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Chosen One: Xylouris White

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Interview with George Xylouris & Jim White.

All these things forge our sound and make us more who we are and where we are from. Pictures and sounds, deserts and forests and towns and sky and people, and I woke up in the bus in Arizona at 6 in the morning at sunrise and everything was pink, I’d never seen anything like this.”

—George Xylouris

Words: Mark Carry

george and jim

Xylouris White is the inspired collaboration between Greek lute player George Xylouris and the Australian, Brooklyn-based drummer Jim White. Both composers are legends in their own right, the former through his Cretan lute-led sounds of the Xylouris Ensemble, the latter through his membership of mythical Australian trio Dirty Three and myriad collaborations over the years (Nina Nastasia, Cat Power, Bill Callahan, PJ Harvey, Nick Cave, to name a few). Both have harnessed truly unique and unparalleled playing styles and levels of musicianship in their respective instruments where inspiration seems in endless supply at all times.

A catharsis of energy is unleashed throughout ‘Black Peak’ with an incredible force and unwavering beauty that has become one of the treasured hallmarks of the duo’s incendiary sound (ever since the duo’s 2014 debut full-length ‘Goats’). A wider sonic palette is masterfully explored here with the addition of George Xylouris’s immense baritone vocals (on several tracks) and a myriad of special guests from the extended Xylouris family (George’s father Psarandonis and Will Oldham carve beautiful new textures and colour to the duo’s visionary sound), further heightening the revelatory experience that awakens with each pulsating beat and enriching narrative.

If ever a song embodied the spirit of a record it comes with the closing epic ballad ‘The Feast’. A rich tapestry of otherworldly sounds gloriously ascends amidst a whirlwind of life’s fleeting moments. George’s father Psaradonis takes the lead role: his soaring lyra and voice weaves majestically around his son’s hypnotic lute playing and White’s joyous and sprawling drums. The Last Waltz. The gorgeous, sombre feel could be any one of Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy’s deeply moving records and shares the infinite possibilities and sacred space of Dirty Three’s Ellis, White and Turner.

The sheer expanses covered on ‘Black Peak’ is staggering. The opening rock opus ‘Black Peak’ and ‘Forging’s momentous rock’n’roll rhythms are followed by the poignant parable of ‘Hey, Musicians!’ and divine epic love song, ‘Erotokritos’. Worlds drift in. Ancient traditions are interwoven with contemporary, avant-garde musical structures, forever embedded deep inside a mysterious, enchanting and cosmic space.

Bret Easton Ellis began his introduction to John Williams’s vintage novel ‘Butcher’s Crossing’ by saying: “A novel is about the opening of consciousness, in both the characters who inhabit the fictional narrative as well as that of the reader envisioning the novel in their head as they explore the terrain the author has laid out.” Just like the sweeping, intimate portrait of (central character) Will Andrews’s search for a new way of living, ‘Black Peak’ invites the listener to inhabit the far-reaching plains of life’s mysterious and kaleidoscopic landscape. As depicted on the striking narrative of ‘Hey, Musicians!’, music indeed never ends.


‘Black Peak’ is available now on Bella Union.

Fractured Air & Plugd Records present XYLOURIS WHITE w/ KATIE KIM

TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork Friday 28 October 2016 Tickets: €15 (ORDER ONLINE HERE)


Interview with George Xylouris & Jim White.

Congratulations on the stunning sophomore full length ‘Black Peak’. Firstly, there is new sonic terrain covered on ‘Black Peak’ with the addition of your immense baritone vocals, and a wider sonic palette is masterfully drawn from, with special guests from the extended Xylouris family also deployed. Please take me back to the making and recording of ‘Black Peak’ and please recount for me the recording sessions? What was the studio set-up and how long did the recording take?

George Xylouris: BLACK PEAK is recorded in different studios around the world, New York, Providence, Crete, Iceland, we were on tour at the time we were recording. That’s one of the reasons we call the album Black Peak, not only because of the song about the mountain above where I’m from but also the symbol of linear B (Minoan script) for this mountain and its sister peak which maybe means the horizon (anthropological theory).

The first song recorded for the album was Forging, recorded at Guy’s studio and it also helped us with direction for the record. We recorded Black Peak (the song) in Queens, The Feast was from Guy’s in New York and finished in Crete with my father singing and playing, and Erotokritos was finished in Louisville the day we played a show there, the studio set up is different depending where we were.

In Rethymnon you can hear the birds from the open windows singing with Psarandonis. Hey Musicians! was the first time we played this song, we recorded it in Iceland in a studio that used to be a swimming pool and we played in the bottom of the pool. We recorded many songs like that, but this was the first song we recorded that day. It tells about somebody asking the musicians to tune up their instruments because he wants to sing about his old loves and he wants the air to take the words away where his loves hang out, those ones who loved him and those that lied to him and he’s got a lot to take out of his heart in a love way and then when his fantasy party finishes he says to the musicians to hang up their instruments and put them in their cases because music never ends.

A catharsis of energy is unleashed throughout ‘Black Peak’ with an incredible force and unwavering beauty that becomes one of the trademarks of the Xylouris White sound. For example, the aesthetics of the record is another important aspect, where gripping intensity of the more rock fuelled anthems (‘Forging’ and ‘Black Peak’ at the beginning) is joined with epic ballads such as album closer ‘The Feast’. In what way do you feel your live tour of your debut album help shape the songs off ‘Black Peak’. It is this energy between the pair of you – this resolutely unique duo – that evokes such a shape-shifting, enriching and incomprehensible sound. Please talk me through the creative process and indeed the space you each create that forms the bustling heart of Xylouris White? 

GX: Thanks for your comments.

We’ve played a lot of concerts in a lot of places since the release of Goats and we like to do that, a lot of time together a lot of sound checks, traveling, concerts, talking, listening, and traveling to the horizon all the time, ahead. All these things forge our sound and make us more who we are and where we are from. Pictures and sounds, deserts and forests and towns and sky and people, and I woke up in the bus in Arizona at 6 in the morning at sunrise and everything was pink, I’d never seen anything like this.

Are any of the new tracks actual traditional songs?

GX: The lyrics of Erotokritos is from the 14th century. There are different melodies – different ways to sing the words depending on the area in Crete; it’s a love epic song 10,000 couplets, we cover around 15.

Pretty Kondilies is a traditional dance and that type of melodies are traditional, there are many choices and you choose and put them in a row and often people and musicians improvise the words on the spot. it depends the situation and their feelings, the arrangement is ours.

Please discuss the rich musical lineage of the Xylouris family and indeed the players – past and present – that comprise the Xylouris Ensemble. Also, there is a beautifully vivid sense of place in your music, something that resonates powerfully with The Dirty Three and how a sense of journey always finds a way into the music, and Xylouris White is certainly no exception. Can you explain the importance of travel and the act of travelling must have on the music you create? I always feel it could be music to an epic road-trip through many journeys past.

GX: I grew up in a musical family, my uncles, father, brother and sisters, my villagers who were also feel like my family and many of my friends, we grew up together playing music and soccer in the village, and hung around in the sides of the village and cut wood and would pretend it’s a lute, and play, singing the sounds and that’s one of our fun and enjoyable games, and we also mimic dancers and musicians from our village. So I grew up playing mandolin and serenading around the village many, many times, and hung out with older people, who wanted me to play for them, to sing and have all the sounds of the wedding and parties in the square and later on when I was thirteen I left school and I went with my father to play all around the island as a full-time musician and soon I understood what I wanted do with my life.

Later on I had the opportunity to travel with my father and met many other musicians and singers and dancers and kept in touch with them through the years, exchange ideas and hear other music, keep in touch and play music all these years, unstoppable, and when I was 27 we went to Australia to play with my father and I stayed there for 8 years. A few friends and family there happened to be musicians from different traditions and background and that’s how we started Xylouris Ensemble, and that’s also when Jim and I met in the late 80s and later on Dirty Three started and they invited me to play as a guest etc.

What are your earliest musical memories?

GX: Listening to my Dad rehearsing at my grandfather’s house, a couple of my Dad’s friends were there and one is a really beautiful and unique dancer and I remember that and I never forget that I heard the melodies I already knew and I saw my Dad try to play those melodies in a different way, put more or less in, different bows and try in that way to cover the dance, talking with the dancer and tried to drive them connected to the dance and that was a huge experience and I discovered that you could play the same thing in different ways and I noticed it was for them the most important thing that was happening in the whole world , like a meeting of the big countries having a summit to save the world.

Jim White: My parents playing Bob Dylan records at parties at my house.

As masters of your chosen instruments, I would love for you to discuss your first encounter with the drums and lute?

GX: In the square at a wedding listening to my uncle Yiannis play the lute. 

JW: Listening to records and loving it but having no understanding of it at all, and then making a band with my friends which never even got together once but I decided to choose drums.

What musical philosophy you feel has remained true to you throughout these years? 

GX: To quote my Dad, – he doesn’t play with meters he plays with kilometres.

JW: Trying to understand the drums from the basics.

Can you recount for me your memories of first meeting one another? It’s amazing to think this occurred even before the beginnings of Dirty Three, another factor to what makes this duo so special and unique. 

GX: I met Jim through friends at a party, and then again when I saw Venom P. Stinger play.

JW: At a party through friends when George couldn’t speak any English, and then playing by himself at a bar in the city and then later Xylouris Ensemble by the river. 

What is your compositional approach? I wonder has the process changed or developed in any way from the debut ‘Goats’? 

GX: Everything changes. Nothing stays stable. Next year will be different again! We don’t know what we are exactly looking for but we face our direction.

The closing ballad ‘The Feast’ represents the finest moment of ‘Black Peak’s rich tapestry of otherworldly sound. The music of Xylouris White feels at once steeped in an age-old tradition of folk music and the wide expanses of experimental nuances. Can you talk me through the construction of this song and the addition of lyra & voice? It must be exciting to be playing some of these songs more stripped down as a duo (minus the added instrumentation of the guests), I wonder do the songs mutate or evolve in any way over the course of a long tour?

JW: This song is an improvisation on a melody we recorded at Guy’s house in New York, we had that and liked it very much and later on in Rethymnon at Aristotelis’ studio with the windows open on a hot day the birds came and started singing with Psarandonis (George’s dad) and George.

The words are about someone, he’s going to marry the moon and because he loves that moment he writes the lyrics and the moon is in and out of the clouds and he calls to the mountains because he is so happy “hello friends, how heavy you are, as much as I love you” and he calls earth his mum and the sky his dad and he asks them to come to his wedding with the moon because that’s what he feels is so beautiful that he loses his mind and wants marry the moon.


‘Black Peak’ is available now on Bella Union.

Fractured Air & Plugd Records present XYLOURIS WHITE w/ KATIE KIM

TDC, Triskel Arts Centre, Cork Friday 28 October 2016 Tickets: €15 (ORDER ONLINE HERE)

Written by admin

October 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E4 | April mix

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We’re delighted to present an exclusive unreleased track by U.S. composer and songwriter Peter Broderick (Bella Union, Erased Tapes) in April’s mixtape. For well over a decade now, the world-renowned Portland Oregon-born artist has been to the forefront of the thriving independent music scene, amassing a considerable body of work across a multitude of labels and platforms in the process. While originally a member of both Efterklang and Horse Feathers, Broderick’s reputation as a gifted solo composer would be heralded by the release of both folk-based “Home” (Bella Union) and the piano-based “Float” (Type) in 2008. Since then, Broderick has released a plethora of records for labels such as Erased Tapes and Bella Union, highlights including: 2009’s “Music For Falling From Trees”, 2011’s “Music For Confluence”, 2012’s “These Walls Of Mine” and 2015’s “Colours Of The Night” albums. Collaboration has also been of vital importance to Broderick’s artistic output to date. Duos have been formed with U.K.’S Greg Haines (Greg Gives Peter Space) and France’s Félicia Atkinson (La Nuit) while other collaborations have featured: Nils Frahm, Machinefabriek, Gabriel Solomon, Heather Woods Broderick and The Beacon Sound Choir. In recent years, Broderick has produced, recorded, and guested on many musicians’ works from his home-based studio, “The Sparkle” (Corrina Repp, Brumes, David Allred).
Here is how Peter describes his track, “Boom”:

“It’s a thing I call Boom, and it’s basically just some effected casio loops with live drums over the top… I’ve enjoyed listening to it several times and don’t really have any plans to do anything with it.”

Also appearing on April’s mixtape is Irish composer and pianist Conor Walsh. Born in County Mayo, Conor Walsh released his debut E.P. (“The Front”, via Ensemble Music) last year to widespread critical acclaim. Despite it being Walsh’s debut recorded release, Walsh was a firmly established artist who had toured regularly across Ireland and additionally composed for both film and television to date. It was with such great sadness to learn of Conor’s sudden and untimely death in March. We’d both like to take this opportunity to dedicate this month’s mixtape to the memory of Conor Walsh, such an inspiring and beautiful composer and person who has touched many people’s lives with his music.

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E4 | April mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:



01. Days Of Heaven“You’d give him a flower…” (Paramount Pictures)
02. HKE“Awake” (Olde English Spelling Bee)
03. Nico Muhly/Sam Amidon“The Only Tune: I. the Two Sisters” (Bedroom Community)
04. Nonkeen“The Invention Mother” (R&S)
05. Peter Broderick“Boom” (Unreleased)
06. Micachu & The Shapes“Oh Baby” (Rough Trade)
07. Babyfather“God Hour” (feat. Micachu) (Hyperdub)
08. Samiyam“Animals Have Feelings” (Stones Throw)
09. Mo Kolours“A Soul’s Journey” (One-Handed Music)
10. John Forbes, Teach, Earth, Roots & Water“Awakening” (Summer)
11. Van Dyke Parks“Occapella” (Warner Bros.)
12. Tindersticks“How He Entered” (City Slang/Lucky Dog)
13. Ravel“Pavane Pour Une Infante Défunte” (Decca)
14. Pantha du Prince“The Winter Hymn” (feat. Queens) (Rough Trade)
15. Solar Bears“Wild Flowers” (Sunday Best Recordings)
16. The Field“Pink Sun” (Kompakt)
17. DJ Koze“Marilyn Whirlwind” (Victoria OST, Erased Tapes)
18. Grizzly Bear“A Simple Answer” (Liars Remix) (Warp)
19. Lindstrøm“Closing Shot” (Feedelity/Smalltown Supersound)
20. Tropic of Cancer “Stop Suffering” (Blackest Ever Black)
21. Linda Buckley“Haunt” (The Wake OST, Soundcloud)
22. Bonnie “Prince” Billy“When Thy Song Flows Through Me” (Drag City/Domino)
23. Colin Stetson, Megan Stetson & The Sorrow Ensemble“Sorrow – A Reimagining of Gorecki’s 3rd Symphony: II” (extract) (52Hz)
24. Conor Walsh“K Theory” (Ensemble Music)
25. Hauschka“Stromness” (Eluvium Remix) (City Slang)
26. Peter Broderick “And Its Alright” (Nils Frahm RMX) (LateNightTales)
27. Ryuichi Sakamoto & Alva Noto“The Revenant Theme” (Alva Noto Remodel) (The Revenant OST, Milan)
28. Nils Frahm“Our Own Roof” (Victoria OST, Erased Tapes)

Compiled by Fractured Air, April 2016. The copyright in these recordings is the property of the individual artists and/or record labels. If you like the music, please support the artist by buying their records.


Chosen One: Angel Olsen

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Interview with Angel Olsen.

“My writing comes to me in waves and never with any specific theme, at least not one I can recognize while it happens. Over time the songs begin referring to different things, sometimes I forget where they began, knowing too that my own nostalgia can be unreal, or inaccurate..and buried beneath some romantic idea of what I thought was an epiphany.”

—Angel Olsen

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry


I first came across Angel Olsen by a simple twist of fate. During 2011 Bonnie “Prince” Billy’s latest record ‘Wolfroy Goes To Town’ was released to the world, and one of the creative sparks from those recordings is Olsen’s beguiling voice. Her harmonies and vocals add new layers of dimension to Will Oldham’s awe-inspiring folk songs. On ‘Wolfroy Goes To Town’ a rejuvenated spirit is born that recalls Bob Dylan’s ‘John Wesley Harding’. A beautiful, clean country sound sweeps you off your feet. The gorgeous blend of harmonies between Oldham and Olsen is a pure joy to savour, akin to Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris from another space and time. A tower of song from this album is ‘New Whaling’; where the mesmerizing harmonies of Olsen, Oldham and Emmett Kelly breathes aching life and windswept beauty. A little later, Bonnie “Prince” Billy came to perform a show in my hometown, at the Cork Opera House. A feast of divine folk and country music. I felt the tradition of folk music and spirit of rock ‘n’ roll unfold before my very eyes. Olsen, on stage right cast an illuminating spell, as did each and every of those masterful musicians.

The Missouri-born, Chicago-based Angel Olsen is a truly unique and gifted singer-songwiter whose latest album ‘Half Way Home’ represents some of the most affecting and empowering folk songs of our time. The intimate country-folk songs become part of you as the song’s lyrics seep into the slipstream of the human space. As ever, it is Olsen’s voice that lies at the forefront of her unique blend of folk music. Integral to the album’s sound is Emmett Kelly, he of The Cairo Gang and fellow-Oldham collaborator. On ‘Half Way Home’, a deep musical telepathy is forever alive between the pair. During the same time of the release of ‘Halfway Home’, Emmett Kelly released ‘The Corner Man’, yet another indispensable chapter from his compelling songbook. In the words of Olsen: “I’ve never met anyone who can grasp onto a sound or feeling with such effortless ease. We were breathing those songs together”.

‘Acrobat’ serves the perfect prologue to ‘Half Way Home’. Olsen’s extraordinary voice resonates powerfully amidst the intricate layers of instrumentation. The steel guitar notes rise and fall beneath Olsen’s words of longing: “I want to be made out of love/I want to be made into life”. Rarely is such raw emotion expressed through the art of song, like this one. I feel the song shares the kindred spirit of Mary Gauthier. The tempo changes on ‘The Waiting’ with its irresistible funk beat and Spector wall of sound. This is Olsen’s ode to The Beatles and The Beach Boys. A truly transcendent pop song is born with immaculate production echoing Brian Wilson’s ‘Pet Sounds’ and 60’s French chanson of Francoise Hardy. “I want to be the one who knows the best way to love you” has gorgeously timeless shades of Dusty Springfield and like any perfect pop song, a depth of heart lies at its core.

‘Safe In The Womb’ is deeply affecting where Olsen’s lyrics become more than mere words, rather, to serve as a sacred poem to guide the heart through the “dark depth” of life’s pain. The lyric of “That we can be anything/If we know anything at all” closes the song that brings light of hope to the foreground. The feelings and emotion that exudes from ‘Safe In The Womb’ creates a profound effect, reminiscent of the poetry of Sylvia Plath. ‘Lonely Universe’ transports me to ‘On The Beach’ era Neil Young. The intro comprises of a sublime blues guitar line as Olsen sings “Goodbye sweet mother earth/Without you now/I am a lonely universe”. The endless searching is etched on the sonic canvas, as the worlds of Townes Van Zandt and Leonard Cohen are beautifully formed. The closing lyrics are true words of inspiration: “Start living out your oldest childhood dreams”.’Lonely Universe’ is “finding your way home” as Olsen has said about ‘Halfway Home’:

“It’s about many things, things that have happened to me, feelings I’ve had. Situations that have occurred to some I know. I think no matter how stable I am I will always be searching, I guess that’s what this album is about. The endless searching, the fruitless waiting, the idea of home that is inside yourself”.

‘You Are Song’ recalls the timeless spirit of Vashti Bunyan. A song divinely pure and true. Olsen’s beautiful voice seeps into your heart’s core, “With you here it’s been easy to say/That I could never lose sight of what my heart truly is”. The song is a meditative folk lament with a brooding darkness flowing effortlessly beneath: “It is impossible to escape the sound/Of the dark that is following around”. ‘Miranda’ is a country folk gem. The backing harmony on ‘Miranda’ possesses the vivid beauty of Emmylou Harris and the Bonnie “Prince” Billy songbook. The song’s lyrics are sheer poetry –a love poem, so direct and open: “You are a statue/You are like a mountain/Your life with many visions in your eyes”. ‘The Sky Opened Up’ is a cinematic tour de force with slowly building instrumentation of electric guitars. A vast sea of sound is created as a three-dimensional spectrum of shape-shifting rhythm and delicate percussion serves the sonic terrain for Olsen’s otherworldly voice. “There is always somebody to lose” is a lyric that resonates powerfully from the song’s compelling stratosphere of innovative sound.

‘Free’ draws from the Sun Studio recordings from Memphis in the early 50’s, Phil Spector’s wall of sound and The Beach Boys. A glorious bassline runs throughout. The drumbeat and song’s groove is similar to ‘Be My Baby’, a timeless pop gem blossoms before your very eyes. Magnificent beauty in full bloom. Album closer ‘The Tiniest Seed’ brings ‘Half Way Home’ to a fitting close. The spirit of The Band’s hybrid of country, soul and gospel permeates the atmosphere as ‘Halfway Home”s deeply human tones and resonant images are laid to rest. The unique songwriting voice of Angel Olsen offers a deeply immersive journey where each song is a star in the night sky and a dawn for a new day. ‘Half Way Home’ is a work of true art.

“Where is my harmony
Where is my friend
Her voice I hear loud and clear
Only now in my head”


“Half Way Home” is out now on Bathetic Records.


Interview with Angel Olsen.

It’s a real honour for me to ask you some questions about your utterly captivating music. 

Thank-you for your curiosity, Mark.


Congratulations on your truly transcendent work, ‘Half Way Home’-it is such deeply affecting music. The country-folk songs are so intimate, that crawls into your skin and becomes part of you…seeping into the slipstream of my heart and mind. You must feel very proud of the record.
Please tell me about the time and place this collection of songs were given their wings, and put to tape?

I wrote part of ‘HALF WAY HOME’ a few years ago (never really feeling comfortable enough to record them until now) and another part during my recent travels within the last year or so. I think many songs on this record have different themes, I didn’t exactly plan one for the entire record.


‘Acrobat’ is a wonderful opener to ‘Half Way Home’. As you sing “I want to be made out of love/I want to be made into life”, it resonates very powerfully for me. I think these very words become the essence of ‘Half Way Home’ in its sense of searching and longing. The song is the prologue to the soul journey.
Tell me please about ‘Acrobat’ and the significance of this song on the album as a whole? The acrobat itself is a beautiful symbol and metaphor for life’s wandering, I feel.

This song has gone through many changes- at first it was performed with accordion and sang very loudly. It has since wandered from that and I have also wandered from accordion..however, the words weighed heavier somehow than they had before and in some moment I decided to make this transitioned song a kind of door to the rest of the album.


‘The Waiting’ has an irresistible soul groove and the song shares the timeless feel of a French chanson from the 60’s. It could be Edith Piaf, Francoise Hardy and Phil Spector rolled into one. Discuss for me please the production on ‘Halfway Home’? It is immaculate.

Emmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang produced the album, giving it that vibe you speak of- we are fans of Phil and Francoise as well as you know.. The Beatles, The Beach Boys. We were kind of nodding to them with a few songs.


The wonderful Emmett Kelly of The Cairo Gang plays an integral role to the album’s sound and depth. I would love to gain an insight into working with Emmett on fleshing out a song, and the source of inspiration of being a member of the Cairo Gang?

I’ve learned quite a bit from watching and listening and being involved in projects with him. He’s immensely talented. Can pretty much play anything, any instrument any song within minutes. I’ve never met anyone who can grasp onto a sound or a feeling with such effortless ease. We were breathing those songs together. Have you had a chance to check out his music?
He released a record just around the same time as HWH entitled ‘The Corner Man’…
I spent some time with him in the hills of California listening to early drafts he was working on…in my mind that album will always be locked into that travel.


I have seen you live as part of Bonnie “prince” Billy’s live tour of ‘Wolfroy Goes To Town’, when you played the Cork Opera House. I love the fresh country sound from this Will Oldham record-and your voice serves a vital pulse to the music. Please take me back to this record and the experience of performing with Will Oldham?

I learned a lot from him and from the band, I wish I had been more vocal with my ideas, I hope to be in the future. I went through many extreme changes during the beginnings of working with them, and I am forever thankful.
Performing the record was totally different than sitting in a hot closet singing to a million settings and microphones. I loved how improvisational we could be on stage. I don’t enjoy when music is calculated and easy, that’s not how life is, songs shouldn’t be either.


‘Lonely Universe’ is a tower of a song. I am transported to ‘On The Beach’ era Neil Young. The music floats by amidst your breathtaking vocals. A blues song-sharing the spark of Karen Dalton. The opening guitar is reminiscent of Fleetwood Mac. Your vocal delivery of the line: “Goodbye sweet mother earth/Without you now/I am a lonely universe” is deeply moving and affecting. Talk me through this song–it’s the album’s centerpiece.

Well, it’s irrelevant but I disagree with much of that. I guess as an artist it’s only natural and expected that I am seeing something different than what may be projected here.

This song is about multiple ideas, situations..and it’s not necessarily about my mothers.
It’s been to me..a song about letting go of roots and becoming a person, allowing myself to exist, to realize how existing is okay even while having nothing, and that somehow having nothing can possibly allow someone or myself to see something clearly.

Have you seen Vagabond?


When in life did you realize music’s importance? At what point did you find your voice-so to speak- and write/compose songs?

I’ve always been into music, it’s alway been in my head. I think I began articulating things around me much more when I was 17 or 18 and then really noticed a change in my writing during my transition from St.Louis to Chicago.


You are based in Chicago. Please discuss the musical environment of this city?

Everyone is making art and sharing it, allowing others to partake in it, if I ever move, I know it’s this that I’d miss most.. It’s my home.


What are the defining records for you, as a musician and singer-songwriter?

The answer to this changes quite a bit, and I assume it will keep on changing..
songs of Love and Hate is one of my favorite albums, and currently I’ve been revisiting ‘Desire’ and ‘Then Play On’.


‘The Sky Opened Up’ is a gorgeous song-title. I think this song could easily be on ‘Parallelograms’ by Linda Perhacs-the song has this three-dimensional texture. The instrumentation is sublime. Your voice is mesmerizing. The mood is perfectly captured. I feel the musical telepathy is most evident on this cut–did this song just happen spontaneously, as it sounds?

This song happened weeks before recording the album.In my mind it marks a new chapter in my writing.. its possible that newer material may sprout from this change.


The lyrics to all your songs are words of poetry-words that guide me along the path of life. I can make a comparison to your songs and the poetry of Sylvia Plath; both have made a profound affect on me. I would love to gain an insight into the creative process in you writing?

I don’t often think of my songs as poetry, but a poet recently told me that maybe I should..
I enjoy when one line means many things, I also enjoy being very uncomfortably straight forward. My writing comes to me in waves and never with any specific theme, at least not one I can recognize while it happens. Over time the songs begin referring to different things, sometimes I forget where they began, knowing too that my own nostalgia can be unreal, or inaccurate..and buried beneath some romantic idea of what I thought was an epiphany.
Even if that’s the case- that these songs or some songs are entirely made up over some unreal idea, I still feel somehow that they can make themselves relevant to those who actually experience them.


“Half Way Home” is out now on Bathetic Records.


Angel Olsen performs at the Half Moon Theatre, Cork on Friday 3 May. Tickets €10, doors 8.30pm.

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