THE SUPERB ambient-psychogeographical triptych by Orcadian musician and composer Erland Cooper, Solan Goose, Sule Skerry, and Hether Blether – which themselves are receiving a gorgeous box set treatment, more of which below – is gaining an excellent addendum at the end of next month in Holm, a collection of variations, B-sides and reworkings by artists and friends; some of which have appeared before as download-only extras, all lovely and further garlanding the most impressive exploration of British islands in creative form- their wildlife, birdlife, their folk traditions, the sea surrounding – since Tim Robinson’s literary landmark, The Stones Of Aran books.
The new collection, 15 tracks in all, consisting of eight reworkings and seven other tracks, including “Longhope By Ayre”, featuring none other than Weller himself.
This collection will be released digitally on May 27th via Phases, and you can hear a first taster track herein today, “Haar Over Hamnavoe”, versioned by former Coral guitarist and no composing slouch in his own right, Bill Ryder-Jones; who takes the gentle ambient mists of the original (haar being a cold sea fog, and itself a beautiful addition to your vocabulary) and brings his delicacy at the piano to bear as an extra dimension to the sweeps of electronica and meshed strings.
You thought it couldn’t be anymore beautiful, right? Wrong.
Bill says: “I’ve been a fan of Erland since he told me he was a fan of mine, I am however also a big fan of his music and being asked to rework such a wonderful piece of was a pleasure and an honour.”
Erland describes Holm – the adopted Norse world for a remote or small island – as “new shapes and sounds, but from a familiar place”. Elsewhere within its sea-bounded fastnesses you’ll find reworkings and collaborations with Isobel Waller-Bridge, Hayden Thorpe, Marta Salogni, Daniel Pioro, Vince Pope, Simeon Walker, Alex Kozobolis and the Modfather.
“[It’s a collection of variations and b-sides gathered around solo piano from across my Orkney trilogy, but performed or reinterpreted by various artists I admire.
“To me this is like seeing the form of an island reflected on moving water.”
The artwork depicts a single standing stone from the Ring of Brodgar, at Stenness Loch on Orkney.
Erland’s also announced a really very limited edition vinyl box set collating the full Orkney trilogy. Each album, released around the spring equinox from 2018 to 2020, takes its inspiration, language and shape from that archipelago. This new deluxe edition, each with a signed foreword by the artist, contains 2018’s Solan Goose, 2019’s Sule Skerry (voted one of 20 Best Scottish Albums of the 21st Century by Clash) and 2020’s Hether Blether; three postcards; a map; more.
The pre-order for the final batch goes on sale at 8am British Summer Time this Friday, April 2nd, here. Really don’t delay; I sure as hell didn’t.