THE DELICATE and psychogeographic recent canon of Orcadian Erland Cooper has, to partially quote Camper Van Beethoven, “increased by exactly one” today, with the release of the gossamer piano yearn of “Holm Sound” ahead of this Saturday’s Barbican performance.

He evokes in sound that stretch of water separating Mainland from Barray, adjacent to the village of Holm; the sound of a sound partially stymied since the 1940s by one of Orkney’s quartet of Churchill Barriers, naval defences which now serve as road links on to South Ronaldsay. Take a listen with us and pause in its contemplative beauty.

It serves as an outlying companion piece to the excellence of his most recent and concluding album in his Orkney triptych, Hether Blether.

Erland’s performance is part of the autumn series Live from the Barbican: a dozen events which will also feature Nubya Garcia, Richard Dawson, The Divine Comedy and Emmy the Great, amongst others.

Erland commences the series with a show that will feature material from his Orkney triptych live for the first time. He’ll be collaborating with a small ensemble – his NEST of regular collaborating musicians, Anna Phoebe on lead violin, soprano Lottie Greenhow, Jacob Downs on viola and cellist Klara Schumann – an additional quartet of soloists and new arrangements from the London Contemporary Orchestra. 

The show will feature an introduction from Mary Anne Hobbs and incorporate film, spoken word contributions from Scottish artist Kathryn Joseph, real-time live performance and pre-recorded projected material.

Erland says: “An audience should always feel transported somewhere else for a moment, whether real or imagined.

“I’d like the Barbican hall itself to feel like a ferry, crossing the North Sea to Orkney. To be able to broadcast simultaneously to a remote community north as well as a large city south, feels like a bird’s migration.”

In-person tickets for the event have sold out; live stream tickets may still be purchased, here.

His Orkney trilogy explores the islands’ birdlife, on 2018’s Solan Goose; the sea, on 2019’s Sule Skerry; and the land and the islands’ people on the concluding, latest album, Hether Blether

Voting closes at midnight tonight for SAY, the Scottish Album of the Year Awards 2020: Erland’s previous work, Sule Skerry, is in the running; let’s face it, it’s damn strong candidate. You can vote here

Erland has also confirmed his tour dates for next year, which are as follows. Click through on the venue hypertext link for further details and tickets:

May 6th, 2021, Belfast, Cathedral Quarter Arts Festival;

May 26th and 27th, Edinburgh, Summerhall;

May 28th, Birmingham, St. Paul’s Church;

May 29th, Manchester, Hallé St Peter’s;

June 1st, Bristol, St George’s;

June 2nd, Canterbury, Gulbenkian Theatre;

June 3rd, Brighton, St. George’s Church, and

September 26th, Stroud, Hidden Notes.

Hether Blether is now available on digital, CD and vinyl here; you can also follow Erland on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.