News: Erland Cooper releases his chorally collaborative ‘Egilsay’ EP: see a making-of film and find out more about his debuting silent movie score performance

Erland Cooper, photographed by Samuel Davies

MAGISTERIAL Orcadian composer Erland Cooper has released his second choral collaboration with the Shards ensemble, an EP focussing on one of Orkney’s northern islands, Egilsay, featuring four tracks of and about the island with a population of 14.

Here at Backseat Mafia we featured a track, the moving, almost holy “Glimro”, at the beginning of the month; come inside today and take a peek behind the scenes in a short making-of film made by Alex Kozobolis.

Egilsay, named after one of the smaller northern isles in the archipelago, sees the experimental vocal ensemble Shards expand on Erland’s compositions, meditating on the theme of shifting time and light.

Erland says: “From sea pink to the shimmer of the aurora polaris, in Orkney the light shifts so many times a day you rarely see the same view twice.

“Song titles are words associated with changing light in local dialect and the cover artwork is a still photograph at dusk of reflections over sand and sea – a hopeful glimmer of tiny, growing estuaries among dark sand patterns.”

Shards’ Kieran Brunt says of the collaboration: “It was a huge delight to continue our collaboration with Erland, this time singing together in person in his intimate studio.”

Looking to next year, Erland has announced that his live score for the 1928 silent film The Wind, directed by Victor Sjöström and starring Lillian Gish, will premiere at Sage Gateshead on February 24th.

His new score will see him bring his own analogue processing and field recordings to a score written for the women of the 18-strong Chorus of Opera North. For more details and tickets, visit the Opera North website here.

Egilsay follows last month’s Never Pass Into Nothingness EP, his first for Mercury KX, which was inspired by the modernist architecture of The City of London.

Pre-orders are also now open for the currently buried Carves the Runes Then Be Content With Silence, due to be exhumed and released in 2024 unless found by someone else first; read our full story about this musical treasure hunt here.

Erland Cooper’s Egilsay is out now digitally from Mercury Kand is available to buy and stream here.

You can also follow Erland at his website and on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

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