Now for something unexpected: Jarvis Cocker’s new album is comprised solely of British natural sounds including birdsong, crashing waves and crunching gravel.

The former Pulp frontman has gone all Chris Watson and worked with the National Trust to produce a 13-track, 33 minute collection of recordings from some of its sites across England, Northern Ireland and Wales. National Trust: The Album was produced to “showcase the peace and tranquility people enjoy when they visit the special places cared for by the National Trust”, and it’s available to download for free from the National Trust’s website.

The commission was a response to research by the National Trust that reveals 83% of people find that constant audio interruptions [particularly those of a technological nature] make them distracted and unable to concentrate on a daily basis (no shit), while 88% of people say they find it easier to think when surrounded by natural sounds such as birdsong and the sea (no shit).

Tony Berry, Visitor Experience Director of the National Trust, had the following to say:

“If rock and roll is the sound of the city, this is the sound of the country – it’s the ultimate chill-out album.  Millions of people come to our places for physical and mental refreshment, and these sounds are an important part of that.  The release of this album is the first time the sounds of the National Trust have been given their place in the spotlight, and we’re hoping it will provide the perfect antidote to the daily interruptions of a busy life.  When you’re having a hectic day, this is a holiday for your head.”

Cocker adds:

“I hope this album is a ‘Holiday for the Ears’. It’s not really meant to be listened to intently, like a piece of music, but more as something to have on in the background to aid relaxation or contemplation. Plus, you get to visit 13 National Trust properties in the space of 30 minutes. No mean feat. I hope it has the feel of one continuous journey and conjures up an image in the mind’s eye of the places featured. I also hope it could inspire the listeners to then visit the sites for themselves.”

1. Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire (garden stroll with the crunch of gravel underfoot)
2. Belton House, Grantham, Lincolnshire (birdsong)
3. Brownsea Island, Poole, Dorset (waves lapping against the shore)
4. Ham House, Richmond, Surrey (footsteps along the Long Gallery)
5. Chartwell, Westerham, Kent (creaking stairs of the grand staircase)
6. Upton House, Banbury, Warwickshire (game of billiards at play)
7. Lanhydrock, Bodmin, Cornwall (music box playing in the Nursery)
8. Quarry Bank Mill, Wilmslow, Cheshire (children playing at the Apprentice House)
9. Fountains Abbey & Studley Royal Water Garden, Ripon, York (birdsong in the water garden)
10. Powis Castle & Garden, Welshpool, Powys (gardeners at work in the formal garden)
11. Patterson’s Spade Mill, Ballyclare, County Antrim (mill at work)
12. Blickling Hall, Norwich, Norfolk (sounds of clocks in the hall)
13. Blickling Hall, Norwich, Norfolk (wind in the clock tower)

The National Trust maintains over 300 historic houses and gardens, over 700 miles of coastline and over 617,500 acres across England, Wales and Northern Ireland.  National Trust: The Album is available for download until end of June 2010, and will also be played at Paddington Station and other London locations on Thursday 13 May.



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