Soundtrack of the week: Murmuration by Erland Cooper
Inspired by the sound of seabirds in flight – to be played on a continuous loop – a record to put Bill Oddie in his place…
Here at Hole & Corner HQ, we love a bit of a murmuration. If you missed it, first time round, witness founder Sam Walton’s stunning film of a starling murmuration over Snape Maltings in Suffolk, featuring a soundtrack by Oscar-nominated composer Dustin O’Halloran.
So we were suitably thrilled to hear the latest composition from Erland Cooper in collaboration with artist, writer and musician William Doyle. A continuous, ambient work, split over three movements (or ‘migrations’), Murmuration is a new companion album to Erland Cooper’s debut record Solan Goose.
Not only is it the perfect office soundtrack, it’s also proven educational too, as Cooper explains: ‘Over the years the word “murmuration” has been associated solely with a flock of starlings, but it actually refers to the sonics of a flock of birds,’ he says. ‘So when Bill Oddie and others say: “Let’s go and see this murmuration”, that’s not quite right – you hear it.’
So now you know. Featuring equally beautiful artwork on the cover donated by Norman Ackroyd (CBE), there is something mesmerising about the piece – which Doyle enthusiastically describes as ‘One of the most enjoyable collaborations I’ve been involved in. Murmuration drifts in and out of consciousness. It’s a seamless sonic poem that not only evokes the place and memory of Erland’s original compositions, but hopefully, of the new frontiers we pushed it towards together.’
While the individual migrations can be listened to separately, Cooper conceived them as a complete work in succession – ideally to be played on loop to match the endless variations of flight from the birds that inspired it. (They were, Cooper explains, ‘a particular group of sea birds that, unlike many other birds, spend the first 5-10 years of their lives travelling far and wide out to sea in solitude, before settling down to find a partner and lay a single egg… It’s a recycling or ‘upcycling’ of sounds, themes and layers into a new collaborative work.’