Poppy Ackroyd – Resolve album review

Self-produced third album from one-woman post-classical orchestra.

Poppy Ackroyd

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Poppy Ackroyd has been described as a contemporary classical pianist and composer, but that doesn’t adequately reflect the alchemy of modern and traditional that she achieves on Resolve. By using digital sampling and editing to manipulate and rearrange her piano playing, she has more in common with the early pioneers of electronica than the conservatoire. Many of her songs share the same feeling of perpetual motion, with melodies, motifs and percussive effects looping against each other, yet the sounds here are generated from acoustic instruments rather than synth patches. On tracks such as Paper and Time, Ackroyd revels in the idea of her music as an assemblage, a consensual illusion, the winding of its internal mechanism plainly audible. But there’s real heart here too – the dramatic arpeggios and strings of Light recall Michael Nyman’s music for The Piano. Finally, the end credits of Trains releases the pent-up emotions that dominate this album with an expression of simple joy. While acknowledging the chaotic, artificial logic of human existence, Resolve is also rather magical, as fragile yet unyielding as nature itself.

Joe Banks

Joe is a regular contributor to Prog. He also writes for Electronic Sound, The Quietus, and Shindig!, specialising in leftfield psych/prog/rock, retro futurism, and the underground sounds of the 1970s. His work has also appeared in The Guardian, MOJO, and Rock & Folk. Joe is the author of the acclaimed Hawkwind biographyDays Of The Underground (2020). He’s on Twitter and Facebook, and his website is https://www.daysoftheunderground.com/