ALBUM REVIEW: Erland Cooper – Hether Blether | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Released: 29.05.20







It is a special thing to experience the resolve of a perfectly formed trilogy, and Hether Blether is just that; the third in a trilogy written about and for Erland Cooper’s home of The Orkney Islands. Having explored the birds that pepper the sky on Solan Goose and the sea into which they dive on Sule Skerry, he turns in this conclusion to the land and the people. 

As with its siblings, Hether Blether features many voices of The People. Voices that, like many of the song titles, seem on first glance to be non-sensical or some impenetrable Nordic lyrical lilt. After spending some time with them though, you are able to sway with their strange rhythm and they offer a welcoming invitation into their world. 

One voice that features rarely across the trilogy is Cooper’s own. He knows that this project is something larger than himself. Cooper is just the vessel through which the story tells itself, and it’s this lack of ego and complete commitment to these people and places that he loves that sets him apart as a master storyteller.

When the voices aren’t telling stories, the celestial strings blow in with their intricate tales, punctuated by the occasional lapping of percussion and piano and, when the wind really gets up, a roaring beat. 

A lot of these pieces can and will be loved alone, as gorgeous ambient wallpaper. For many that will be enough. Like a photograph of a battered, beautiful cliff. But to take a song from this record alone is to cup your hands around your eyes and enjoy the rocks only. Instead, put your hands down and enjoy the whole bay. The waves galloping in from the horizon, then slowing to caressing the sand and the birds cawing overhead. This trilogy is a vast, lush, mess of movement, colour and life.


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