Poppy Ackroyd: “Suspended(Reworked)”

Some days you’re simply just not in the mood to listen to an obstinacy of shouty chaps bellowing unmitigated bollocks over an angular, albeit derivative guitar riff. Certainly, after the government’s deranged “fiscal event ” you may feel the need to retreat from the noise and find something to help soothe your fractured soul.

And in the nick of time up steps composer, performer and producer Poppy Ackroyd with her sublime single “Suspended.” It’s a reworking of a track from her solo piano collection ‘Pause’ and is an elegant exercise in celestial serenity with cascading piano melodies every bit as emotive, cinematic and nuanced as anything Richter or Einaudi could have envisaged. It comes ahead of her forthcoming EP ‘Pause Reworked’ released October 21st via One Little Independent Records.

Poppy explains “As I was writing and recording some of the tracks for Pause I felt that I wanted to expand on the sound world for some of the tracks, particularly the four tracks that use sounds from inside the piano – Suspended, Stillness, Pause and Unravel. I decided to again limit myself to just the piano as a sound source so there was a direct connection between the rework EP and the album, so apart from the use of a pinecone to generate some percussive ideas for Suspended all the sounds are from the keyboard body, frame and inside of the piano itself.

I used the pinecone as it was to hand after working on a soundtrack for a recent animation where I was creating instruments for woodland creatures, and I loved the way it combined with the sounds of the piano percussion. Maybe because the piano frame is made from wood, but they work really nicely together. There are multiple percussive layers for each track, using drumsticks, chopsticks, plectrums, and my hands I have created heavier and lighter percussive lines. Bass lines which were not possible for some of the original solo piano versions on the Pause album, as both hands were already engaged, add a depth and then high layers of selected improvised flowing melodic lines widen the range of the music making it into something more expansive.

There was also an element of remixing myself. Treating the tracks and source material in the same way I would if I was working on someone else’s track. I have played with the structure of most of the tracks, at times removing whole sections and so some of the pieces are very different from the originals. They all have a very different energy. In some ways it illustrates how I have worked on previous albums, I often come up with simpler ideas with two hands on the piano and then develop and expand them into more layered compositions.”

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