Dickie Felton

I write about music and football

Where the waves meet the winds and the sea strikes the heavens, you’ll find the sounds of Erland Cooper.

Erland arrives at Lancaster Library by road but softly informs the audience he’s taking us all the way to the Orkney Islands - by boat.

He’s speaking metaphorically but as soon as the ivories and strings sway you can almost feel the sea spray on your face.

So we ditch any notion we are actually in a library and submerge into a sixty minute voyage of discovery.

It’s Cooper’s first solo tour, and the first time I’ve ever heard of him

A quick bit of pre-gig research tells me he’s an award-winning composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who explores the natural world of birds, sea and landscape in his music.

Cooper declares his Lancaster set is “music for hectic lives” and thus embarks on a remarkable journey of strings and sounds.

The 35-year-old says: “I’m doing seven shows but it feels like seven countries because I’m so used to being a dark studio. I am so happy to be here today. This music is designed to ease a busy mind.”


Accompanied by four other magnificent musicians, Cooper treats the audience to works of art including Sillocks (from his Sule Skerry album) and a recent gem Maalie from 2018’s Solan Goose.

Maalie has atmosphere bordering on extraterrestrial: strings soar, ebb and flow, then descend into the depths. 

Cooper's Orcadian rhythms instil a calm well-being so needed in the polluted debris of modern life. 

Doctors should prescribe a dose of Cooper for anyone struggling. I feel sure the gentle beats and strings can sooth all cares away. 

During this mind-blowing Get it Loud in Libraries matinee I resist for two or three songs before allowing myself to just close my eyes. 

I literally go with the flow. If I’d lost my balance and crashed to the library floor, it wouldn’t have mattered.

It’s hard to describe Cooper's atmospheric ‘outside’ overtures with words.

Think a duet of Michael Nyman and Thomas Newman surfing a sea swell, and that might take you half-way. 

But then you’ll have to go it alone.

Swim the rest yourself…

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