ERLAND COOPER ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM, CARVE THE RUNES THEN BE CONTENT WITH SILENCE
COMPOSER PLANTS ONLY COPY OF ALBUM UNDERGROUND IN SCOTLAND
ORIGINAL DIGITAL RECORDING OF CLASSICAL WORK COMPLETELY DELETED
SETS THREE-YEAR TREASURE HUNT AROUND ORKNEY TO UNEARTH PLANTED TAPE
DUE FOR RELEASE IN JUNE 2024 ON MERCURY KX, HIS NEW LABEL HOME
Erland Cooper © Samuel Davies
23 JUNE 2021 (TORONTO, ON) – Today, in Scotland, composer Erland Cooper signs with contemporary, electronic and classical label Mercury KX and shares details of his ground-breaking new project: the planting of his new album Carve the Runes Then Be Content With Silence in Orkney, the stunning island location where he grew up.
The album that has been planted deep into the Orkney soil is a recording of Cooper’s brand new three-movement composition for solo violin and string ensemble. The work marks the centenary of celebrated Orkney poet George Mackay Brown, as 2021 marks 100 years since his birth.
Inspired by natural landscapes and ruminating on time, hope, community and patience, the sole recording of the work – on ¼ inch magnetic tape, with the digital files permanently deleted – has been planted to grow and be nurtured or “recomposed” by the earth, before being exhumed and released in three years’ time.
Erland Cooper says, “Music can so often feel undervalued and for some, being unable to perform live has at times felt like being buried. When an idea forms there is often an urge to share it as quickly as it develops but like spotting a bird, I want to let this fly and land in its own place and time. The work is one part remembrance and one part celebration of a landmark time.”
Erland Cooper explains more about the project HERE
A testament to Cooper’s talent, executives at Mercury KX / Decca have agreed to release the album without having heard a single note. Fans will have to wait up to three years to enjoy it – unless it is discovered sooner and returned to the composer for release. It was recorded at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with the internationally acclaimed violin soloist Daniel Pioro (who most recently performed with the BBC Philharmonic Orchestra) and Studio Collective, a specially selected RCS chamber string group. The composition was then mixed by Marta Salogni (Björk, Anna Meredith, Daniel Avery) and mastered onto ¼ inch magnetic tape before the digital file was deleted. The tape was then planted – along with a violin and a full printed score – in an intimate ceremony on the Orkney Islands in May 2021, after Cooper drove 15 hours from one end of the country to the other, over 700 miles from London to the Scottish highlands and islands.
Cooper explains, “The material on the tape may erode naturally, disintegrate and create drops of silence or the peaty soil may preserve it perfectly well. It may or may not get better with age. I may or may not fall out of favour with my composition. Any alterations to the sound and music [when it comes out of the earth] will be reincorporated into the pages of a new score and live performance, as orchestral articulations.”
“This is an unprecedented event,” comment Tom Lewis and Laura Monks, Co-Managing Directors of Decca Records / Mercury KX. “In an era of breathless instant gratification, there’s something incredibly romantic and powerful about the idea of us ALL having to wait three years to listen to Erland’s recordings. And, it is going to be fascinating to see how it fares in the ground. It’ll be a very nerve-wracking moment when we unearth the tape and press play.”
Whilst Cooper will not be unearthing the tape until 2024, he has left a trail for anyone to search and find it if they wish. A map with clues to the location of the planting site will be released via his digital platforms. If the planted tape is found, Erland will invite the discoverer to his studio to embark on a journey together for the treasured first listen. It will then be released exactly as it sounds from the earth.
Planting in Orkney © Samuel Davies
The three-year pre-order for Carve the Runes Then Be Content With Silence is live HERE
For the latest updates, clues and news on the project as it unfolds ahead of release, sign up HERE
ERLAND COOPER - 2021 LIVE DATES (UK)
2 July - Timber Festival, Feanedock
15 Aug - Edinburgh International Festival
9 Sep - Belfast, First Presbyterian Church*
26 Sep - Stroud, St Laurence’s Church
12 Oct - Bristol, St George’s**
13 Oct - Birmingham, St Paul’s Church**
14 Oct - Manchester, Hallé St Peter’s**
16 Oct - Brighton, St George’s Church**
17 Oct - Canterbury, Gulbenkian Theatre**
*with Paddy Mulcahy **with Hinako Omori
Find out about Erland Cooper:
NOTES TO EDITORS
Images available in to download in hi-res (colour and black and white) HERE
ABOUT ERLAND COOPER
Erland Cooper is a Scottish multi-instrumentalist and contemporary composer originally from Stromness, Orkney. As a solo artist, he released his acclaimed Orkney Triptych – 2018’s Solan Goose, 2019’s Sule Skerry (voted one of 20 Best Scottish Albums of the 21st Century by Clash) and 2020’s Hether Blether – one album at a time on the spring equinox with a companion piece to each released on the autumn equinox, taking inspiration from the archipelago of Orkney. Erland Cooper also works across mixed media projects including installation art, theatre and film and his triptych was performed live during lockdown, as the first contemporary artist to perform for Live at the Barbican series.
ABOUT MERCURY KX
As part of Universal Music Group/Decca Records, Mercury KX is focused on progressive instrumental music, crossing borders between electronic, modern, classical, alternative and ambient. It offers the most exciting post-classical artists the opportunity to develop without genre restrictions, creating entirely unique sound worlds.
FURTHER LISTENING AND READING
- Listen to the BBC Radio 4 programme, Wild Music, with Erland Cooper and John Burnside
- Listen to ‘Haar’ (from Sule Skerry)
- Listen to Skreevar’ (from Hether Blether)
- Listen to ‘A Nightingale Sings Outside Our Window’ (written with field recordings submitted by BBC 6Music listeners during lockdown)
PRAISE FOR THE TRIPTYCH:
“An unmitigated triumph, and with Hether Blether, Cooper saves the best for last.” - The Quietus
“Its unbroken sense of place is acutely apt for our current times, the message is that people will always endure” - Electronic Sound
“… at once calming and euphoric, with a beauty that’s its own justification” - Uncut
“Wonderfully nuanced songwriting matched to lung-bursting string arrangements.” - Clash
"considered, crafted and explorative of details that only someone with a true affinity can delve into. If Cooper’s intent was to create an insular kind of magic, he does so" - Loud and Quiet
“…speaks to a universal emotional truth…” - MOJO
“Nature’s songwriter” - The Guardian