Carmel Smickersgill

Composer turns experimental dabbler

Who they?

Simultaneously tapping into the worlds of theatre music and indie electronica is Carmel Smickersgill. Since leaving the Royal Northern College of Music in 2018, Smickersgill has set up shop in Manchester where she has written compositions for plays and concert halls, fielding commissions from the Liverpool Philharmonic’s Ensemble 10/10 and BBC Radio 3. She’s even been nominated for the Ivor Novello Rising Star Award in the process. All this takes place alongside work with experimental acts like Bunny Hoova, who feature on ‘Curl Compilation 2’ released last  year by Mica Levi’s CURL collective.

Why Carmel Smickersgill?

Smickersgill’s own solo work operates in the instrumental-experimental-pop realm, flitting between the kitsch colours of a William Onyeabor, the tripped-out leering of ‘Windowlicker’-era Aphex Twin, and the cool locomotion of Bonobo. Mentored and championed by Anna Meredith, Smickersgill applies a welcome academic-creative slant to her amorphous genre, by combining a keen awareness of sound design, sampling and beat-making with brilliant skill in traditional approaches to composition. Her latest single ‘Leaving’ is a precocious fusion of flute sounds, vocals, synths and dancehall-inspired percussion. It’s the standout from her debut EP, ‘We Get What We Get & We Don’t Get Upset’, with tracks ‘Questioning’ and ‘Greeting’ demonstrating staccato sequences of vocal samples and warm synthscapes.

Tell us more…

In 2017, New Order and Liam Gillick played live at the Manchester International Festival. If you look carefully at ‘New Order: Decades’, the documentary chronicling the acclaimed collaboration, you can just make out Smickersgill in the synthesiser orchestra.

‘We Get What We Get & We Don’t Get Upset’ is out on PRAH

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