String Quartet & Tape · 2017-18

Listen soon…

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“A politically-charged response to the events of the last two years…[an] engrossing, almost monolithic work.” — Hugh Morris, Bach Track

“…it was spectacular, but God it shook us.” — Chris Flack, Get Into This

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“…skillfully produced, highly atmospheric and emotionally powerful[.]” — Colin Clarke, Seen and Heard International


Commissioned by Manchester Collective, Elms’ 100 Demons is a bold new work for string quartet and tape.

“100 Demons”is my response to the ugly unveilings of 2016-2018, which revealed plutocracies where democracies once — allegedly — stood. The composition is a manifestation of my frustrations and feelings of disempowerment in the face of governance that, at the cost of the many, distorts and obscures in the name of personal, political and financial gain.

Elms’ composition, 100 Demons, reflects upon the politically-charged culture of 2016-18 and the social divides the period produced; it focuses upon the line drawn between reality and fabrication. Vivid characters and narratives from Japanese folklore inform the composition, as does the unrelenting rhythms and energy of the traditional Japanese drums.

“To my eyes and ears, accustomed to Western formats, the hyperdramatic spectacle, language and characters of Japanese folklore and its telling is something truly magic and other worldly. I used my experience of this wonderful culture to provide a stark contrast between the composition’s representation of the real world, the concert hall before the audience, and the “other”, the hyper-dramatisation of movement and sound; the world as it truly is and the world as we perceive it.”

Hyakki Yagyo, “The Night Parade of 100 Demons”, was said to be a band of spectres that would bring mayhem, destruction and death to anyone that stood in its path. The only protection against the parade was to hide indoors, or to offer up an ancient incantation to protect oneself. The chanting of extracts from the incantation permeate Elms’ composition alongside sonic manifestations of “artefact ghosts” — inanimate objects and instruments possessed by a spirit, which, if poorly treated or neglected, would wreak havoc upon their owners.

Elms’ 100 Demons is a composition of music, choreography and satire, and a bold response to the changing face of politics and society’s involvement with it.

String Quartet

Tape elements are provided as WAVE files (24-bit, 48kHz), to be hosted in a DAW or multi-channel playback system, or a basic stereo file can be provided on CD. Contact Music Sales for a full breakdown of available formats and their technical requirements.*

HULL, 2016-17