Poppy Ackroyd is a composer from London. Classically trained on violin and piano, she makes music by manipulating and multi-tracking sounds from these two instruments.
On Poppy‘s debut album Escapement (Denovali Records) every sound, with the exception of a few field recordings, was created using only either the piano or the violin. The seven tracks are a combination of piano melodies and chords – played both conventionally or created inside the piano using fingers, e-bows and plectrums – violin textures, melodies and pizzicato riffs and finally delicate beats composed of hits, plucks, taps and scrapes made using hands, drumsticks, beaters and small cymbals on either the frame, strings or dampers of the piano. The album has also been released as a DVD, with specially-commissioned visuals from Lumen.
Poppy’s second album, Feathers, (Denovali) was released in 2016 to much critical acclaim. The title of the album was inspired by the line “Hope is the thing with feathers” (Emily Dickinson) – it also references the feather quill in the mechanisms of some of the keyboard instruments, and the recurring themes of birds and flight.
In 2017, she signed to Björk‘s label One Little Independent and released a mini-album Sketches – an acoustic solo piano album comprising of 10 tracks – in August.
Poppy released her third solo album, Resolve, in 2018. This is the first record for which Poppy has written for and employed other players, including Manu Delago (Björk, Cinematic Orchestra, Anoushka Shankar) playing hang, Mike Lesirge (Bonobo, Andreya Triana) playing clarinets and flute, and Jo Quail on cello. Ackroyd plays a combination of both upright and grand piano, and even plays the inside of the instrument using fingers, drumsticks and plectrums – and then arranges and multi-tracks the resulting sounds. The artist employed the same technique to record herself playing violin, pianino, harmonium and spinet, as well as record other musicians who played cello, flute, clarinet, bass clarinet and hang. The remix album, Resolve Reimagined, was released in 2019 and featured reworks by artists such as Max Cooper, Hauschka, Hidden Orchestra, Penelope Trappes, Daisuke Tanabe, Floex and Lone Figures.
In 2020, she released her first sheet music book featuring the tracks from Sketches.
Pause, Poppy’s fourth album, was released by One Little Independent in November 2021. The album saw acclaim from the likes of The Times, Stereogum, Clash Magazine, The Line Of Best Fit, The Arts Desk, The Independent, Composer Magazine and more, praising the album’s intimacy and its effectiveness as a representation of the time it was written. Pause is a collection of 10 solo piano pieces and a sheet music book has also been released. Pause Reworked followed in 2022 – a four track EP reworking the more intimate ‘inside piano’ tracks from Pause and featuring layers of interactive melodies and countermelodies, bass and percussive elements from the piano, putting the emphasis on the dramatic tension of her soundscapes and furthering the narratives of her sonic adventures. In 2023 Pause Reimagined was released featuring remixes by a collection of wonderful modern classical composers – Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres, Anne Muller, Hinako Omori and Christina Vantzou.
Poppy and filmmaker Ainslie Henderson won a Best Animation BAFTA for their collaboration Stems, and their latest collaboration Shackle was awarded Best British Film at the London Animation Awards and was nominated for a BAFTA. A project with acclaimed director Jola Kudela became a short film for single Trains which won 12 awards, including the Gold Movie Awards and South London Shorts. Most recently her music has been used by the New York City Ballet. Poppy is a member of Joe Acheson’s live project Hidden Orchestra and has worked on numerous projects with other musicians, artists, filmmakers, animators, dancers and actors.
Sur le premier album de Poppy, ‘Escapement’ (Denovali Records), chaque son, avec comme exception quelques enregistrements sur le terrain, a été créé en utilisant qu’un piano ou un violon. Les sept titres sont une combinaison de mélodies et accords au piano, joués conventionnellement ou créés à l’intérieur du piano, utilisant ses doigts, e-bows, et plectres – textures, mélodies et riffs pizzicato au violon, et enfin des beats délicates, composées de coups, plucks, claquette et éraflures, créés en utilisant ses mains, des baguettes, beaters et petites cymbales sur le cadre, les chordes ou les amortisseurs du piano. Il y a souvent au moins cinq lignes de percussion différentes, travaillant l’une à côté de l’autre. L’album est aussi sorti en DVD, avec des visuels spécialement conçus par Lumen.
Le deuxième album de Poppy, ‘Feathers’ est sorti sur Denovali Records en 2016 et fut acclamé par la presse.
Poppy sortira son troisième album solo, Resolve, le 2 février avec One Little Indian. Ceci est le premier disque pour lequel Poppy a écrit et engagé d’autres participants dont Manu Delago (Bjork, Cinematic Orchestra, Anoushka Shankar) jouant du hang, Mike Lesirge (Bonobo, Andreya Triana) jouant des clarinettes et la flute, et Jo Quail au violoncelle. Ackroyd joue un mélange de piano droit et à queue et joue même l’intérieur de l’instrument en se servant de ses doigts, baguettes et onglets – pour ensuite arranger et multipister les sons produits. L’artiste a utilisé la même technique pour s’enregistrer jouant du violon, pianino, harmonium et épinette, ainsi que pour enregistrer d’autres musiciens jouant du violoncelle, de la flute, clarinette, clarinette-basse, et du hang.