Copped Howl – Dark Tales Returns

Howlround returned to Copped Hall in Epping Forest this month for another dose of Dark Tales And Strange Sounds, an evening of spooky performances inside this most evocative partially restored ruined Georgian mansion. Following the positive reception back in January for ‘Ruled By Darkness’, an original soundwork created from sounds recorded inside the building; it was decided to create something a little more ambitious for this second event: something that would involve a little audience participation and make good use of the Hall’s splendidly reverberant acoustics.

It turns out that ornate chairs also function perfectly as tape loop restraints!

And so it was that during the interval the audience were shepherded into the State Room where the Howlround tape loop soundsystem was set up with a couple of tape loops wound around the arm rests of a couple of handy chairs. At a given signal they were instructed to each make the loudest, highest, scariest noise they could muster, which was then recorded onto one of the loops, slowed down and put through just a little tape delay. The whole process took less than 30 seconds and the result was an instant worthy of The House Of Usher! Here’s a brief taster:

I’ve said this before so many times, but it never fails to amaze me just what you can achieve with a loop of tape, a few voices, two chairs, a ruined mansion and a sense of adventure! Actually, I might not have put it exactly like that, but you get the point. The composition of the original ‘Ruled By Darkness’ (named after an inscription on the sundial on the building’s facade) is also documented in the second episode of the MSCTY School Of Sound Art, where event curator Andy Popperwell and I go exploring for strange sounds around the building, including the fabulously spooky cellars. Check it out here:

Thanks again to Copped Hall for having us and you can find out more about the building’s history and its restoration efforts over at CoppedHallTrust.Org.UK. Plans are currently afoot for a third event later on in the year, but the last two sold out almost immediately, so stay alert!

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