Friday May 17, 2019
For this evening’s free promotional gig at Rough Trade East, Erland Cooper plays songs from his new album, Sule Skerry. I last saw Erland Cooper play live almost a year ago, when he toured his first solo album, Solan Goose, on which the songs were themed around birds from his homeland, the Orkney Island off the coast of Scotland. Sule Skerry very much seems like a continuation of that – not as much about birds, as about the sea and the land.
Cooper has set up shop in the middle of the floor, rather than on the stage, with a string quartet and all his old-school equipment, including cassette-player and open reel.
‘We released a record today, Sule Skerry… Everything we do we try to do it slightly different. Instead of being up on the stage we’ve come down here. I took the piano myself… We just want to try and create a wee safe haven, a wee nest.’
For some songs, soprano Lottie Greenhow sings with her beautiful, wagnerian voice, and violist Jacob Downs takes over the piano, allowing Cooper to mess around with his tapes and loops and take a little wander around among the other musicians.
For the final song, Cooper stands up with his microphone and sings, ‘First of the Tide’. His fragile, thin voice may not be the most accomplished, but it adds a fine sense of someone that’s full of wonder and awe of his surroundings; the tide, the seagulls and the rising sun on the horizon of the sea. And listening to Cooper singing over the loops and strings, I know all I need to do is close my eyes, and I will be in the same place too.
Erland Cooper setlist
1. Flattie (P1)
3. Solan Goose
9. Spoot Ebb
10. Flattie (P2)
11. First of the Tide