Earlier this year award-winning multi-instrumentalist and producer Erland Cooper released Solan Goose, a magical journey to the Scottish archipelago of Orkney celebrating its landscapes, avian fauna, and local dialect (read the ST review here). Then, this summer he surprised us with an impromptu release of a spontaneous new ambient work based on the original material called Murmuration which he developed in collaboration with musician William Doyle (aka East India Youth). If Solan Goose was the vision, then Murmuration is the dream. One is a vivid and transportive sonic portrait that sweeps the listener up into its exhilarating narrative, the other a haunting, chimerical reverie in which to get completely and pleasurably lost.
“Sound is important to me. Over the years the word ‘murmuration’ has been associated solely with a flock of starlings, but it actually refers to the sonics of a flock of birds. So when Bill Oddie and others say: ‘Let’s go and see this murmuration’, that’s not quite right – you hear it. The theme of this record fits with a particular group of sea birds that, unlike many other birds, spend the first 5-10 years of their lives travelling far and wide out to sea in solitude, before settling down to find a partner and lay a single egg. It’s a recycling or ‘upcycling’ of sounds, themes and layers into a new collaborative work.” – Erland Cooper
Three harmoniously flowing movements comprise the work which blossoms and unfolds over the course of thirty-eight minutes and here, in an exclusive preview, is an equally mesmerizing full-length accompanying video. Created from sumptuous looping visuals shot in Orkney featuring glinting sunlight on the sea, hovering midges at the Ring of Brodgar and an abstract vision of sea-foam off the Yesnaby cliffs, it is an immersive experience fitting of this adventurous companion work to one of the year’s most beautiful records.
“One of the most enjoyable collaborations I’ve been involved in. Murmuration drifts in and out of consciousness. It’s a seamless sonic poem that not only evokes the place and memory of Erland’s original compositions, but hopefully of the new frontiers we pushed it towards together.” – William Doyle
Murmuration is now streaming and available for purchase from Phases Records at a variety of digital outlets (see link below). The album features stunning images contributed by landscape artist and printmaker Norman Ackroyd (interesting side note: Norman is also the father of composer & musician Poppy Ackroyd recently interviewed here).
1. Migration I.
2. Migration II.
3. Migration III