“Paper” by Poppy Ackroyd

"Paper" by Poppy Ackroyd is Northern Transmissions' 'Song of the Day'
Poppy Ackroyd

Poppy Ackroyd’s new single “Paper” is off her first full-length album with One Little Indian Records, Resolve – out early 2018. A classically trained pianist, violinist, producer, and composer, Ackroyd turned heads in the neo-classical world with her previous works Escapement and Feathers, as well as her involvement in Hidden Orchestra (Tru Thoughts).

Having played alongside Hauschka and Nils Frahm, Ackroyd, recently signed to Bjork’s label One Little Indian Records, fresh off the back of a mini-album Sketches, and set to release her brand new self-produced full-length record – her most ambitious and progressive piece of work to date.

Talking about the new single, Ackroyd said: “‘Paper’ is the opening track on the album and the most similar in style to my previous work. It features guest instrumentalists; Mike Lesirge on flute and clarinets, and Jo Quail on cello, but ‘Paper’ is mostly made out of sounds from the violin and piano. The name of the track comes from the paper I laid over the strings while I used fingers and piano hammers to create the percussive sounds that you hear at the start and throughout the track.”

In contrast to Ackroyd’s previous albums, for which the artist manipulated field recordings, Ackroyd has this time employed guest players on the record, in conjunction with her trademark and unique use of unconventional studio methods. Ackroyd creates percussive textures from traditional classical instruments, and the result is almost the emulation of an entire orchestra, using very few instruments combined with the artist’s incredible production skills.

Although a keen collaborator outside of her solo work – having created soundtracks for film, dance, physical theatre and radio – this is the first record for which Poppy has written for and employed other players, including Manu Delago (Bjork, Cinematic Orchestra, Anoushka Shankar) playing hang, Mike Lesirge (Bonobo, Andreya Triana) playing clarinets and flute, and Jo Quail on cello.

Through studying contemporary classical piano works and listening to electronic music, Ackroyd developed her compositional style on previous albums, using contemporary pianistic ideas whilst also inhabiting the world of sound beyond the keyboard, using extended techniques to ‘play’ other parts of the instruments as well. The intelligent artist works by recording improvised contemporary classical piano motifs and then rearranging and manipulating these sounds digitally. The result is a fantastic fusion of acoustic and electronic in a post-classical setting.