Hannah Peel – Fir Wave

Electronic maestro Hannah Peel channels her hero Delia Derbyshire to tackle environmental issues on new album Fir Wave

Album Review by Joe Goggins | 23 Mar 2021
  • Hannah Peel – Fir Wave
Album title: Fir Wave
Artist: Hannah Peel
Label: My Own Pleasure
Release date: 26 Mar

There’s no question that the influence of electronic pioneer Delia Derbyshire hangs heavy over this sixth full-length from Hannah Peel. It’s effectively a present-day reimagining of Kpm 1000 Series: Electrosonic, one of Derbyshire’s myriad collaborations with the BBC Radiophonic Workshop (the most famous of which was her theme for Doctor Who). In truth, though, Peel remains the central character throughout; Fir Wave is an album in her own image, constructed to her own ever-evolving blueprint. It’s a record preoccupied primarily with environmental issues, both musical and global. 

In the former regard, on the likes of the softly spiralling synth odyssey Patterned Formation and the atmospheric, nervy thrum of closer Reaction Diffusion, she allows her Derbyshire samples room to breathe as she airily constructs her own ideas around them. In the latter sense, the quiet unease of Ecovocative and Carbon Cycle hint at the world’s ongoing lack of urgency when it comes to the climate crisis. Fir Wave should represent a clash of styles – between Peel’s 21st-century toolkit and Derbyshire’s early-70s equivalent – but instead, there’s a deep sense that the two women, generations apart, are in tandem.

Listen to: Carbon Cycle, Patterned Formation, Ecovocative