Poppy Ackroyd – Escapement

Album Review by Bram E. Gieben | 04 Jun 2013
Album title: Escapement
Artist: Poppy Ackroyd
Label: Denovali
Release date: 10 June

After an initial release last year, this 7-track album of multi-tracked piano, violin and field recordings from Hidden Orchestra collaborator Poppy Ackroyd gets a full physical release, and it is still enchanting and unsettling in equal measure. Drawing on contemporary classical approaches and studio techniques allows her to largely eschew traditional movements or song structures in favour of gently coalescing collage – when a structure finally emerges from the abstract, overlapping patterns, with bowed strings ornamented by flourishes of minimal piano, it is dramatic, like clouds parting after a storm.

The tracks descend and rise again from interlocking scales into natural atmospherics and abstract, layered melody. This tendency to bookend intricately composed melodic pieces with almost formless abstract noise is effective – rather than creating a 'cinematic' effect – a term bandied about wherever strings and piano are found – Ackroyd paints with sound, revealing strange and complex tonal shifts. Ackroyd references her work with Joe Acheson's band while creating something unique. [Bram E. Gieben]