Poppy Ackroyd – ‘Escapement’ Album Review

The ethereal and contemplative debut from the Edinburgh based Poppy Ackroyd is now available from the ever reliable Denovali records.

Poppy Ackroyd has just released Escapement through Denovali Records, her debut album in which she examines the potential that lies beyond traditional structure and composition. Originating from London, Ackroyd is a classically trained musician who has worked extensively with the likes of Hidden Orchestra.

Her musical roots are evident on Escapement, which bears all the hallmarks of a wonderfully composed classical piece, however, what it manages to do is create an extension upon the grounds which a traditional composition is based. Approaching the instruments in novel and unique manners to achieve unrecognisable sounds, both intriguing and captivating, Ackroyd adds great depth and mystery to a solid and enticing framework.

Due to the experimental nature of the music contained on Escapement, Ackroyd felt that it was essential to the process to record and perform the music herself. From her home studio, she painstakingly constructed the album, using not only the instruments, but also sampling elements of nature through field recordings. Birdsong and rainfall are just two examples of the natural world samples which can be heard throughout.

‘Aliquot’ and ‘Seven’ are standout tracks which lie somewhere in the worlds between film score and contemporary instrumental, whereas ‘Grounds’ goes beyond that and escorts us to somewhere else altogether, somewhere unknown and magical. It comes as no surprise to learn that the performer has also had a great deal of experience in theatre and interpretative dance, as well as performance art, as fractions of these can all be felt on Escapement.

There is a joy and delicacy which permeate this release, one which commands not only initial attention, but which lingers and ferments long after its final chord, enticing and calling for a repeated listen. Escapement changes into many things as it shyly becomes more familiar; joyfully melancholic and fragile, yet with a strength that lifts it far beyond the watery inconsequentiality which can damage such light compositions.

A wonderful record to discover just as we prepare to wrap up 2012, it is great to hear that Poppy Ackroyd will be touring early in the New Year.

All words by Colin McCracken. You can read more from Colin on Louder Than War here. Colin also writes extensively about movies over at his website zombiehamster.com & you can follow him on Twitter.

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