano and somber violin trace an intricate emotional arc. Escapement is a physical part of the piano, and it's a richly evocative title whose time has come with this record." -- SPIN Magazine

UK composer Poppy Ackroyd premieres the first song from her soon-to-be-legendary debut album Escapement today via SPIN Magazine. The track, "Seven" is a gorgeous piano/violin/percussion composition reminiscent of the finest works of neo-classical artists like Terry Riley, Tangerine Dream, Steve Reich, Mike Oldfield and Dirty Three and is available to stream/download HERE. (Alternate Soundcloud link HERE)

Watch videos of her piano-plucking, violin-scouring techniques: "Seven" (VIDEO) and "Aliquot" (VIDEO).

Poppy Ackroyd is a performer and composer from London who is currently based in Edinburgh. Classically trained on violin and piano, she fell in love with contemporary piano music and with the piano beyond the keys, discovering the world of sound that could be made from other parts of the instrument. Realizing the violin had the same potential, she has spent the last few years composing delicate, intricate and beautifully atmospheric music by manipulating and multi-tracking sounds from these two instruments.

Her debut album Escapement stays true to this idea. Every sound, with the exception of a few field recordings, is created using only either the piano or the violin. The seven tracks are a combination of piano melodies and chords -- played both conventionally or created inside the piano using fingers, e-bows and plectrums -- violin textures, melodies and pizzicato riffs and finally delicate beats composed of hits, plucks, taps and scrapes made using hands, drumsticks, beaters and small cymbals on either the frame, strings or dampers of the piano. There are often five or more different percussive lines working alongside each other.

In order to compose in this way, Poppy had to learn how to record and produce the music herself, as working with someone else would have been far too time consuming. Having discovered and restored a beautiful but neglected grand piano, she bought a laptop, digital recorder and speakers. Everything from the piano is recorded in her home studio with just this one microphone.

Escapement is the part of the mechanism in a piano that enables the hammer to be released, so that the string can vibrate once it is struck. It can also mean the physical act of escaping, and in the context of this album it refers to the release of emotions through the instrument. Field recordings of birds from the Outer Hebrides, and rain recorded whilst driving in Scotland, add to the narrative content of the music which underpins the whole album, giving it a strong emotional resonance.

For the last few years Poppy has been recording and touring extensively with Hidden Orchestra (Tru Thoughts Records, Denovali Records), composing and performing live soundtracks for contemporary dance and physical theater works, and collaborating with other musicians, artists, filmmakers, actors, sound designers and radio documentary producers. 

Escapement will be released on LP, CD and download on January 22nd, 2013 by Denovali Records.

Artist: Poppy Ackroyd
Album: Escapement
Label: Denovali Records
Release Date: January 22nd, 2013

01. Aliquot (VIDEO)
02. Rain
03. Seven (MP3) (VIDEO)
04. Glass Sea
05. Lyre
06. Grounds
07. Mechanism

On the Web:

Hi-res photos, cover art, bio and more:

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