Hailed as ‘nature’s songwriter’ for his work celebrating themes of the natural world, people and time, renowned composer, producer, performer and conceptual artist ERLAND COOPER pushes his musical exploration of the environment into new realms with FOLDED LANDSCAPES (PIANO), the companion piano album to Folded Landscapes, released on 3 November. Cooper will also take Folded Landscapes on a UK and European tour in September.
The companion version is a minimal solo piano recording that further deepens the environmental musical experience. Shaped by echoes of glacial caves and the perspective of the ice, this sister record to the original album offers a captivating and meditative journey through the natural world. By combining the piano version with Folded Landscapes, Cooper aims to create a unique and immersive musical experience that envelops listeners in the atmospheric beauty of his compositions.
“I’m interested in the relationship between acoustic spaces; a sense of place, performance and resonance,” says Cooper. “I hope a listener will enjoy these moments on a walk or perhaps as they work, as it slowly thaws in between things. It is finished if listened to with a window or door open, the natural world playing its part to complete it, particularly at dawn or dusk.”
Cooper mixed the accompanying piano album using the echo captured in the glacial caves of Norway. Scientists working on applied acoustics provided him with impulse responses, allowing him to apply the unique reverb of the caves to the piano recordings in his studio. The result is a subtle yet profound connection to the sense of place, with every reverb and sound design deriving from the essence of the caves.
Additionally, one of the microphones used for recording the piano in his studio was cased deep inside a block of ice. As the ice thawed, Cooper became intrigued by how the ice ‘heard’ the music, creating a unique and experimental recording process that added another layer of depth to the recording.
To accompany the albums, Cooper will play a full UK tour in September followed by a full European tour in November. UK dates as follows:
Sun 17 NORWICH Arts Centre
Mon 18 BRIGHTON Komedia
Tue 19 BRISTOL Redgrave Theatre
Wed 20 MANCHESTER Stoller Hall
Thu 21 LEEDS Left Bank
Fri 22 GATESHEAD Sage
Sat 23 ABERDEEN Music Hall
Sun 24 LANCASTER Library
Tue 26 HEBDEN BRIDGE Trades Club
For the tour, Cooper will be playing music from his new album along with existing repertoire from his famed Orkney songs. Tickets available from: www.erlandcooper.com
The original version of Folded Landscapes merges modern classical-electronic music with evocative storytelling, presents Cooper’s urgent observations on climate change and poignantly urges listeners to come together to take positive action. This powerful chamber string work figuratively thaws over seven movements, unfolding with electronics, poetry, soprano, piano, harpsichord, field recordings and samples.
The recording process creatively followed the rising temperature of the piece from glacial to a threatening burn as musicians were recorded in subzero temperatures and the audio master tape was sun-burnt on the hottest day in UK history. The heat, moisture, salt and sunlight worked their way into the fabric of the tape, which has been mixed into the finished work, underscoring it with an unsettling burn that crackles and pops.
The result of a collaboration with Scottish Ensemble, Folded Landscapes features special guests and samples from poet laureate Simon Armitage, activist Greta Thunberg, visual artist Norman Ackroyd, and author and conservationist Dara McAnulty. Field recordings of the natural world include the Californian wildfires and crashing glaciers, alongside samples of news reports of Europe’s hottest day.
As an artist dedicated to the environment and fostering change, Erland Cooper continues to inspire through his work. A percentage of the copyright share from Folded Landscapes has been given to Brian Eno’s EarthPercent charity, symbolically embedding the planet as a stakeholder in musical creativity and directly funding organisations addressing the climate emergency.
Folded Landscapes and its companion piano album promise an unforgettable and transformative experience for listeners seeking to explore the delicate balance between humanity and the environment. Both albums will be released together on 3 November, inviting the listener to immerse themselves in the beauty and urgency of Erland Cooper’s vision.