Poppy Ackroyd Announces Intimate Café OTO Performance & Shares Session Video ‘Suspended’
Brighton based performer and composer Poppy Ackroyd has shared her beautiful and intimate new video, a session recorded at RAK Studios in London by Sound Network. It displays perfectly her use of extended technique as she plucks the inside of a grand piano. Bird on the Wire have also announced a live show at Cafe OTO, September 20th.
Another mesmeric performance, Ackroyd focuses on the precise sting plucks to sculpt the harrowing ambiance on offer throughout this ensemble. The live performance flourishes the intimacy of this track and captures that attribute so clearly. As we’ve stated before, this arrangement stirs up some feelings of solitude, and lonesomeness all of which are exaggerated by the striking and resonating keys which you visually connect with throughout the harrowing journey. A remarkable and moving track.
Ackroyd returned with her fourth full length album ‘Pause’ in November. Written during the pandemic and shortly after the birth of her first child, the title refers to the feeling of normal life being temporarily put on hold.
‘Pause’ is a collection of 10 solo piano works. Poppy tells us; “For previous albums almost as much of the creative process was spent editing and manipulating recordings as it was composing at the piano, however after having my son, I struggled to spend time sat in front of a computer. The only thing I wanted to do while he was still small, if I wasn’t with him, was to play the piano. In fact, much of the album was written with him asleep on me in a sling as I used any quiet moment to compose.
It therefore made sense that this album should be a solo piano album. I used extended technique – playing with sounds from inside the instrument – like I do in my multi-tracked recordings, however it was important to me that every track on the album could be entirely performed with just two hands on the piano.”
Following the writing process Poppy spent several months practicing in order to be able to play the pieces completely fluidly. She says “there was a lightness and effortlessness to the recordings that I wanted that was only achievable after many hours of practise.”
As individual stories ‘Pause’ is compelling and ambitious but in its entirety it’s a flawless snap-shot of its time, highlighting the highs and lows of the period as well as a unique and challenging era for its creator. It carries with it a host of stages we’ve all found ourselves working through and has done so with gorgeous, poetic lucidity, all the while expanding on the sounds usually expected of a solo piano record.
Poppy Ackroyd’s debut album ‘Escapement’ was released in December 2012 and a DVD – ‘Escapement Visualised’ – featuring bespoke visuals by Tom Newell for each track on the album, was released in September 2014. ‘Feathers’, her second album, followed in November 2014, and builds on the concept behind her debut, with most of the sounds again coming from the violin and the piano, however this time the tracks also feature other keyboard and string instruments. In 2017 she released her acoustic solo mini album ‘Sketches’ followed by ‘Resolve’ in February 2018 and ‘Resolve Reimagined’ in 2019, which featured remixes from Max Cooper, Hidden Orchestra, Hauschka and others.
In 2015 Poppy and Ainslie Henderson won a ‘Best Animation’ BAFTA for their collaboration ‘Stems’. A project with acclaimed director Jola Kudela became a short film for 2017 single ‘Trains’ which won 12 awards, including the Gold Movie Awards and South London Shorts. Most recently her music has been used by the New York City Ballet. Poppy is also a member of Joe Acheson’s live project Hidden Orchestra and has worked on numerous projects with other musicians, artists, filmmakers, animators, dancers and actors.