Ruled By Darkness – The Sounds Of Copped Hall

Dark Tales and Strange Sounds at Copped Hall was a night of the weird and the eerie at the titular mansion, a ruined 18th Century country pile that has been partially restored after the devastating fire that gutted it a century ago. The event was masterminded by Andy Popperwell, one of the Hall’s army of volunteers working on the restoration, but almost certainly the only one in possession of a Masters Degree in Historic Soundscapes. Such academic intrigue was surely the inspiration behind gathering myself, Sinister Masterplan, Julia Stallard together and putting on an evening of stories and sounds themed around the history of Copped Hall and the local area.

My own contribution was a sound installation in the recently restored State Room, an exclusive new tape work entitled ‘Ruled By Darkness’, inspired by an inscription underneath the sundial on the building’s facade. The source material was a single field recording made in one of the partially-refurbished upstairs rooms, manipulated on tape and recorded in something of a panic-stricken rush the previous evening (my old ‘Douglas Adams’ approach to deadlines striking once again).

Combined with such turns as Sinister Masterplan’s eerie recounting of the true-life tale of a burglary in the Hall and Julia’s re-casting Boudicca as a 21st Century Essex girl / football hooligan, it made for a most entertaining evening with a sell-out crowd, who very sensibly kept their masks and coats on throughout – Copped Hall is literally the coldest building I’ve ever known and the only place I’ve ever encountered where one warms up outside! Tickets sold out in just two days, with all profits going to the restoration fund that helps the Hall put on events such as this and other community-related activities. A rematch is currently on the cards, so watch this space for more details. Certainly Wendy, my trusty Revox B77 seemed to enjoy her first trip outside the studio for the best part of a decade…

Seriously, I felt every pothole….

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