Dame Evelyn Glennie joins Society of Sound

Dame Evelyn Glennie and guitarist / composer Jon Hemmersam have created and recorded an entirely improvised album, Sound Spirits, at Real World Studios for Society of Sound.

Hemmersam describes first hearing Glennie as “like a musical homecoming. Her playing spoke directly to me like a kindred spirit. Evelyn has no restrictions within her sound creation”.

They decided to collaborate and “agreed it had to be an entirely improvised album. No plans, no arrangements or agreements, just pure improvisation in the moment!

Evelyn explained that for her the room is part of the sound, she uses the room as an instrument the original surround sounds if you like. Creating this recording together felt as if we were ‘at one’ with the music, the instruments and the room.”

Percussionist and composer Glennie lost nearly all of her hearing by the age 12. Rather than isolating her, it has given her a unique connection to her music. In the above soaring demonstration, Evelyn Glennie illustrates how listening to music involves much more than simply letting sound waves hit your eardrums” (TED)

Production notes from Jake Jackson, the engineer for Sound Spirit:

For the percussion, a lot was played in the piano. I wanted to get an interesting sound. We removed the piano lid and Evelyn placed various pieces of percussion on the soundboard of the piano. There were various effects created by scraping or banging the piano strings.  I took a stereo pair of B&K 4011s which I had positioned over the piano, and Evelyn played her instruments underneath. But I also put a C12vr in an omnidirectional pick-up into one of the sound holes of the piano, to get the resonances of the instrument.

For Jon’s guitar, I used another C12vr & a Royer ribbon mic; I used these in combination to get a lovely sound.

I also then had a pair of omnidirectional mics on the balcony of the Wooden Room Studio to capture the ambience, mainly of the piano. We tried not to use too much reverb and to use the sound of the beautiful room.

We recorded onto Protools and did a live mix, as that encapsulated everything about the performance – I didn’t want to lose that special quality by remixing.

I used the preamps from the SSL K-series desk and a Neve 33609 as the only compressor across the mix buss.


  • John Simmons says:

    Prokofiev was beautiful thanks, the Evelyn Glennie album is truly dreadful imho. Pretentious and pointless.

  • Popey says:

    I have to agree with John Simmons. I”ll be deleting the Evelyn Glennie from my NAS – I can make much better use of the space. It was like listening to a toothache.
    The Prokofiev was fabulous and I have high hopes for this month’s Holst!

  • Rob Hinchcliffe says:

    Evelyn Glennie album already deleted from my computer

  • Mesuno says:

    Evelyn Glennie’s Sound Spirits: ugly. Very ugly.

  • Les H says:

    I have been a long time admirer of Evelyn Glennie but have to agree that this is a very disappointing album and a little surprised that Evelyn allowed it to be released.

  • David says:

    Never knew Evelyn Glennie before and after listening to this album, I don’t think I want to know more either.

  • P2 says:

    Prokofiev – great
    Dame Evelyn Glennie – deleted again

  • Jo T says:

    Technically an interesting album – but once you’ve listened to it once – would you ever listen to it again? Or play it for your friends over dinner? Or put on the ‘phones and let yourself get lost in the music? er – No.

  • Jo T says:

    Is it only me getting an overload of LSO?

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