Erland Cooper plays songs from his new album, Sule Skerry, for this evening’s free promotional gig at Rough Trade East. The songs on his first solo album, Solan Goose, was themed around birds from his homeland, the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland. Sule Skerry is a continuation of that, but this time not about birds but the sea and the land.
Cooper has set up shop in the middle of the floor, rather than on the stage. He’s accompanied by a string quartet and all his old-school equipment, including cassette player and open reel.
‘We released a record today, Sule Skerry… Everything we do, we try to do it slightly differently. Instead of being up on the stage, we’ve come down here. I took the piano myself… We just want to try and create a wee safe haven, a wee nest.’
Soprano Lottie Greenhow sings with her beautiful, Wagnerian voice on some songs. Violist Jacob Downs takes over the piano, allowing Cooper to mess around with his tapes and loops and take a little wander around among the other musicians.
Cooper stands up with his microphone and sings the final song, First of the Tide. His fragile, thin voice may not be the most accomplished, but it adds a fine sense of someone full of wonder and awe of his surroundings; the tide, the seagulls and the rising sun on the horizon of the sea. And listening to Cooper singing over the loops and strings, I know all I need to do is close my eyes, and I will be in the same place too.
Erland Cooper setlist
1. Flattie (P1)
3. Solan Goose
9. Spoot Ebb
10. Flattie (P2)
11. First of the Tide