Mermaid 21st Birthday Event

Grey Area with Crash Ensemble

Crash Ensemble present Grey Area - a skateboarding film with original score by Irish composer Sam Perkin.

Grey Area is a skateboarding film with original score. Shot and edited by skate photographer and videographers Niall O’Byrne and Sam Curtin, with music by Cork composer and skater Sam Perkin, performed by Crash Ensemble.

Blending the essence of street skateboarding with contemporary music, Grey Area is a hypnotic journey through the streets, leading us to secrets that we find only if we are open to them. - Sam Perkin.

Grey Area was commissioned by Engage Arts Festival, Bandon to the Sea with funds from the Arts Council. Grey Area was released on Crash Records in 2019.

Sam Perkin on Grey Area

As a composer and skateboarder, it has taken me many years to find a way of blending the two together in a meaningful artistic way. Grey Area is the fruit of a collaboration between friends, an exploration at the crossroads between contemporary music and street skateboarding. I wanted to convey the unique feeling of liberation that street skateboarding brings. I also wished to transport the listener / viewer into the mind of a skateboarder. I did this to reveal how skateboarders look differently at architecture - how they perceive their landscape and the excitement that it brings to them.

In the film, two different worlds are shown in relief, each one complementing the other. The first layer is in slow motion and follows a skateboarder from the centre to the outskirts of a city. The second layer intersperses energetic, glitchy shots of a skateboarder interacting with their landscape. All sound was removed from the film and we hear this second layer played by Crash Ensemble. In other words, I orchestrated the sounds, rhythms and colours of skateboarding and The City.

We are hypnotically drawn into the skateboarder’s nocturnal journey to see what secrets are to be found, if we are open to them.

Grey Area
Composed by Sam Perkin
Video by Niall O’Byrne & Sam Curtin
Recorded by Crash Ensemble
Matt Rafter Producer/Concerts Manager
Siân Cunningham CEO
Kate Ellis Artistic Director
Mariana Parás Marketing & Community Manager
Adrian Hart FOH Sound/Audio Producer
Rob Kearns Production Manager


Crash Ensemble is Ireland’s leading new music ensemble; a group of world-class musicians who play the most adventurous, ground-breaking music of today.

Amazingly ordinary people doing extraordinary things - Crash is innovative, adventurous and ambitious.

Led by cellist and Artistic Director, Kate Ellis and Principal Conductor, Ryan McAdams, the ensemble commissions, collaborates, explores, investigates and experiments with a broad spectrum of music creators and artistic collaborators: ‘We love to innovate, with quality always at the heart of everything we do. We are passionate about the music we play. We create experiences; exploring new ways of presenting music and bringing our audiences on new adventures. Community for us is key – our community inspires us to create and experiment more. We value our audiences and our connection with them.’

Crash perform both in Ireland and internationally. The ensemble’s music is available on their own label, Crash Records and they have recordings on Nonesuch, Cantaloupe, NMC, Ergodos and Bedroom Community labels.

Many well-known artists from diverse musical backgrounds have performed with the ensemble; Terry Reily, Gavin Friday, Dawn Upshaw, Diamanda La Berge Dramm, Laurie Anderson, Lisa Hannigan, Íarla Ó Lionáird (The Gloaming), Bryce Dessner (The National), Richard Reed Parry (Arcade Fire), Sam Amidon and Beth Orton.

As well as performing throughout Ireland, Crash regularly perform internationally, with appearances in the last few years at the Edinburgh International Festival, The Royal Opera House (London), The Barbican (London), Carnegie Hall (NYC) The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (Washington DC), Virginia Tech (Virginia), GAIDA Festival (Lithuania) and residencies at The Huddersfield Contemporary Music festival (UK) and Princeton University (NJ).

Crash Ensemble is funded by the Arts Council of Ireland and Dublin City Council, is a resident ensemble at the National Concert Hall in Dublin, Ireland and at Kilkenny Arts Festival, Ireland.


Sam Perkin, who is based between France and Ireland, is composer-in-residence with Crash Ensemble, Ireland’s leading new music ensemble; a group of world-class musicians who play the most adventurous music of today. Grey Area (2017-19), his first major work for Crash Ensemble, imaginatively blends the worlds of Street Skateboarding with Contemporary Music and received its first three performances at Music Town Dublin, Sounds From A Safe Harbour Cork, and Musica Nova Festival Helsinki. Waves (2016-18) is an attempted self-cure for tinnitus and is one of the fruits of a bountiful collaboration between The Irish Chamber Orchestra and the composer over a number of years, supported by The Arts Council of Ireland. Language (2017), a substantial work for Solo Violin, was commissioned by West Cork Chamber Music Festival for contemporary violin specialist Miranda Cuckson and explores the inner workings of different human languages. Twitter (2018) for Flute Choir, Audience, Smartphones and Video was commissioned by La Côte Flûte Festival Switzerland. In more recent artistic work, Sam has been working with blending sine tones with acoustic instruments to make them ‘glow’, as in his Orchestra In The Digital Age (2019) for Orchestra and Sine Tones, for the CMC’s Composer Lab with the RTÉ NSO. “<3” (2019), composed for double bassist Caimin Gilmore, notably explored the musicality of children giggling. In Alta (2019), Sam collaborated with Finnish scientist and Northern Lights specialist, Unto K. Laine, to include the recently discovered and recorded sounds of the Aurora Borealis in a work commissioned by Alta Chamber Music Festival Norway. Premièred in 2021, Sam’s highly visual and imaginative new work Visualization (2021) was performed by Luminosa Orchestra at Galway Cathedral. Inspired by the Sonic Meditations of Pauline Oliveros, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Dalcroze specialist Diane Daly, the new work signalled a ritualistic return to live performance after the onslaught of Covid-19. Suburban Distortion (2021), for Three Guitars (Distorted Electric Guitar, Clean Electric Guitar, Acoustic Guitar), will be premièred at Network For New Music Philadelphia next year. His latest work, a large-scale hybrid-symphony for Crash Ensemble and Halo, with Diamanda Dramm as Guide, was performed at New Music Dublin in 2022. This work is titled: Children In The Universe (2020-22).