FRACTURED AIR

The universe is making music all the time

Posts Tagged ‘Cillian Murphy

Mixtape: Cillian Murphy – “Be Good To Them Always” (Fractured Air, Nov. ’16)

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We’re delighted to present the latest in a series of guest mixtapes compiled by Irish actor Cillian Murphy. 2016 has been another very prolific year for Cork-born actor with the airing of the third season of the Steven Knight-penned epic BBC gangster drama “Peaky Blinders”;  the release of the Sean Ellis-directed WWII drama “Anthropoid”; the eagerly-awaited latest film by Ben Wheatley, “Free Fire”, set in 1970’s Boston starring Murphy alongside Brie Larson, Sam Riley and Michael Smiley; the filming of both Christopher Nolan’s “Dunkirk” (Summer 2017) and the Sally Potter-directed “The Party”, comprising a stellar cast including Bruno Ganz, Timothy Spall and Kristin Scott Thomas, also set for release in 2017.

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Cillian Murphy – “Be Good To Them Always” (Fractured Air, Nov. ’16)

 

Tracklisting:

01. Brian Eno & Jon Hassell“Delta Rain Dream” [Editions EG, Polydor]
02. Matt Robertson“Urdu” [Tape Club]
03. Holly Herndon“Locker Leak” [4AD]
04. The Books“Be Good To Them Always” [Tomlab]
05. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds“Rings of Saturn” [Bad Seed Ltd.]
06. The Beatles “I Am The Walrus” [Parlophone]
07. Tune-Yards“Gangsta” [4AD]
08. PJ Harvey“Dollar, Dollar” [Island]
09. Laura Mvula“Is There Anybody Out There?” [RCA Victor, Sony Music]
10. Leonard Cohen“You Want It Darker” [Columbia, Sony Music]
11. David Bowie & Pat Metheny Group“This Is Not America” [EMI]

Compiled by Cillian Murphy. 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.

https://fracturedair.com/

Mixtape: Nature of Daylight

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Nature of Daylight [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/nature-of-daylight-a-fractured-air-mix/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Meg Baird ‘Dear Companion’ [Drag City]
02. Max Richter ‘Path 5 (Delta)’ (excerpt) [Deutsche Grammophon]
03. Linda & Irene Buckley ‘Passages’ (excerpt) [Sounds from a Safe Harbour]
04. Christina Vantzou ‘Pillar 3’ [Kranky]
05. Mikael Tariverdiev ‘Boys and the Sea – part one’ [Earth Recordings]
06. Julia Holter ‘Lucette Stranded on the Island’ [Domino]
07. A Hawk And A Hacksaw ‘Lajtha Lassu’ [LM Duplication]
08. Marlene Dietrich ‘Go ‘Way from My Window’ [Columbia]
09. Joe Meek Orchestra ‘Cry My Heart’ [Castle Music]
10. Townes Van Zandt ‘Waitin’ Around To Die’ [Poppy]
11. Micachu & The Shapes ‘Oh Baby’ [Rough Trade]
12. Corrina Repp ‘Woods’ [Caldo Verde, Discolexique]
13. La Nuit ‘Road Snakes’ [Beacon Sound]
14. Rival Consoles ‘Morning Vox’ [Erased Tapes]
15. Cillian Murphy ‘In The Morning’ [Late Night Tales]
16. Brumes ‘I heard you’ [Bandcamp]
17. Dinah Washington & Max Richter ‘This Bitter Earth / On the Nature of Daylight’ [La French OST / Gaumont, Légende Films]
18. Blaze Foley ‘If I Could Only Fly’ [Lost Art]

Linda & Irene Buckley’s ‘Passages’ is taken from an installation piece commissioned by Sounds From a Safe Harbour (more info HERE).

Cillian Murphy’s ‘In The Morning’ is written by Enda Walsh exclusively for Nils Frahm’s Late Night Tales compilation (more info HERE).

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

 

Fractured Air 42: Cillian Murphy “Walking to town through Sunday’s Well (sounds from a safe harbour)”

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Irish actor Cillian Murphy has starred in numerous award-winning roles over the years; spanning the mediums of film, theatre and television. Murphy made his stage breakthrough in Enda Walsh’s ‘Disco Pigs’; the special collaboration has also resulted in 2012’s one-man show ‘Misterman’ and 2014’s ‘Ballyturk’. Upcoming acting roles include: Ron Howard’s ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ (December 2015); Ben Wheatley’s ‘Free Fire’; the Sean Ellis-directed ‘Anthropoid’ and the hugely anticipated third season of the Steven Knight-penned BBC gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’.
“Walking to town through Sunday’s Well (sounds from a safe harbour)” is a mixtape compiled by the Cork-born actor to coincide with the inaugural Sounds From A Safe Harbour Festival, curated by The National’s Bryce Dessner and programmed by Cork Opera House, which takes place across various venues in Cork City from 17–20 September 2015.

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Fractured Air 42: Cillian Murphy “Walking to town through Sunday’s Well (sounds from a safe harbour)”

To listen on Mixcloud:

https://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-42-cillian-murphy-walking-to-town-through-sundays-well-sounds-from-a-safe-harbour/

“The tunes work vaguely chronologically and run from when I lived in Sunday’s Well in Cork in around 1996, what I was listening to and discovering around then and then develop into stuff I’m into at the moment. I also tried to make it feel like a journey from one destination to another. Tried, Ha! For example, my wife used to listen to this classic Laurie Anderson tune all the time back then and I thought it was completely bonkers – but now almost 20 years later I have grown to love it. It was such a time for dance music, DJ Shadow blew us all away when we heard him for the first time, but at the same time I discovered Jeff Buckley, was still in love with the Traveling Wilburys and was obsessed with Stevie wonder – it’s all in there. Some of the contemporary tunes are meant to reflect back on those times I suppose.
Plus now we have this incredible groundbreaking festival of music about to take place in Cork City. Sounds from a safe harbour. Good times. Enjoy…”

—Cillian Murphy, September 2015

 

Tracklisting:

01. Laurie Anderson ‘O Superman (For Massenet)’ [Warner Bros.]
02. Beck ‘It’s All In Your Mind’ [K]
03. Elvis Perkins ‘Congratulations’ [ATO]
04. Jeff Buckley ‘Everybody Here Wants You’ [Columbia]
05. Nina Simone ‘Balm In Gilead’ [CTI]
06. Stevie Wonder ‘Power Flower’ [Tamla]
07. Sébastien Tellier ‘Le long de la rivière tendre’ [Lucky Number]
08. Ghostpoet ‘Season Change’ (feat. Doucoura) [Transgressive]
09. The Avalanches ‘Frontier Psychiatrist’ [Modular Recordings]
10. DJ Shadow ‘Building Steam With a Grain of Salt’ [Mo Wax]
11. Alice Boman ‘Waiting’ (PAL Remix) [Adrian Recordings]
12. Peter Broderick ‘If I Sinned’ [Bella Union]
13. Brian McBride ‘Piano ABG’ [Kranky]

 


 

Sounds From A Safe Harbour is a festival of music, art & conversation, curated by The National’s Bryce Dessner & programmed by Cork Opera House, taking place on 17—20 September 2015 across various venues in Cork, Ireland. Tickets are on sale now. For tickets & full lineup:

http://soundsfromasafeharbour.com/
https://www.facebook.com/soundsfromasafeharbour

 

Fractured Air 32: A Far Cry (A Mixtape by Cillian Murphy)

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Fractured Air 32: A Far Cry (A Mixtape by Cillian Murphy)

To listen on Mixcloud:

http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-32-a-far-cry-a-mixtape-by-cillian-murphy/

 

Tracklisting:

01. Evenings ‘Goodbye Forever’ [Friends Of Friends]
02. The Books ‘Smells Like Content’ [Tomlab]
03. SBTRKT (feat. Caroline Polachek) ‘Look Away’ [Young Turks]
04. Tonstartssbandht ‘5ft7’ [Dœs Are]
05. Peter Peter ‘Une version améliorée de la tristesse’ [Audiogram]
06. Panda Bear ‘You Can Count On Me’ [Paw Tracks]
07. Blake Mills ‘If I’m Unworthy’ [Record Collection, Verve]
08. Amen Dunes ‘I Know Myself’ [Sacred Bones]
09. Los Angeles Police Department ‘Seven Months’ [Forged Artifacts, Chill Mega Chill]
10. Tweedy ‘Fake Fur Coat’ [dBpm, Anti-]
11. Neil Young ‘Motion Pictures’ [Reprise]
12. Tobias Jesso Jr. ‘Hollywood’ [True Panther Sounds]

Irish actor Cillian Murphy has starred in numerous award-winning roles over the years; for film, theatre and television. Murphy made his stage breakthrough in Enda Walsh’s ‘Disco Pigs’; the special collaboration also resulted in 2012’s blistering one-man show ‘Misterman’ and 2014’s ‘Ballyturk’, starring Murphy alongside Mikel Murfi and Stephen Rea. With two seasons filmed to date, BBC’s gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’, written by Steven Knight, stars Murphy as Thomas Shelby set in 1920’s Birmingham and co-starring Sam Neill, Helen McCrory and Tom Hardy. Murphy’s extensive film work to date includes: Danny Boyle’s ‘28 Days Later’, Ken Loach’s ‘The Wind That Shakes The Barley’, Neil Jordan’s ‘Breakfast On Pluto’, Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, Rufus Norris’s ‘Broken’ and Ron Howard’s ‘In The Heart Of The Sea’, due for release in March 2015.

To listen to Cillian’s previous mixtape, ‘Seeing Things’, click HERE.

To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, or Twitter HERE.
http://fracturedair.com

Don’t Look Back: 2014 (Part 1)

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“Don’t Look Back” is our look back on the year from the perspective of both musicians as well as various members of the arts community at large, who — despite varying geographical locations and backgrounds — all share the following in common: a deep passion and love for music. We’re both honored and delighted to be able to share the words of these special people through their personal accounts of the year that was: 2014. 

Part 1 of a 2-part series.

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Susan Schneider, The Space Lady (Colorado, USA)

There are fewer people in the universe more deserving of such a rewarding and special year than The Space Lady. And 2014 has been that (and so much more) for the much-fabled Outsider Artist Susan Schneider, who, after the NightSchool Records release of “The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits” in November 2013, suddenly found a whole new audience (and new generations) of adoring music fans. After decades of street busking across the States (San Francisco’s Castro and the Haight areas would become her adopted home) with her beloved Casiotone keyboard and iconic winged helmet (with flashing red light), 2014 would see The Space Lady embark on her first ever tour of venues, where she toured extensively across both the United States and Europe to universal critical acclaim. 

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What a cosmic whirlwind 2014 was for The Space Lady, after what I thought was her long-ago retirement. First, a tour of America’s West Coast, then off to the UK and Ireland in April – where those strange rumours about TSL having thousands of adoring fans around the world proved overwhelmingly true, and held true throughout the European tour, and then in Denver, Toronto, and finally in little, picturesque Crestone, Colorado.

From the daily struggles of playing on the streets – dealing with traffic noise, inclement weather, dying batteries, complaints to police, and indifferent, or sometimes outright rude people – to playing to enthusiastic crowds of TSL fans in artistic, counter-cultural settings with powerful sound systems, my songs – and my self-esteem – sky-rocketed!

Not only that, but with the support of my husband Eric, “The Space Manager,” I realized I could actually have a music career, doing what I really love, not just what I had to do to make money. Once again, Joseph Campbell’s advice to “follow your bliss” became a viable alternative to doing what’s expected, schlepping along uninspired on that proverbial wage-slave treadmill. All those years of hand-to-mouth struggle not only weren’t wasted – after all, I did support my family of five – but my unique sound and style had taken on a life of its own and traveled around the world, thanks to the internet and word of mouth.

Coming back home to quiet, conservative Colorado after the tours was not unpleasant….in fact, at first it was replenishing. Then a book by Elizabeth Kolbert, ‘The Sixth Extinction’, slapped me upside the head. Of course we’ve all heard about climate change to a nearly numbing extent; but the author’s dispassionate, scientific reporting on eco-collapse from around the world shocked me awake like never before. I found myself almost paralyzed emotionally with despair. What can I possibly do? Well, the next right thing for me was to get behind my keyboard and mournfully wail, which led to the creation of my new song, ‘The Next Right Thing’. I call it a love song to Mother Earth…and a call to action.

Then more recently, Eric discovered another book called ‘The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know Is Possible’, by Charles Eisenstein. Upon reading that, my hope for the future of nature and humanity was rekindled. It’s all about inventing a new cultural “story,” i.e., making a very necessary shift from our old, black-and-white story of separation, frantic competition and endless expansion, to a new story that creates a world of inter-connectedness, steeped in kindness and patience. To illustrate, Eisenstein quotes an African tribal chief who was warned by activists that his world was about to be destroyed by encroaching civilization, and that it was urgent for him to fight back. The chief calmly replied, “Urgency is not something we have here.”

We can’t fix what’s wrong in the world by simply revamping those old methods that got us here. We have to change our way of being. So we really have nothing more to do than follow our hearts and practice patience. That’s what I began doing in 1980 when I joyfully started busking with an old accordion in downtown Boston, which led to the creation of The Space Lady. But after 20 years of playing on the street, I had given up. Now, thanks to my fans, promoters, agents, record producer Michael Kasparis, and most of all to Eric – my ever-supportive husband/manager – I am following my heart again. Thank you all – you’ve given me the opportunity to once again step into the role of The Space Lady – that cosmic, other-worldly messenger who comes to us on Wings of Song!

 

—Susan Schneider

 

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‘The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits’ is available now on NightSchool Records.

http://www.thespacelady.net/
http://nightschoolrecords.com/

 


 

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Iker Spozio (San Sebastián, Spain)

Italian artist Iker Spozio is an illustrator, engraver and painter whose artwork is handmade using traditional techniques (such as monotype, collage, ink and paint) and without computer. Spozio’s work has been widely reproduced and seen in the context of music: producing album sleeves for such musicians as: Colleen, Hauschka, Mark Fry, Adrian Crowley, Half Asleep and working with music labels such as FatCat, The Leaf Label, Thrill Jockey and Deutsche Grammophon. Spozio is represented internationally by various illustration agencies (including London-based Folio) while his client list also includes publishers Laurence King and Penguin Books. Extensive commission work for Laurence King for a series of Artist books entitled “This Is” will be published next year (including “This Is Magritte”, to be published in Autumn 2015).

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– Jamaican music.
Mostly old 7″s, 10″s and 12″s which haven’t been reissued yet. My favourite find of the year would be Lee Van Cliff’s ‘Wiser Than Solomon’ 10″ (HitBound, mixed by Scientist).
Also several reissues released in 2014 by Pressure Sounds, DKR and OnlyRoots.

– Tommaso Landolfi.
My all-time favourite writer. I treasure all his books (which are being repressed by Adelphi in Italy) and always will.

– Medieval art.
I’ve always been interested in it, but only in 2014 I took the time to investigate it in-depth. I saw many great examples of it during a holiday in the South-East of Italy, this year, and read several interesting books on the subject. I’ve grown a great passion for Mozarabic miniature painting in particular.

– Italy in the 70s.
I was a child then, hence I don’t remember much about it. I’m currently trying to learn as much as possible about a particularly complex period in the history of my native country.

– Birdwatching with Cécile by the river, especially to see my beloved kingfisher.

 

—Iker Spozio

 

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http://www.ikerspozio.net/
https://www.facebook.com/iker.spozio

 


 

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Cécile Schott, Colleen (San Sebastián, Spain)

The Paris-born musician Cécile Schott has been making music as Colleen for over a decade now: beginning with a string of much-loved records for The Leaf Label (debut 2003 album ‘Everyone Alive Wants Answers’, 2005’s ‘The Golden Morning Breaks’ and 2007’s ‘Les Ondes Silencieuses’, as well as 2006’s ‘Colleen Et Les Boîtes À Musique’, an E.P. originally created for Atelier de Création Radiophonique as a commission from France Culture). After a four-year break, Colleen made her long-awaited return to music in 2013 with the release of her album ‘The Weighing Of The Heart’ via London-based label Second Language, its eleven songs featuring, for the first time, Schott’s own voice as well as a new-found love for Jamaican music and rhythm. Colleen’s hugely anticipated fifth studio album ‘Captain Of None’ will be released by Chicago-based label Thrill Jockey Records in April 2015.

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2014 started promisingly with settling in my newly renovated rehearsing and recording studio: the doors and windows of this former olive and pepper brinery were literally 50 years old and full of gaps, so that a lot of noise passed through them, making recording possible only late at night. Everything was changed for state-of-the art triple glazing, and tiles were added to a part of the floor that suffered from dampness problems, and these two changes have made a world of difference and turned an OK place into a truly welcoming and adequate work environment.

This in turn led me to a major upgrade of my recording equipment. I’m quite the anti-consumerist and believe a minimal mindset can be beneficial to making music, so whenever I make a new purchase, it’s usually preceded by months of thinking and research on the product that will best fit my requirements. With this finally silent working environment, it made sense to invest in my first nearfield monitoring system (the basic mixing tool, which I did without for all my previous albums exceptLes ondes silencieuses’). My soundcard was from 2003, so that also needed a major upgrade, along with a new computer, two pairs of really good headphones (one for mixing, one for recording), and an analog delay Moogerfooger pedal which unexpectedly ended up playing a major role on my new album.

This all contributed to making the recording of my fifth album by far the most pleasant and pain-free recording I’ve ever experienced. It was actually the first time I was able to record in a near-professional environment, with the invaluable advantage of this being my own place, which means unlimited time and freedom, and no neighbours to worry about. It was also the first time I recorded during the spring, and the light coming from outside, although filtered, imparted a real sense of joy to these sessions. It was awesome to get out of the studio at 8 in the evening and still see the light outside!

I finished the album in early July and got the confirmation that American label Thrill Jockey would release it, which has been tremendously exciting, and is hopefully the start of a long and fruitful working relationship with a label that has a truly impressive and diverse roster of free-thinking artists.

I was then able to relax for real during the beautiful summer, and in September, due to having to rehearse with more bass frequencies than in the past (the 5th album contains lots of bass lines), I also bought a small PA system, which has made rehearsing for the shows a much closer experience to actually playing live, making it all the more exciting.

The walls of our home have been vibrating daily to the sounds of Jamaican music almost non-stop for more than 2 years now, vastly thanks to my partner in life and in art Iker Spozio, whose  obsession with the Jamaican stuff keeps the house filled with new vinyl. I’ve listened to Jamaican music several times in my life, including when I was very young and had no clue as to what it was, and it seems entirely logical and natural that it has finally entered my own music.

Last but not least, in a year that also contained some very sad news, some small creatures have come to play an increasingly important part in my life and help me stay sane: birds. I started to get into birdwatching last year, in great part thanks to Martin Holm who curated the Music and Migration series at Second Language, the label that released my fourth album ‘The Weighing of the Heart’. My interest progressed steadily with the acquisition of the birdwatching Bible that is the ‘Collins Bird Guide’ and a good pair of binoculars, and since then there’s been no turning back. It’s hard for me to describe in words what it is about being in nature and observing birds that feels so right to me… Apart from the sheer amazement at their beauty and at the biodiversity that was right on my doorstep without me even knowing it (I live in the Spanish Basque country which is very varied in terms of landscape), there is something incredibly liberating about an activity that has nothing to do with us humans, and indeed with me: birds don’t care about us and that’s why watching them is so great – the feeling of disconnecting from modern life and reconnecting with something wild and ancient is truly priceless. For me, birdwatching even acts as a metaphor for life and how I should try to live it: I used to think I paid attention to my surroundings, but now I know that I was half-blind, and that when you start to *really* watch, *really* listen, you discover a whole new world that was there all along – and I can’t really think of better news than that.

 

—Cécile Schott

 

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http://colleenplays.org/
https://www.facebook.com/colleenplays

 


 

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Julia Kent (New York, USA)

World-renowned Canadian cellist Julia Kent has three solo albums released to date: 2007’s ‘Delay’ (Shayo); 2011’s ‘Green And Grey’ (Important Records) and 2013’s ‘Character’ (The Leaf Label). Previously, Kent worked and collaborated extensively with numerous musicians and groups, including: Antony And The Johnsons; Rasputina and Parallel 41. This year, Kent contributed original scores for numerous film works, including award-winning short film ‘Oasis’, directed by Carmen Jimenez and Chris Boyce. As part of artist Peter Liversidge’s exhibit, “Doppelgänger” at the MAC, Belfast (which took place during October), Julia Kent made a special one-off collaboration with Kentucky-based pianist, arranger and composer Rachel Grimes. During November 2014, Kent was in Italy, performing live with Balletto Civile (a company of performers, established in 2003) for “How Long Is Now” in Genova and “In-erme” in La Spezia and Florence.

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I can’t remember at all the beginning of 2014; it’s been, for me, a rather vague year, involving a lot of traveling and a bit of consequent disorientation in terms of time and space…but I do remember vividly playing in Cork this past March with the spell-binding Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, after a stressful and dramatic journey involving the temporary loss of my cello and the enormously gracious and generous loan of another, from a sympathetic music store in Cork, Pro Musica. It was my first solo show ever in Ireland, and was a memorable and beautiful experience: Cork is a special place, and I’m so grateful to the Carry brothers for bringing me there, and also to the welcoming audience! It was also a really special experience to play with Caoimhín in Cork and Dublin and have a lovely and wide-ranging chat on the journey in between.

For me, time is really defined by the people and places I encounter, and 2014 brought some other wonderful encounters: I was thrilled to have the chance to collaborate with the extraordinary Rachel Grimes for Peter Liversidge’s metaphysical and fascinating show, “Doppelgänger, in Belfast; to create live music for the dance companies Balletto Civile in Italy and Compagnie Tensei in Paris; and to contribute music to other theatre works, dance, and film, in the U.S. and Europe. Performing at William Basinski’s festival in London was another highlight of the year: he brought together so many incredible artists to celebrate the spirit of his and James Elaine’s glorious Arcadia, a seminal arts space that contributed so much to New York and still is sorely missed. And just this past week, I was so thrilled to share the experience of seeing some images from Antony and the Johnsons’ and Charles Atlas’s “Turning” on the breathtakingly enormous screens in Times Square…it was incredible to see those heartbreakingly beautiful images in that context, and in the company of some of the iconic women who embodied them on the “Turning” tour, which was and always will remain a special and emotional experience for me.

I’m looking at my calendar to try to remember some other details of 2014…and seeing the week where I went from Athens to Joshua Tree to Torino. I continue to feel enormously fortunate to have the chance to travel and play music in such disparate, beautiful, and inspiring places, and encounter, along the way, equally beautiful and inspiring people. Right now, since I’m home for a moment, I’m working on a new record that I hope will come out next year…and I hope will distill some of the memories and essence of this one…thanks for letting me share some of them!

 

—Julia Kent

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“Happy Holidays NYC, 2014”

 

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‘Character’ is available now on The Leaf Label.

http://www.juliakent.com/
http://www.theleaflabel.com/

 


 

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Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh (Dublin, Ireland)

2014 has been a remarkable year for Ireland-based composer and fiddle player Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh. Firstly, January saw the release of contemporary quintet The Gloaming’s stunning self-titled debut album via Real World Records. Subsequent concerts would be performed across the globe (including Sydney’s Opera House and triumphant homecoming shows on Irish soil including Kilkenny’s St. Canice’s Cathedral) to mass celebration and widespread critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. As well as touring with his other band, the Irish/Swedish quartet This Is How We Fly, across both Ireland and Europe, Ó Raghallaigh also performed a series of truly special solo concerts (entitled “In My Mind”, a solo fiddle and film show) across the length of Ireland for the month of October, organized by Music Network Ireland. Despite the hectic touring schedules, Ó Raghallaigh also released two stunning works: the solo album ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ (via Dublin-based label Diatribe Records as part of their ‘Solo Series Phase II’ project) and the mesmerizing ‘Laghdú’, a collaboration between Ó Raghallaigh and U.S. fiddle player Dan Trueman. 

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Time marches on, there’s no stopping it: do you remember a time when the only way to pronounce 2014 was two thousand and fourteen, when even the year 2000 seemed like the far distant future?

We find ourselves here at the tail end of twenty fourteen, looking back on a euphoric whirlwind of a year. My thirty-fifth year on this bluegreen orb has been truly wonderful, in so many ways. There have been major milestones and moments of wonder and beauty. This act of looking back is welcome, too, this year in review, not something I naturally do, and it brings home just how special it has been.

Above all else, ‘Laghdú’ has given me endless pleasure this year. Musically, it’s the thing I’m most proud of I’ve ever made, and playing that music with Dan has been unfailingly rewarding and delightful. Equally wonderful was working with Rossi McAuley of Distinctive Repetition, whose design for the ‘Laghdú’ packaging continues to surprise and give immense pleasure every time I touch, see and feel it. And I love that we have an ongoing relationship with the object, as we must continually assemble the albums ourselves from the printed card, discs and rubber bands, spending time touching, feeling, learning and living with this beautiful object, deepening our relationship with it.

One day I called over to Rossi’s studio while he was working on the design, and he told me the music on the record really reminded him of Patrick Scott’s work, whose extraordinary retrospective was still occupying the Garden Galleries at IMMA. Experiencing Scott’s work for the first time at that exhibition was one of the highlights of 2014 for me, as was Maria Simmonds-Gooding’s retrospective at the RHA. Maria is a neighbour of mine down in Kerry, and her large-scale aluminium pieces have been living inside my head for a few years now, married to a line of Beckett’s: “they were things that scarcely were, on the confines of dark and silence”. But it was her plaster canvas works and the carborundum prints that got inside me at the RHA, and live there still. Like Scott, I find her work deeply satisfying and profoundly moving. Instructive, too, informing the music I wish to make, the feeling I wish to produce, and it somehow inspires a conviction in the worth of doing so.

Earlier in the year at the RHA, Richard Mosse’s “The Enclave” completely blew my mind with his infrared immersion in that jungle of sadness that comes of war. To be surrounded by that violently pink world of the Congo, to feel that sound move your innards, to see these unknown things and feel them twist your insides, it was nearly too much, and wiped the floor with your soul. Powerful beyond words.

Early in the year, too, we released The Gloaming’s debut album, and what a year for the Gloaming it has been, going to #1 in the Charts, playing the Royal Albert Hall and the like. But playing the Sydney Opera House beats all, I truly never imagined such a thing was possible. I woke that morning well before sunrise, at jetlag’s insistence, and set out across the Sydney Harbour Bridge, looking down at the Opera House and trying to process the idea that we’d play there that night. The following morning myself and Iarla took off for a long old walk before breakfast, down through the Botanic Gardens and out to Mrs Macquaries Point, the pair of us looking incredulously across Farm Cove to the scene of the crime and the Harbour Bridge beyond, hardly believing we had rocked that House the night before. You know, I still don’t quite believe it.

The Gloaming were in residence at the Kilkenny Arts Festival in August, and it offered an opportunity to showcase other of our projects. Myself and Dan premiered ‘Laghdú’ there, for instance, and the This is How we Fly gig on the Saturday night really took off. There were a series of secret pop-up gigs in fancy Gardens around the town, and the one I did with Cleek Schrey gave rise to my favourite moment of the festival, when our cheeky sunspectacled selves sidled up to Nic Gareiss, who reached into his pocket, pulled out an appropriately bright vivid yellow pair of shades and started dancing up a storm on the loose gravel path on which half the audience stood. A totally joyous moment, mischievous, irreverent, unexpected, ecstatic.

Cleek is a fellow 10-string hardanger d’amore fiddler from the States, and I spent a wonderful mid-March week with him in New York, writing music together courtesy of a residency at the Irish Arts Center. There’s such a wonderful openness to his approach, a great combination of the carefree and the curated, and he’s very much a kindred spirit of mine. I feel at every moment that anything is possible, that there’s no agenda, just this feeling of co-exploration and endless possibility. The highlight of that week was an impromptu hour-long improvisation we embarked on to ourselves out in Redhook – unplanned, unrecorded, purely in the moment, sending out sound into the vast main hall of Pioneer Works.

This hardanger d’amore fiddle is a stunning instrument, and it is a joy and a revelation to play. Equally beautiful are the bows I play with, made by Frenchman Michel Jamonneau. While touring Brittany with uilleann piper Mick O’Brien in June, I visited Michel in his workshop, and fell head over heels with a bow of his, one he had recently made. Though I already had three extraordinary bows by Michel, playing with this bow was fundamentally different. Those other bows allowed me to do anything I wanted, but this seemed to float in the air, generate ideas of its own, made new things possible, brought forth the unintended. It is effortless to play with, not only a feather-light paintbrush for sound, but a creative force in its own right. When we left Michel’s workshop, that bow left with me inside my mind, and I revisited the feeling of playing with it throughout the following weeks, until Michel brought it over to Dublin to me in early August. It is a joy and a privilege to hold.

It has been a year of non-stop, nigh-on relentless traveling. It’s easy to shrink into yourself, or into your electronics, and it’s a real challenge to stay present, motivated and curious – you need something to keep you sane on the road. Looking through the camera lens has helped more than anything else – photography has been such a rewarding addition to the touring life, engaging the mind and the body. It turns drudgery to delight in alchemy, keeps you always looking outwards, seeking to connect, keeps the spirit fresh, and offers an unlimited learning curve for the curious mind.

Curious minds were in evidence aplenty in the Redwoods of California, as was the sheer joy of making music and being alive, when I spent a week teaching outdoors amongst the trees at the Valley of the Moon fiddle camp. One of the most enjoyable moments, aside from all the music, connections and conversations, was an epic game of water polo/football/chaos in which I became so fanatical that the rough bottom of the pool rasped right through three of my bare-footed toes, and put me hobbling around for the remainder of the week on tender feet. An enchanted bubble of a week topped off by the most wonderful Alice-in-Wonderland-themed Fancy Dress Banquet, the entire host appareled in the most colourful and fanciful costumes. A week that I came away from feeling as though life would never be the same again.

All this is only the beginning. The moments go on. The wheels turn, twenty fourteen is well-nigh gone.

 

—Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh

 

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The Gloaming’s self-titled debut album is available now on Real World Records; Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh’s solo album ‘Music For An Elliptical Orbit’ is available via Diatribe Records HERE; ‘Laghdú’ by Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh & Dan Trueman is available from Irishmusic.net HERE.

http://www.caoimhinoraghallaigh.com/
https://www.facebook.com/caoimhinoraghallaigh

 


 

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Cillian Murphy (Cork, Ireland/London, UK)

The ever-prolific Irish actor Cillian Murphy contributed stunning performances for numerous roles — spanning TV, film and theatre — during 2014. Murphy reprised his role as Thomas Shelby in the BBC2 epic British gangster drama ‘Peaky Blinders’ which returned to TV screens for its second season this Autumn. Murphy also continued his collaboration with award-winning playwright Enda Walsh (‘Disco Pigs’, Misterman’) for ‘Ballyturk’ (a play written and directed by Walsh starring Murphy alongside Mikel Murfi and Stephen Rea) which spellbound sell-out audiences at Galway International Arts Festival; Dublin’s Olympia Theatre; Cork’s Opera House and London’s National Theatre during 2014. Numerous film roles are set for release in 2015, including the hugely anticipated Ron Howard-directed film ‘In the Heart of the Sea’ which is due for release in March 2015. Cillian Murphy is also set to star in ‘Free Fire’, a Boston-set crime thriller from ‘Kill List’ writer-director Ben Wheatley.

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Twelve months slipped by at a pace this year. Thinking about it at first I was convinced that 2014 had been worryingly barren for me culturally, due to the restrictions of work and life and a new-found affection for sleeping. On reflection it seems I did manage to get out of the house on occasion, listen to the odd record and take in a show or two. Here’s what I liked, or what I can remember liking in no particular order….

‘Salad Days’ by Mac Demarco made a big impression on me. I am a sucker for melody in music and this kid (he is only a kid, twenty-three or something) can’t help but write songs with an instant hook. He also has a gorgeously dry sense of humour, plays a mean guitar and is Canadian. I like Canadian people. The album speaks very simply but with great fluency about love, the fear of losing that love, and what it means to be alive today. It is beautifully and simply produced and puts a smile on my face every time I listen to the album. I managed to catch Mac play in Manchester in may, a brilliantly ramshackle gig which climaxed with the whole venue on our knees singing along to ‘Unknown Legend’ and giving thanks to Neil Young.

I love the new Blake Mills album ‘Heigh Ho’. Another great guitar player, with a tone very reminiscent of George Harrison, it’s a definite grower but one worth waiting for.

The new Caribou album deserves all the plaudits its earning. Such a great record – designed to make you dance.

A Winged Victory for the Sullen very slowly prised the roof off the Barbican in October with genuinely affecting and moving music. An amazing show and an amazing group of musicians.

I also caught Damon Albarn live in Manchester at the 6music festival – thank God for BBC 6 music! I am very impressed by Damon Albarn as a man and musician. This is a highly personal record, filled to the brim with gorgeous melodies and revealing lyrics, my high point being ‘Heavy Seas Of Love’ a duet with Brian Eno.

Ok I did see a lot of gigs in Manchester, I was working there for a stretch, they are coming back to me now……. with maybe the highlight being Prince. I’ve wanted to see him play live for ever and the man did not disappoint. It was a three and a half hour gig, during which he jumped effortlessly between hits and space-funk jams with his all female backing band. It’s a nice feeling when a legend lives up to their legendary status. Finally, I managed to catch Tame Impala in L.A. Love this band, such confident musicians, they completely filled the auditorium with blissed out fuzz-drenched tunes. Their support act Delicate Steve I also highly recommend, a very unusual guitar player, his music is of the joyous instrumental kind you want to listen to walking around feeling warm inside while everybody else looks worried.

The Richard Ford trilogy of ‘The Sportswriter’, ‘Independence Day’ and ‘The Lay Of The Land’ rank high amongst my favorite all-time novels, and this year Ford re-introduced us to Frank Bascombe (protagonist of all three novels) in his latest novel ‘Let Me Be Frank With You’. Frank is now in his late sixties but as compelling a character as ever. It’s a brief book, written as a series of short stories but is as incisive and acerbic an investigation of the American dream as I have read.

‘The Dog’ by Joseph O’Neill is also a joy, a book that is as tragic as it is funny.

For some reason I recently decided to re-read some books that I had read in my teens to check if they were still the masterpieces I had first ostentatiously judged them to be. ‘The Book Of Evidence’ by John Banville certainly remains one. Such an extraordinary tour-de-force. If you haven’t read it recently please do. It will inhabit you. I also re-visited some Salinger. Those early short stories still must be unmatchable in terms of heartache and droll musings on American youth and life.

After the sad passing of Dermot Healy this year the only fitting tribute I could think of was to read ‘A Goats Song’ once more. I fell in love with it all over again, sad and mournful and touching – part of this Island’s history.

I’ll finish up now as I realise writing these things can cause quickening anxiety about leaving some wonderful book or poem or song out without a mention.

Before I go I must write briefly about some visual art I saw. Mark Garry’s show – at the Model in Sligo town, “A Winter’s Light” – was a thing of beauty, delicate and life-affirming. I recently saw Douglas Gordon’s show ‘Tears become Streams’ at the Armoury in NYC. It featured concert pianist Helene Grimaud play a series of pieces inspired by water while the extraordinarily vast space was slowly flooded by water creating a lake on which she seemed to hover and also turning the space upside down in reflection. Breathtaking.

So that is it……. I appear to have completely left out any mention of film and theatre. So be it. They will have to wait until next year.

 

—Cillian Murphy

 


 

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Dean Wareham (Los Angeles, USA)

The legendary Los Angeles-based Dean Wareham (Galaxie 500/Luna/Dean & Britta) released his sublime self-titled solo album this year via London-based label Sonic Cathedral (Europe) and his own label Double Feature (USA). Produced by My Morning Jacket’s Jim James at his home studio in Louisville, Kentucky, ‘Dean Wareham’ features Wareham alongside the formidable line-up of Britta Phillips on bass and Anthony LaMarca on drums.

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Favorite gigs:

Calvin Johnson at Ooga Booga in Los Angeles. Cate LeBon at Amoeba Los Angeles.

Favorite books read:

‘10:04’ by Ben Lerner
‘The Wet & the Dry: A Drinker’s Journey’ by Lawrence Osborne
‘The Book of My Lives’ by Alexsandar Hemon
‘Morvern Callar’ by Alan Warner
‘A Place of Greater Safety’ by Hillary Mantel

Records enjoyed:

Velvet Underground deluxe 3rd album with bonus live discs recorded 1969 at the Matrix
Brian Jonestown Massacre ‘Revelation’
Jack & Eliza ‘No Wonders’ EP
Ultimate Painting ‘Ultimate Painting’
Papercuts ‘Life Among the Savages’
Courtney Barnett’s ‘Double’ EP
War on Drugs ‘Lost in the Dream’

In 2014 I released my first solo album after 26 years making records. I also worked with the Andy Warhol Museum on a film/music project, selecting a group of performers (Tom Verlaine, Marty Rev, Eleanor Friedberger, Bradford Cox and myself) to perform live onstage to never-before-seen silent films by Andy Warhol. And Britta Phillips and I scored another excellent film for Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig — ‘Mistress America’ — which will likely hit theaters in 2015.

But I will remember 2014 for horrific images from the Gaza Strip, and for the terrible suffering in Libya and Iraq and Syria (courtesy of European and American politicians who “liberated” two of those countries without caring about what might come after). Many smart people have observed that 2014 in the Middle East can only be understood in the light of 1914: the Great War and its aftermath. We will remember also a coup and civil war in the Ukraine (where again the US is not blameless). Here at home 2014 will be remembered by the slogans “Hands Up Don’t Shoot!” and “I Can’t Breathe.”

 

—Dean Wareham, Los Angeles

 

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Dean Wareham’s self-titled debut solo album is available now on Sonic Cathedral (EU) and via Double Feature (USA).

http://deanwareham.com/
http://www.soniccathedral.co.uk/

 


 

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Terry Magson, Puzzle Muteson (Isle of Wight, UK)

Iceland-based label Bedroom Community’s much-prized Puzzle Muteson (aka Isle of Wight-based singer-songwriter Terry Magson) released his divine sophomore full-length release this year. Entitled ‘Theatrics’, the album was recorded between Iceland’s Greenhouse studio and Magson’s friends’ studio at the Isle of Wight and features contributions from Magson’s trusted collaborators (and label-mates) Valgeir Sigurðsson and Nico Muhly. Puzzle Muteson’s debut LP, ‘En Garde’, was released in 2011 (preceded by a 7″ of the same title which featured the B-side ‘Brittle Break’) which was also released by the prestigious Bedroom Community label (Ben Frost, Valgeir Sigurðsson, Sam Amidon).

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2014 has been a peculiar one for me. It really has gone too fast for me to comprehend. I spent far too much time in my own head, and maybe too much time in the company of cats. As far as listening to music went I slightly strayed from it.
I listened to mainly a bunch of separate songs when I did…

P.M Dawn – ‘Set Adrift On Memory Bliss’
Julia Holter – ‘Hello Stranger’
London Electricity – ‘Just One Second’ 
Chantal Acda – ‘We Must Hold On’
Drake – ‘Come Thru’ (James Blake Remix)
Jon Hopkins – ‘Breath This Air’
Ben Frost – ‘Venter’
Nightcrawlers – ‘Push The Feeling On’
Robin S – ‘Show Me Love’
Tan Dun – ‘Gone With Leaves’
Black – ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’
Doveman – ‘The Best Thing’
The Blue Nile – ‘Headlights On the Parade’
Airhead – ‘Believe’ 
Red – ‘Sorry About Your Love’ (RUCKAZOID Remix)
Akira Kosemra – ‘Light Dance’

Three live shows that I enjoyed for three different reasons would be Zebra Katz, Boys Noize and Gideon Conn.

 

—Terry Magson

 

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‘Theatrics’ is available now on Bedroom Community.

https://www.facebook.com/Puzzle.Muteson
http://www.bedroomcommunity.net/

 


 

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Erik K Skodvin (Berlin, Germany)

One of the true cornerstones of the thriving contemporary independent music scene, Erik Skodvin is both a remarkable composer (as both a solo performer and via his numerous musical projects including: Svarte Greiner, B/B/S/ and Deaf Center), visual artist, designer and label owner (Skodvin runs the ever-impressive Berlin-based Miasmah label). 2014 was a particularly busy year for Skodvin with an extensive touring schedule as well as the release of numerous records (Skodvin’s second solo album ‘Flame’; ‘Recount’, a mini-album by Deaf Center, who celebrated their 10-year anniversary during 2014). Miasmah Recordings released a number of spellbinding albums during 2014: ‘Sprang’ by Eric Thielemans; the self-titled album by Shivers and Andrea Belfi’s ‘Natura Morta’.

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2014 started for me with finalizing my soon-to-come second Erik K Skodvin album “Flame”. A mastering date was set for late January and I pretty much worked on it nonstop up until the day of mastering. Right after this, my good friend Otto A Totland’s debut album was released, something I was helping out Sonic Pieces with.

Next up, in mid February was a small northern EU tour with my trio B/B/S/ as we had a live LP recorded in 2013 that got released this time. I really like to play with Aidan and Andrea although we rarely all have time to meet up. We played a boat in Hamburg, Copenhagen jazzhouse, a studio in Gothenburg and an atelier on the Polish border, amongst others.

It’s funny to look back at a year and see how much different things were going on at the same time. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming. We did a couple of house shows at our miasmah + sonic pieces HQ in Berlin, something that’s really fun but also quite exhausting. I’m also constantly working on artwork and communication for new upcoming miasmah releases, which I’m actually using most of my time on. Personally at this time I was also not completely well and used big parts of the year to get myself back in action.

Then something I’d been looking forward too for a long time, which was the sonic pieces Japan tour together with Otto, Rauelsson and Monique. This was maybe the highlight of the year and something I’ll for sure remember. It was also my first time visiting Asia.

No more than a couple of weeks after the Japan tour, me and Monique went to London to do merch for the two first Slowdive shows since 20 years. Being a big Slowdive fan having the opportunity to see them on such small stages was incredible. I guess this is a perk of having released some of Simon’s solo records.

Some more weeks at home before I had another small tour, this time as Svarte Greiner. Together with Alexander Rishaug we played 4 Norwegian gigs in Bergen, Fredrikstad, Trondheim and Oslo. Went quite well though I was still not completely in shape, and all the traveling was taking it’s toll. We had one amazing evening in Oslo at a small Izakaya (!) where we played on a home-made sound-system for a packed crowd.

My second Erik K Skodvin album “Flame” was then released, on my birthday actually – Well planned, Monique!  It also came out as a 2LP together with my first EKS album “Flare”, which sold out quite quickly. Also the Shivers album on Miasmah was released then, though slightly delayed from the pressing plant. Around this time I also worked on a new commissioned piece of music to my now regular collaborator, Marit Følstad, for whom I also was commissioned the Black Tie material I released last year. This was later in the year exhibited in Bergen, Norway where both me and Monique attended.

The mid-summer was quite event-free when it comes to music, though once August started to approach I was invited to play a Svarte Greiner set on the Danish island of Fanø, at the Fanø free folk festival, which turned out to be really great. Set in a local commune house on the tip of the island, with mostly bands I never heard of before. Found some great new musical tips there.

Just a week later I played another Svarte Greiner set, this time on a pretty much complete opposite setting, being Berlin electronic/techno music festival Krake. I played in between techno sets and was forced to do a massive drone-noise attack, which ended pretty great, as I immediately got another booking just minutes after I finished.

Shortly after this I played at an ambient festival in Poland on the border to Belarus. This was an outdoor stage in the middle of a big park. It was only myself and Rafael Anton Irisarri who were to play, and of course it started to rain during sound check already, fucking up some of Raf’s gear. We ended up playing together, something we havent done for 5 years. It was also good to see him again. He had quite the bad year, with him and his wife losing all their possessions during a move to the east coast.

Berlin-based electronic-gear wizard Derek Holzer had contacted me earlier with the idea of custom making me a processing box for my effect pedal rig. After a good bunch of back-and-forth talking on what to do, it turned out as a “chaotic synthesizer-ringmod-guitar-processing box” as he calls it, and is something amazing I’m still trying to figure out properly.

Rest of August was set off to work on Miasmah stuff + two B/B/S/ shows in Berlin, one where we headlined and one where we opened for Thurston Moore at Lido, which was fun, but maybe not our best show so far. We also played a B/B/S/ show at the Italian festival Flussi, in Avellino outside of Naples, where the accommodation was set in an Italian olive farm in the mountains. This was pretty amazing. On top of this, our first Deaf Center material since 4-5 years was released on a new sonic pieces series I’m doing together with Monique called “Pattern”, which is pretty much based on laser cut sleeves. “Recount” as the record was called, was 2 lost long pieces made in 2007 and 2012.

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For once I didn’t have a lot of gigs set up for the Autumn, so I spent most of it in Berlin with the occasional trips to Norway. I used my time working on graphics, arranging house shows with Monique and going on sunday trips to the country side. One other thing I did during this time was to use a whole day at the Funkhouse studio here in Berlin being directed by Nils Frahm to make sounds and music for this film he’s scoring. It will be interesting to see if some of what I contributed ended up in the film which will premiere in the new year. I did a similar thing like this for Jóhann Jóhannsson last year for the film ‘Prisoners’. Both were fun but difficult as I needed to play spontaneously to the film over and over.

On a different note I also ended up going to Unsound festival for once without playing. Not often I go to a festival just to hang out, meet people and see shows, but this was a good occasion and I saw both some great and quite bad shows. The highlight of which was a band I never heard of before, named “Cyclobe”.

Seeing this was Deaf Center’s 10 year anniversary we did quite a lot more than we usually do this year. On top of the Japan tour we played 3 more shows in Germany. Mainly being Hauschka’s “Approximation festival” in Düsseldorf, then at UT Connewitz in Leipzig with Tomaga and a fairly secret house show at our own place. All went pretty good to great I’d say. Just one week after this tour, I did a small NL/BE Svarte Greiner tour, playing Antwerp and Brüssels but also visiting Amsterdam and Mechelen. Got to hang out with the Miasmah Belgian gang, which is always a great time. It was a little stressful trip all in all, but can’t complain. Also by now I was very ready to stay at home for a while.

The last big bang of the year is something that’s yet to happen as I write this. We’re going to open for Slowdive at massive venue The Forum in London this Friday the 19th. Quite scary but also very exciting. This will be the ending of our 2014 Deaf Center anniversary and although some things are set for next year, it will probably be quieter on that front.

To sum up, looking at what I just wrote it seems like a very busy year, something it kind of was. For sure an improvement from last year, which was not so good for me, so with this I write off 2014 with a big thanks to my working and living partner, Monique Recknagel, who’s been a big part of pretty much everything on this list. Next year will for sure not be any less busy as I haven’t even mentioned all the upcoming Miasmah stuff I used A LOT of time preparing and working on during this year. It’s gonna be a very exciting year I think.

 

Erik K Skodvin 2014 TOP 12 albums:

Matt Christensen – ‘Coma Gears’ (Bathetic)
HTRK – ‘Psychic 9-5 club’ (Ghostly)
Valerio Tricoli – ‘Misery Lares’ (PAN)
Josef Van Wissem / SQÜRL – ‘Only Lovers Left Alive’ OST (ATP recordings)
Mica Levi – ‘Under the Skin’ OST (Milan)
Ai Aso – ‘Lone’ (Ideologic organ)
Tomaga – ‘Future Grotesk’ (Hands in the dark)
Andy Stott – ‘Faith in Strangers’ (Modern Love)
Otto A Totland – ‘Pino’ (sonic pieces)
Black To Comm – S/T (Type)
Simon James Phillips – ‘Chair’ (room40)
Driftmachine – ‘Nocturnes’ (Umor-rex)

 

Top 5 films 2014:

‘Enemy’
‘Under the Skin’
‘Only lovers left alive’
‘Snowpiercer’
‘Gone Girl’

 

Top 5 concerts 2014:

Marsen Jules (Berghain 10 year anniversary, Berlin)
Cyclobe (unsound festival)
Nils Frahm & Stargaze performs Terry Riley in C (volksbuhne, Berlin)
Tomaga (UT Connewitz, Leipzig)
Driftmachine (miasmah+sonic pieces HQ, Berlin)

 

—Erik K Skodvin

 

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‘Flame’ by Erik K Skodvin and ‘Recount’ by Deaf Center are available now on Sonic Pieces. 

http://www.miasmah.com/eks/
http://www.sonicpieces.com/

 


 

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Mary Lattimore (Philadelphia, USA)

Mary Lattimore is a Philadelphia-based harpist whose name has become synonymous in independent music circles as both a gifted solo composer as well as a versatile and accomplished collaborator. 2014 saw the release of ‘Slant Of Light’, the gorgeous collaboration between Mary Lattimore and Jeff Zeigler; a record featuring heavenly harp and synthesizer improvisations released by Chicago-based indie label Thrill Jockey. Mary Lattimore has also contributed her highly distinguished harp playing for numerous artists, including: Sharon Van Etten’s ‘Are We There’ and Steve Gunn’s ‘Way Out Weather’ albums. Previously, Lattimore has collaborated with New York-based songwriter Ed Askew and ex Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore. 

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Okay, here goes! Hi from a cold night in Philadelphia:

Favorite Things of 2014 List

Favorite Records, in no order:

Myriam Gendron – ‘Not So Deep As A Well’
Steve Gunn – ‘Way Out Weather’
Grouper – ‘Ruins’
Watery Love – ‘Decorative Feeding’
Amen Dunes – ‘Love’
Marissa Nadler – ‘July’
Total Control – ‘Typical System’
Weyes Blood – ‘The Innocents’
War on Drugs – ‘Lost in the Dream’
Tinariwen – ‘Emmaar’
Sharon Van Etten – ‘Are We There’
Nathan Bowles – ‘Nansemond’
Purling Hiss – ‘Weirdon’
Lewis – ‘L’Amour’ (Reissue)
David Kilgour & the Heavy Eights – ‘End Times Undone’
K. Leimer – ‘A Period of Review’ (Reissue)
Mike Cooper – ‘Trout Steel/Places I Know’
William Basinski – ‘Melancholia’ (Reissue)
Jennifer Castle – ‘Pink City’
Daniel Bachman – ‘Orange Co. Serenade’
Chris Forsyth and the Solar Motel Band – ‘Intensity Ghost’
Brigitte Fontaine – ‘Est…Folle’ (Reissue)

Favorite Song I Just Learned Of In 2014 (thanks to Justin Tripp and Nathan Bowles):
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=osZsDIEI0UQ

Favorite New Place:

Marfa, TX

Favorite Shows of 2014:

Slowdive and Low, two favorites, same show (Philly)
War on Drugs secret shows (Philly)
Big Ears Festival in Knoxville, TN
Transfigurations Festival in Asheville, NC (an anniversary party for Harvest Records)
Memorial Show for Jack Rose (Glenn Jones, Daniel Bachman, Chris Forsyth, Nathan Bowles, Megajam Booze Band) (Philly)
Getting to see Steve Gunn and his incredible band every night while on tour together!!
Kensington Picnic II (Philly)

Other Favorites:

Pew Fellowship.
Sitting in with Cass McCombs and his excellent band, wow.
Getting to play harp for some elegant parties at the Philip Johnson Glass House, architectural gem in Connecticut.
Improvising with bandmate Jeff Zeigler and dancers Elle Erdman & Laura Bartczak.
Orange Polenta Cake with Honey and Rosewater Syrup, wow.
Thrill Jockey putting out the record and getting to know those guys.
Becky Suss’s paintings (beckysuss.net).
Recording session with Steve Gunn and friends at Black Dirt Studio in upstate NY.
James Turrell Skyspace in Chestnut Hill, PA.
Seeing top American actor Michael Shannon in a play.
Finally buying a rice cooker instead of burning the rice all the time!
This unreal experience of natural beauty – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QCWkzQqO7Ro (you can catch me and Naomi Yang and my mom on this news show, haha).

 

—Mary Lattimore

 

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‘Slant Of Light’ by Mary Lattimore & Jeff Zeigler is available now on Thrill Jockey Records.

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https://www.facebook.com/lattimorezeiglerduo
http://www.thrilljockey.com

 


 

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Ed Askew (New York, USA)

The New York-based painter and singer-songwriter Ed Askew was born in Stamford, Connecticut. He moved to New Haven to study painting at Yale Art School in 1963. During his mid-twenties, while working as a teacher at a private prep school in Connecticut, Ed Askew began to write songs. Significantly, he also at this time purchased his much-loved Martin Tiple (a 10 string lute-like instrument originally from Columbia). Over the preceding years and decades, Askew would continue to write songs and paint consistently. However, a lack of fortune with record labels (like many musicians of the time) led to years of uncertainty and obscurity. Debut LP ‘Ask the Unicorn’ (initially released via ESP Disk and UK’s Parlophone) would quickly disappear into folk-psych obscurity. Second LP, ‘Little Eyes’ was recorded next; however, it sat in the vaults for some 40 years until its long-overdue limited release in 2007. In the summer of 2011, Ed Askew embarked on his first US tour at the age of 71; while in 2013, Ed Askew’s masterful album ‘For The World’ was released via Tin Angel Records. 2014 found Ed Askew writing its hugely anticipated follow-up.

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My recent birthday was on Dec. 1st, and I spent a quiet day alone doing stuff at home. Later, I said to Jay (my keys player): “lets do something”. So the next Saturday we joined friends at a nice little west side restaurant to have drinks and dinner.

It’s amazing to imagine that only a year previous I was at a gallery in Paris, on Nov. 30th, and chatting with people after the show; when, at midnight, I turned around and was greeted with a rousing chorus of Happy Birthday.

The next morning we all went to a place where the band could have it’s picture taken with the Eiffel Tower. My idea. Then on to Brussels.

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The tour was for about two weeks and took us to Köln, Gent, Utrecht, Paris, Brussels, London, Copenhagen, Coventry, where we also played and stayed with John, on an old rebuilt farm. John is a friend of Richard Guy, who runs Tin Angel Records, and drove us around for the duration of the tour. We also played in Bristol and Glasgow. I remember the beautiful hills in Scotland, and won’t forget all the great people we met.

I also have to mention Jordan Hunt (a London boy) who was violinist for the band during the tour (and Tyler Evans who is a regular member of our band; plays tipple and guitar).

Well, once back in the states I resumed my normal life of occasional shows in Brooklyn, rehearsals with the band, working on new songs at home, occasional visits from friends, and painting.

A big event in my, life this year, was a fall I had in June that just about put me out of action for a few months. but not to dwell on THAT. I will put up this recent poem that relates:

Watching the Hudson River through a tangle of
Trees, broken limbs, and late Autumn leaves.
I walk..tap..tap..tap..
Like James Joyce’s blind man,
Walking across Dublin. 
Except that I am not in Dublin
And I am not blind.

This is the longest I have walked
Since I fell, in June;
Infuriating the nerves in my legs.
But looking at the gold and green,
And tangle of trees, before me,
I can almost not notice the discomfort
In my legs.
And as I walk home from breakfast
I pass a child, learning to ride a bike.
And I remember the pleasure in overcoming difficulties,
(Even ones that are NO fun)
Learning to play an instrument,
Or finishing a new painting.

11/14

At any rate, aside from doing some shows in Brooklyn; we played at a show in July with Plastic Crime Wave. P C W is Steve Krakow’s band. Steve is a Chicago-based music promoter, musician, and all around psychedelic freak.

Ed Askew Band got most of the songs recorded for a new LP for Tin Angel. Going to Philly and upstate NY to do it. And Jay and I went to Canada to play, and see friend Molly Sweeney and enjoy her set. From Canada went to Maine, where we played during the closing week of the Oak and the Ax. A great venue in the Portland area. Sad to see it go.

Otherwise I have been working on a new set of abstract paintings and new songs for another Bandcamp self release.

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And, oh, me, Jay and Tyler played a show at Issues Project Room with Josephine Foster (who will be on the new album) and Victor Herrero, back in January. The hall was packed, which is gratifying.

Some artists whose records and CDs I got during 2014 are:

Atlas Sound
Virginia Rodrigues
Baby Dee
Zachary Cale
Mark Kozelek & Jimmy Lavalle
Lambchop
Do Make Say Think
Smog
Conor Oberst
Bill Callahan
Big Blood
Baby Copperhead
Family Planing
the Milkman’s Union
James Blake
Deer Hunter

Because I live in Northern Manhattan and it takes 2 trains and some time to get to Brooklyn and, I’m just lazy, I don’t go to many shows that I’m not playing in. I did see my friend Jerry DeCicca (producer of ‘For The World’), at Union Pool recently, though. They have Sunday afternoon shows there, that are relaxed and make for a nice, low-key time.

So here I am, at my trusty MacBook and another year has come and gone.

Another birthday,

some more paintings,

another song….

 

—Ed 12/13/14

 

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‘For The World’ is available now on Tin Angel Records. Ed Askew also released the double 10″ ‘Rose’ (w/ Joshua Burkett & Steve Gunn) via Okraina Records (Info/Buy HERE).

http://edaskew.bandcamp.com/
http://eaband.tumblr.com/
http://www.tinangelrecords.co.uk/

 


 

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Carl Corcoran, The Blue Of The Night (Dublin, Ireland)

Dublin-based broadcaster and radio presenter Carl Corcoran presents his radio show “The Blue Of The Night” nightly on RTE Lyric FM from 10pm to 1am. The much-loved show has become widely regarded as one of the finest resources to Irish music fans for both its vast eclecticism and its unwavering dedication to showcasing the very best musical talent from both Irish and international shores. All genres of music are catered for: from jazz to blues, classical to neoclassical and from traditional to modern composers, and all points in between. 

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I consider myself to have the greatest job in Ireland. I listen to, I play, I share music with an audience that ranges in age from young teens to octogenarians with tastes in music that run the whole gambit from 13th Century polyphony through Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods — from trad to jazz and where the two meet, right up to contemporary neo-classical, baroque pop and fusions of all sorts. The Blue of the Night defies categorisation – in fact we have become a genre of our own. My desk (and that of my co-Presenter Eamonn Lenihan) is piled high with CDs and my Inbox is jammed with emails containing Mp3s and links to Soundclouds, Bandcamps and Dropbox tracks which songwriters and composers feel is Blue of the Night material. Isn’t that cool! Isn’t that the greatest testament to the programme! What a compliment! What a thrill! So when I get around to listening to all this new music I marvel at the creativity that exists. The internet has facilitated the dissemination of new music. There is a Universe of great stuff out there – and for me it is a privilege to be able to share some (and it is only a small “some”) of this creativity. As a performing musician in another period of my life (and still am from time to time) I respect the “circular reciprocity” that emanates from a great performance. In other words performers enjoying their gig connect with their audience who in turn transmit that enjoyment back to the performer thereby completing the circle. Similarly, the same happens in my current role on Blue – I play the music, the audience responds and they in turn suggest music and artists that I am genuinely enthralled to hear and enjoy.

Music that came my way this year (and not necessarily released this year) that excited me and my listeners include Portadown musician/singer songwriter Katharine Philippa – her ‘Broken to be Re-built’ EP is great. NY’s Bryce Dessner (The National) impresses with his neo-classical creations for the Kronos Quartet; Sean MacErlaine’s latest release of solo reed (Clarinets and sax) musings along with his sonic backdrops is equally impressive; Dylan Tighe produced a personal and moving collection of songs in his “Record” Cd while the Ergodos Musicians (who in the past have paid tribute to 12C composers) on their CD ‘Songs’ captured the art of the song from writers such as alt-country singer Steve Earle, UK indie trio The xx, folk-rock hero Richard Thompson, maverick Irish composer Donnacha Dennehy, and Italian Baroque genius Antonio Vivaldi. Ailie Blunnnie is another young songwriter that caught my ear, as did Slow Skies, Seti the First, Chequerboard, Owensie and a recent find from the UK – composer, singer songwriter Sasha Siem.  There is so much good music out there – there are so many great music appreciators out there…….and we share. So much great music to be heard on the Blue of the Night. So much great music to send to Blue of the Night. I hope that circle continues – I hope I can reciprocate.

 

—Carl Corcoran

 

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Carl Corcoran presents The Blue Of The Night on Irish radio station RTE Lyric FM nightly from 10pm to 1am. Playlists and playback options are accessible online for each show.

http://www.rte.ie/lyricfm/the-blue-of-the-night-with-carl-corcoran/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BlueoftheNight
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/blueofthenight

 


 

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Eithne Hand, Galway International Arts Festival (Galway, Ireland)

Eithne Hand is a Radio Producer and Writer. In 2014 she curated the ‘First Thought Talks’ Strand of the Galway International Arts Festival. She produces Gay Byrne’s weekly Jazz Programme on RTE Lyric FM and is a past winner of the Prix Italia for Work on Music with a radio documentary called Voicejazz which mixed five voices talking about jazz in a loose quintet. All she loves about radio comes from Glen Gould. She has written and directed four Radio Dramas and is working on a site specific theatre piece for 1916 based on her own family story and Caravaggio’s masterpiece ‘The Taking of Christ’.

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Musically my 2014 contained not so many ‘new’ pieces but a lot of ‘new to me’ work. Working every week with jazz from the 30’s and 40’s constantly opens my ears to some of the best playing and improvisations from a time when the form was dangerously good. Take just one example – Mugsy Spanier’s ‘Relaxin’ At The Touro’.

Lisa Hannigan, Cillian Murphy, Fractured Air and Tony Clayton Lea all took to the stage of Druid Theatre in Galway on a sunny July Sunday and provided a real highlight for the audience of muso’s and sentimentalists all there to hear an hour-long riff on the joy of the Mixtape. Cillian had the bright idea of asking all comers in advance to bring their own Mixtape/CD along so at the end we shook a box and everyone took home someone else’s offering. A true example of local ‘sharing’.

Film musical highlights were just two – I got to see ‘Good Vibrations’ – the story of Terri Hooley and the punk movement in Belfast. Great soundtrack, smart script from Glenn Patterson and a cameo appearance by Terri himself. An eerily accurate capture of a time and place.

Best book with music in it: ‘From Out Of The City’  – A John Kelly transport aptly described on the cover as “a medicated fugue”.

Ken Loach’s film, ‘Jimmy’s Hall’ was shot about 10km from where I spend a lot of time in south Sligo. The film has good and bad bits but the musical assembly of fantastic jazz foot stompers led by Tommy Higgins were a joy.

Teho Teardo’s soundtrack for ‘Ballyturk’ by Enda Walsh was the overall musical highlight. Now just out on CD and Vinyl. Stunning music.

Björk’s ‘Bibliophilia’ came along and having been at the concert in Alexander Palace which was recorded for the movie I had to go. Surreal, stunning imaginative effort to ‘show’ the music as having an organic visual life alongside the sounds.

Elvis Costello in October in Dublin was forgettable but Julie Feeney in the Spiegeltent on the Wexford Quays on Halloween night was the opposite.

Lowlight award goes to David Byrne/Fat Boy Slim collaboration ‘Here Lies Love’ – the musical based on the Imelda Marcos story at the National London. Poor taste and disappointing all round.

Year ending with Cyrille Aimee and the wonderful Aaron Diehl as well as Christian McBride and Cecile McLorin Salvant all together on the new Mack Avenue CD release for Christmas (‘It’s Christmas on Mack Avenue’).

For 2015  I am looking forward to a much rumoured chamber opera involving both Donnacha Dennehy and Enda Walsh. All details coming soon !

 

—Eithne Hand

 

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http://www.giaf.ie/

 


 

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Brigid Power-Ryce (Galway, Ireland)

Brigid Power-Ryce (born in London and now based in Galway) is one of Ireland’s most talented and unique songwriters. Having supported such world-renowned musicians as Lee Ranaldo, Peter Broderick, Alasdair Roberts and Richard Dawson in the past; Brigid Power-Ryce’s moving and powerful concert performances (involving accompaniment with accordion, guitar, ukele or simply a cappella performance) demonstrate the supreme power still inherent in the songwriting form. Brigid Power-Ryce released the stunning ‘I Told You The Truth’ album this year via Galway-based Abandon Reason Records, comprising recordings made at St. Nicholas’ Church in Galway.

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2014 was a crazy and hard year for me. Come to think of it, I’m not sure if it was any crazier than previous years, but it definitely was a year of “burning the candle at both ends”. There was a lot of change, which brought about a lot of chaos and loss, but then ultimately strength. It wasn’t a big year for me for soaking up new music or books. I go through phases where I will listen to a lot of music or read many books, but then I go into blank-brain mode and I need a lot of empty months, where I’m not usually listening to anything new, just listening to a lot of old favourites or sometimes nothing at all. Old stuff that I listened to a lot this year was Neil Young – ‘Zuma’, ‘Rust Never Sleeps’. Planxty. I listened to a lot of Prokofiev too and Satie.

My 4 year old son made us listen to and dance on repeat, the song ‘Only Daddy That’ll Walk The Line’ by Waylon Jennings. Hearing him shouting and sort of side-stepping “EVERYBODY KNOWS YOU BEEN STEPPIN ON MY TOES AND I’M GEDDIN PWETTY TIRED OF IT” was special. We’ve recently moved very close to a beach and he always says, “I see Waylon Jennings sailing a boat over there Mum. There he is Mum making a sand castle!” He has a connection with Waylon Jennings. How strange.

I played a lot of memorable gigs. Around April 2014 I played a few gigs around the UK. I started off with opening up for Cian Nugent & The Cosmos in Cafe Oto, London. They were really raw and alive. Then I went to Manchester, Sheffield and Edinburgh. Playing those gigs really nourished me. The audiences were all so appreciative and connective and so were the acts I was supporting, Alasdair Roberts and Sir Richard Bishop, they were great and the latter so funny. I felt like I was floating the whole time of that tour. When I came home I came crashing down with a post-gigs anti-climax. It was hard to get back to day-to-day life and get my feet back on the ground. But I’ve learned how to handle the aftermath a bit better since Spring.

An artist I discovered in 2014 who made a big impact on me was Angel Olsen. It’s funny because when I first heard her in maybe 2012/13, I didn’t want to listen, I sort of shut it off. It almost hurt to listen, because I had been laying low for quite a while and not performing or writing or even singing so I wanted to avoid listening to something that I might have unconsciously known would remind me of who I am. But then I did let myself listen this year and her two albums ‘Half Way Home’ and ‘Burn Your Fire For No Witness’ were pretty much on repeat for the whole summer in our house. Here’s the evidence. I love her music, her voice and her lyrics too. I went to see her in Whelans too which was great, although there were a few assholes at the gig.

I played a good few gigs in the autumn. I supported a great American band upstairs in The Workman’s in Dublin, called Spires That In The Sunset Rise. They were incredible musicians and people. Then I supported Lee Ranaldo in Dublin, an exciting gig that went really well. And then my last gig was with Peter Broderick in the Half Moon Theatre in Cork. That was a really special gig. The promoters (ahem!) were extremely kind, generous, and without a hint of ego. Which was really unique. The audience was great and Peter Broderick was also lovely and I really liked his violin playing and multi-tasking abilities. After the show, we talked a lot about ‘Curb Your Enthusiasm’ and ‘Seinfeld’, which brings me on to “what I watched in 2014”. A LOT of CYE. I know it wasn’t out this year or anything, but hey I’m always a few years behind on stuff. I also watched the first season of ‘Broad City’ which I really liked. I’m excited for that new season to come out in January. It’s about two young women in New York and they are pretty funny. I used to live in New York when I was 18 and I was in a similar mindset to them then, so it feels familiar.

I know this has probably been a boring read, with not much substance or music/film/book recommendations (oh I just remembered I re-read ‘Shakey’, and ‘East Of Eden’ which is very different to the film, very dark but brilliant), but it’s because I am tired. That sums up 2014, really: tiring. I think 2015 will be a lot more easier going. I think I will organize some more gigs and get over to America and maybe get a band together. I’m going to try and not waste so many hours on the internet also.
Bye!

 

—Brigid Power-Ryce

 

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‘I Told You The Truth’ is available now on Abandon Reason Records HERE.

http://brigidpowerryce.com/
https://www.facebook.com/brigidpowerrycemusic

 


 

With very special thanks to all the wonderful contributors for their contributions.
Wishing all our readers a very happy new year and best wishes for 2015.

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Web: http://fracturedair.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FracturedAir
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Fractured_Air
Mixcloud: http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/

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Fractured Air 13: Seeing Things (A Mixtape by Cillian Murphy)

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Fractured Air 13: Seeing Things (A Mixtape by Cillian Murphy)

To listen on Mixcloud:
http://www.mixcloud.com/Fractured_Air/fractured-air-13-seeing-things-a-mixtape-by-cillian-murphy/

Tracklisting:

01. MONEY ‘So Long (God Is Dead)’ [Bella Union]
02. Neil Young ‘Out On The Weekend’ [Reprise]
03. The National ‘Hard To Find’ [4AD]
04. The Flaming Lips ‘Waitin’ for a Superman’ [Warner Bros.]
05. Arthur Russell ‘That’s Us/Wild Combination’ [Rough Trade]
06. Kevin Drew ‘Good Sex’ [Arts & Crafts]
07. Airhead ‘Wait’ [R & S]
08. Bobby Womack ‘Deep River’ [XL]
09. Röyksopp ‘Daddy’s Groove’ [LateNightTales]
10. Julianna Barwick ‘Call’ [Suicide Squeeze]
11. John Martyn ‘Small Hours’ [Island]
12. Bill Evans ‘Peace Piece’ [Riverside]
13. Vincent Gallo ‘Yes I’m Lonely’ [Warp]

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“Seeing Things” is a special mix made by Irish actor Cillian Murphy. At this summer’s Galway Arts Festival, Cillian Murphy will re-unite with playwright Enda Walsh for the production of ‘Ballyturk’, co-starring Mikel Murfi and Stephen Rea. Previously, Walsh and Murphy worked together on ‘Disco Pigs’ (1996) and ‘Misterman’ (2011).
‘Ballyturk’ will run at the Black Box Theatre, Galway from July 10—27 as part of the 2014 Galway Arts Festival. The play will later transfer to London’s National Theater where it runs for a five-week season at the Lyttelton Theatre on September 11, and runs until October 11, 2014.
This Autumn Cillian Murphy will reprise his role as Thomas Shelby in the second season of BBC Two’s period drama ‘Peaky Blinders’.

For Cillian’s recent interview with Julia Holter, please click HERE.

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‘Ballyturk’, the new play written and directed by Enda Walsh starring Cillian Murphy, Mikel Murfi and Stephen Rea, will premiere at the 2014 Galway Arts Festival this July.

http://ballyturk.com
http://www.galwayartsfestival.com

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To follow Fractured Air you can do so on Facebook HERE, or Twitter HERE.

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Chosen One: Julia Holter

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Interview with Julia Holter by Cillian Murphy.

“Leave well alone. Don’t meddle any more. Can’t you see she is far beyond us?”
She pointed to Gigi, who was resting a trusting head and the rich abundance of her hair on Lachaille’s shoulder. The happy man turned to Madame Alvarez.
“Mamita,” he said, “will you do me the honour, the favour, give me the infinite joy of bestowing on me the hand…”

(—Excerpt from Colette’s 1944 novella ‘Gigi’)

Interview: Cillian Murphy
Illustration: Craig Carry, Introduction: Mark Carry

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An incomprehensible beauty forever lies at the heart of the work of L.A. based artist, Julia Holter. The latest masterpiece ‘Loud City Song’ is the gifted songwriter’s third in as many years, and is the highly anticipated follow-up to last year’s sublime ‘Ekstasis’ album. Having first heard ‘In The Same Room’ many moons ago – a single taken from ‘Ekstasis’ – the vital significance and preciousness of Holter’s art became immediately apparent to me. The swirling notes of harpsichord and keys drift slowly amidst Holter’s captivating voice, evoking a daydream sequence washed in a lifetime of distant memories: “I can’t remember your face / but I hope the ship will carry us there.” Fleeting moments of life’s unfolding mysteries are embedded in all three records – from 2011’s debut ‘Tragedy to the latest ‘Loud City Song’ – that endlessly reveal new meaning and hidden depths of truth.

‘Loud City Song’ showcases Holter’s rare gift for the creation of highly innovative and utterly breathtaking contemporary pop music. A sense of mystery and intrigue is interwoven between the tapestry of beguiling sounds and vivid colours conjured up by Holter and her ensemble of peerless musicians. At the heart of ‘Loud City Song’ is a story, inspired by the musical ‘Gigi’, whose central character – the innocent teenage girl, Gigi – someone Holter closely identified with, having watched it many times growing up. ‘Loud City Song’ has been described by Holter as a search for love and truth in a superficial society. Set in turn-of-the-century Paris, Colette’s timeless novella (first published in 1944) offers a user’s manual on how to live fearlessly and joyfully. Similarly, the sonic creations of ‘Loud City Song’ documents the hopes, dreams and fantasies of Gigi – the album’s loosely-based narrative – that creates an entirely unique world for the listener to become part of. Themes such as pressures from society, individualism, loneliness and celebrity culture are etched across the resolutely unique canvas of ‘Loud City Song’. ‘Gigi’ is merely a starting point, as the plethora of characters and multitude of emotion cast, results in a deeply enriching experience of the human condition. ‘Loud City Song’ is indeed “like an audio cinematic experience.” From the album opener ‘World’, which serves ‘Loud City Song”s enthralling prologue, to the heart wrenching ballad of Barbara Lewis’ ‘Hello Stranger’, a world of love, fantasy, “winter words” and “falling leaves” beautifully encapsulate the world of ‘Loud City Song’.

Heaven,
all the heavens of the world.
Are you looking for anything?
Heaven with eyes bright green
Everyday my eyes are older,
I grow a bit closer to you.

(‘World’)

Similar to ‘Goddess Eyes’ on previous album ‘Ekstasis’, the tour de force ‘Maxim’s’ is present on ‘Loud City Song’ as two separate versions; ‘Maxim’s I’ and ‘Maxim’s II’, providing the focal point to the album’s narrative. The song is named after the storied Maxim’s restaurant in Paris that is prominently featured in the musical, ‘Gigi’. A key scene which resonated for Holter was the scene in which Gigi enters the bustling Maxim’s only to be greeted with complete silence as the restaurant’s patrons gaze at her judgmentally. Holter sings on the chorus, “Into Maxim’s we will see them walk / Will they eat a piece of cheese or will they talk?” as the orchestra of brass and string sections create a frenzy of commotion, depicting the loudness of the superficial society that surrounds her. A parallel can be made between Colette’s early twentieth century Paris and that of Holter’s native L.A. In many ways; both societies share common celebrity culture, where the setting of ‘Loud City Song’ could easily be that of modern-day Los Angeles as much as Colette’s depiction of turn-of-the-century Paris. The frantic tempo of ‘Horns Surrounding Me’ evokes the sound of paparazzi chasing after an identified celebrity, where the sound of a marching band storms to the foreground of the mix. At the core, a feeling of pain and isolation radiates from the ‘cold night’ as Holter sings “Moon, they forget how soft heart is, unfolding over time.”

Unlike the previous two records, ‘Loud City Song’ is the first album Holter recorded outside of her bedroom. The songs were written and composed by Holter – some as far back as 2011, at the time of debut album ‘Tragedy’ – later to be worked on (mixed and co-produced) by Ariel Pink collaborator Cole Marsden Greif-Neill (who also mixed ‘Ekstasis’). Holter would join an ensemble of musicians in a professional studio in L.A. for six days to record the layers of tracks. Joining Holter (keyboards, vocals) were the brass section of Chris Speed (saxophone), Brian Allen (trombone) and Matt Barbier (trombone), violinist Andrew Tholl, cellist Christopher Votek, Ramona Gonzalez (Nite Jewel) on backing vocals, Corey Fogel on percussion, and Devin Hoff on bass. The time-staking process of mixing Holter’s vocals came later. The result is a performative record where undoubtedly the acoustic instrument of Holter’s voice provides the aesthetic that graces the divine beauty of the album’s timeless soundscapes. Other sources of inspiration came from Joni Mitchell and poet Frank O’Hara. The spirit of Mitchell is particularly evident on album closer ‘City Appearing’, a whirlwind jazz odyssey that lies somewhere between ‘Blue’ and ‘Hejira’. Holter asks on the opening lines of the second verse: “Is it the hand of love so rough / what we’re feeling for the first time?” Much like O’Hara’s poetry, which were based on his observations of New York life, many of the characters and songwriting stemmed from ‘Loud City Song’ can be seen as Holter’s observations of L.A. life, where I feel poems such as ‘1951’ and ‘A City Winter’ could find a deserved place in Holter’s audio poem-come-song cycle.

The sequencing of ‘Loud City Song’ is immaculate as one feels a sense of movement and character progression from beginning to end. Furthermore, the depths of loneliness and despair are overcome as the journey unfolds, culminating in a wave of joy as celebration prevails, as “all the birds of the world make their way over with new softer songs to sing” on album closer ‘City Appearing’. The album’s centerpiece, for me, is the cover version of Barbara Lewis’ ‘Hello Stranger’ which is engulfed in a beguiling and cinematic atmosphere of loss and longing, yet an infinite light of hope shines forth amidst the chorus of singing birds in the background. A consoling ebb and flow of strings accompanies the achingly beautiful vocals of Holter as she sings “I’m so happy that you’re here again” on the song’s close. ‘He’s Running Through My Eyes’ is one of the most beautiful songs to have graced this earth. The delicacy and fragile beauty of this piano-led ballad transcends space and time. The lyric “But when summer’s over, will he remember winter words?” resonates powerfully. The soulful pop opus of ‘This Is A True Heart’ is reminiscent of Arthur Russell, Laurie Anderson and indeed the feel of Colette and Gigi’s elegant Parisienne streets and boulevards. The rise on ‘In The Green Wild’ serves as one of the euphoric moments of ‘Loud City Song’. The peerless musicianship of Holter’s ensemble and daringly beautiful arrangements is on full display.

In the green wild I am gone
my hands, toes, shoulders gone
but the shoes my feet have worn still remain
and they walk toward the sea
there’s a flavor to the sound of walking
no one ever never noticed before.

(‘In The Green Wild’)

Similar to ‘Loud City Song’, Holter’s debut ‘Tragedy’ drew from literature already made, namely, Euripides’ ‘Hippolytus’. One of the songs, ‘Celebration’, centers on Hippolytus worshipping Artemis and purity. A lyric contained in this song, for me, epitomises the truly transcendent nature of Julia Holter’s sacred songbook, that serves the perfect embodiment of Holter’s utterly captivating work: “We are moved by your radiance.” This truly unique voice in today’s music world has created yet another true work of art, in the form of ‘Loud City Song’. A question is posed by the young Gigi in Colette’s novella: “What is an artistic jewel?” For someone asking the same question today, one needs to look no further than Holter’s remarkable ‘Loud City Song’.

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‘Loud City Song’ is out now on Domino.

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Interview with Julia Holter by Cillian Murphy.

CILLIAN MURPHY: First of all, I discovered your music through ‘Ekstasis’; a record I really, really loved and played it all the time. And then this record, I was really looking forward to it. It has completely bewitched me, I have to say, and I have listened to it a lot. You are in L.A. right? I read that L.A. is a part of the inspiration for the record or features in some of the themes of the record. Is that right?

JULIA HOLTER: Yes, sort of. Well, what it was is I basically grew up in L.A., so for me it’s one of those things where basically I was making a story, and the story was kind of inspired by ‘Gigi’ which is the music from this musical. So, I was trying to build a setting for this story, and the setting was a city – and it could be any city – and for me it’s L.A. because I know L.A. But I’m not enforcing it as L.A. It’s not called L.A. I always think you have to do what you know; you have to write about what you know, to some extent. But, obviously, I don’t know Gigi. I’m not Gigi. But it’s like, you know, you combine what you know with other things.
L.A. is what I know, so it’s the scene. Then there is also a bigger song, ‘Horns Surround Me’ where it’s specifically paparazzi chasing actors. Yeah, that’s what it is sort of in my mind, but it doesn’t have to be though for most people. But in [my] mind what it was, ‘Horns Surrounding Me’ is like a marching band chasing after me, symbolizing paparazzi or something. But that’s stuff that doesn’t happen just in L.A., but it’s definitely a big L.A. phenomenon.

CM: Well yeah, that’s for sure.

JH: And I’m sure you know way more about this than I do.

CM: Well, thankfully I’ve avoided that aspect of what I do. For the most part, I’m incredibly boring and they tend to leave me alone. I know the city just as a visitor, you know, and I always found something about the city that it’s like a public and a private L.A., and it’s a really easy city to hide in, or escape into.

JH: Yeah, exactly.

CM: And a lot of stuff goes on behind closed doors. That resonated with me when I listened to the record. I love that song ‘World’ as well. It’s such a big title for a song but I love how you reduce it down to such small mundane things. And I love that thing about always wearing a hat, and the city can’t see my eyes and stuff. I think that’s a kind of L.A. thing. It really resonated with me and I guess you can apply it to other cities but there is something about L.A. that is unique.

JH: I see what you’re saying, it’s like I think that a lot of times when I’m talking to people in interviews and they haven’t been here at all, and I’m sure you’ve been here a lot. Yeah, I think you’re right. I think it’s something I’m not even conscious of, because I always say, no it’s not just about L.A. but maybe it is specifically this private and public, like you say. I do think though that it’s easy to hide here. There is not as much hype about things like there is in New York or London. More people come out to my shows in London or New York than in L.A. People are more oblivious and everything is more mysterious, and I actually like that.

CM: Yeah, I like that too. And in terms of – you just touched on it there – the music scene in Los Angeles, I would imagine it’s a great place you know, there’s a great music scene and a lot of collaboration between musicians. Would I be right in saying that?

JH: Yeah, I think so. I mean there’s a lot of space in L.A. One thing, I think it’s sort of collaborative I guess – like I’ve done a little bit of collaborating – people can hide away and do their thing and work on it really intensely here. It feels that people can be very introspective and deep into their creative ball and feel comfortable doing that.

CM: Is that what you did, I mean the first two albums were recorded at home, in your bedroom. That’s what I read, is that right?

JH: Yeah, I was really isolated.

CM: Did you find that a good thing? Because I mean the albums are amazing. Did you find that a useful thing in terms of making the records?

JH: Yeah, I think it was good for me to have that experience. It was really hard because mixing your own music can be really hard and especially when there are so many layers – layers of sounds and atmosphere – and every second I wanted to adjust the atmosphere a little bit, so I’m really particular about the atmosphere at every given point. So, I think it was really hard to mix and frustrating but it was good to go and learn how to do it myself.

CM: And this record was different in that it was recorded more conventionally, in the studio with musicians. Is that right?

JH: Yeah, it’s kind of complicated because I actually do a lot of stuff at home as well. I wrote and recorded the demos for the record, maybe a year and a half before the record was recorded. They have a lot of it already planned out and then we called Greif-Neill who produced the record with me.

CM: From Ariel Pink, right?

JH: Yeah, he produced Ariel’s last record I think, and also with Nite Jewel and some friends of mine. It was really nice to work with him because he has worked with Ariel and Nite Jewel, and both of them have started as solo people and then moved on to working in the environment of a studio. Like, they started just working in their rooms, you know. So he really knows that transition. So, he heard the demos and he was really into it and he made this plan. And his plan always puts in mind that I’m always used to working in my own space and time on my own. And so he made it. So, what we did was that I arranged all the parts for the musicians first and we recorded them for six days in a professional studio with an engineer and everything and friends helping out with the engineering. The whole rest of the album was months and months of recording my vocals, which we did at Cole [Greif-Neill]’s house at home. And then he has this little studio and then recording key parts in my house, like, just myself in my house, recording it. And then mixing it. So it was really the longest part; the post-recording. Recording the instruments was the easiest part. And then it was all about creating the atmosphere and stuff.

CM: Oh wow, so all in all then, from when you wrote the demos to when you finally mixed the record to when you put it out, how long did that take?

JH: I think like writing the demos was two years ago, at least. I mean it’s complicated. While I was writing ‘Ekstasis’, there was a song that was going to be on it and it’s what’s now called ‘Maxim’s II’, and that song ‘Maxim’s’ was going to be on this record. I was like this is so weird because this doesn’t really fit on the rest of ‘Ekstasis’ and that’s how I came up with the idea of ‘Loud City Song’.

CM: I see. And that title by the way, can you elaborate on that at all?

JH: There is this loudness of society, [this] is what I was attracting. And the story of Gigi and the story that I’m bringing out – sort of the individual that is being bombarded by society in some ways, feeling the weight of society, like they’re trying to work against society in some way. And society is very loud in that way.
That’s what I was getting at. Again, the loudness of society and whether that’s pressuring people into doing something, like in ‘Gigi’ or whatever or society itself is overwhelming to the individual. I was thinking for me that how today it’s really true – not just the noise of society but the noise of the media – and when, for example, you turn on your TV and the advertisements are really loud. Sound engineers have talked about how now the commercial pop hit is way louder than it used to be, like all distorted compared to commercial pop hits of twenty years ago. So, it’s kind of like an overall general idea of loudness of society.

CM: Yeah, I mean I can’t get over the way in America, they pipe music in shopping malls but even outdoors from shopping centers. I find that extraordinary. An extraordinary assault, even when you’re outside, you know.

JH: It’s really horrible. When I was shopping the other day, and it was like, I need to leave right now, it was just so horrible how loud it is. Is this Abercrombie and Snitch or something? [laughs]

CM: I get distressed and I do not want to shop. It doesn’t put me in the mood for shopping [laughs].

JH: I know.

CM: I’m just not a good shopper, maybe. I haven’t read ‘Gigi’, but I have read some of the other of Colette’s books. Would you consider it then, you know, give it the whole “conceptual album” tag, or is that something you’re happy to embrace, or is it more something you are just inspired by, and took some ideas from?

JH: I don’t know. I’m open to either perspective because, for me, it’s really like my record ‘Tragedy’ and unlike ‘Ekastsis’. It is a unified story in a way, not necessarily that it follows a straight narrative, because it doesn’t really. But it’s a story, just like ‘Tragedy’ was a story, and both ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Loud City Song’ are inspired by stories that previously exist. So if people call it a concept album that’s fine. I know it’s kind of like a cheesy genre, people think that it’s kind of gimmicky. I guess I just think about it, like, for me, a record is, you make a record, like a book or anything, like a collection of poems, and there’s something that unites them in some way usually. Like with ‘Ekstasis’ it was all like individual songs, they weren’t united like one story. But they were all planned to be on one record and curated for that purpose, because they were meant to be together on an album but they don’t fit into one story. There is some differentiation you have to make, I guess, with a record like ‘Ekstasis’ and a record like ‘Loud City Song’. And whatever you want to call it, you know, I don’t really mind either way. I have trouble figuring out what it’s called myself. It’s a concept album, that’s fine, you know. I think of it as a story because I don’t want people to think that I have a sort of a message.

CM: Well, for me, the more you listen to it, the more it reveals itself. And now, to me, that’s the sign of a great album. I’m going to quote you something – and I hate when people quote me back on interviews because I never remember saying it – but “I’m basically into creating movies that are albums as opposed to albums that are like sound from movies”. Do you remember that?

JH: Oh right, because basically when people ask if it’s like a soundtrack or something.

CM: I thought that was a brilliant quote.

JH: Oh yeah, thanks. That’s something I’m really into the idea of making an audio poem or something, like an audio cinematic experience.

CM: Well, that’s what you get from it, and I think you have achieved it wonderfully. And from start to finish, your mood changes, like in a film, it elicits different emotional responses.
I went to see Björk a couple of nights ago and she was doing her ‘Biophilia’ show. I just saw the boldness in her compositions and she’s not afraid of concept either in terms of the music she makes. Particularly on ‘Maxim’s II’, it reminded me of Björk a lot, and I was just wondering what you think of her and have you been asked about that comparison before?

JH: Actually, I haven’t been asked about Björk that much. I think there’s something about my style, but I think I know what you mean. First of all, I think that she is amazing and I think she is an amazing writer and interesting, and I admire her a lot. But I’ve never seen her live show, but I’d love to. I’ve heard they’re really incredible. Like she is a totally visionary. But the thing I’ve listened to the most of hers is that soundtrack she did with a Japanese show in it. It’s like a soundtrack she made but it’s amazing. But I love her songs and I think I need to listen to more of her. I still haven’t dug in completely.

CM: I think it’s more in terms of the fearlessness she has and I think that you seem to have it in the music. What I love about your music is that it’s music you listen to, it’s not necessarily music you put on while you’re washing the dishes. I love that and I think that that’s important nowadays.

JH: That’s really cool, yeah.

broken

(Illustration based on the Rufus Norris film “Broken”, starring Cillian Murphy, Tim Roth, and Lily James.)

CM: I just wanted to talk about two more songs on the album. ‘Hello Stranger’, I mean it’s kind of heart-stopping. I just wondered why you decided to use that tune? I don’t know if you’ll agree but it’s a unique interpretation but it’s also, I think weirdly faithful to it as well, if that isn’t a contradiction.

JH: So, I grew up listening to Barbara Lewis’ song ‘Hello Stranger’ that she wrote. And I listened to her version. I actually don’t know any other version, I only know hers. I grew up listening, it was on a compilation my mom had growing up. First of all, I covered it four years ago, like a cover in my room, playing it out loud, live. I recorded it live, like a room recording of me singing and playing on keyboard, pretty similar to the vibe on the final version. So, in ‘Gigi’, the musical, there is a scene, and a song actually called ‘I Remember It Well’ where Lachaille and Gigi’s great-aunt are meeting again, after [having] had an affair like years and years ago in their youth, and they’re having lunch together and reminiscing about it. But they can’t remember it really well. Or, at least that he keeps on messing up, “we had dinner at nine” and she is like , “we had breakfast.” She keeps correcting them. It’s kind of hokey but it’s kind of sweet, like this song.

So, it was sort of, for me, this song ‘Hello Stranger’ is sort of similar in that it’s an exploration of two people, of memory, a version of memory and the faults of memory, and how you recall things from the past but they’re either too vague or they’re inaccurate. So, with ‘Hello Stranger’, the Barbara Lewis song that she wrote, it’s very vague, there’s very little explanation of anything but you have a sense that he hurt her and she’s in love with him still and she doesn’t want to get hurt again, or whatever. So, kind of like that Janet Jackson song ‘Again’, I think, which I also love.

But in Barbara Lewis’ song, it’s like: “Please don’t hurt me”, but that’s all, there is no real detail. So, you have a real hazy sense of what happened. I think it’s the same for that moment in ‘Gigi’. A lot of the songs were inspired by taking off points from that musical, that’s what happened, and I was like, this song would be perfect for this record, even though no one will make that connection unless I tell them about that scene. It’s kind of convoluted but to me I just knew; I trusted that it would work somehow, put that song in there subliminally without people knowing why it was there.

CM: And where it sits on the record too. I don’t know, it’s so warm and it’s just so beautiful. It really is. I love it.

JH: Great.

CM: Playing this record live then and touring it, it’s got such an amazing response from everybody; everybody loves it. I just wanted to know how when you record a record and then you have to go and play those songs live. Does that change the songs and how does it feel for you playing those songs in a live setting?

JH: Yeah, live, they start a different life. One of the things I realized early on is that you can’t re-create the record live because you’re in a totally different situation, you got an audience in front of you. Even if you play back the track and sing over it, you’re not re-creating, or even if you press play – you don’t sing and you play the whole track in the room while the audience is there – there is a performance and a visual aspect, that you’re there, you’re performing for people, it’s like a totally different thing. And so I was taking this approach – performance is very different from recording though – like two separate things. So, when I perform them, I arranged the songs particularly for the live set. With this record it’s been so much easier.

Last year, what we did with ‘Ekstasis’, which I recorded all myself except for mixing, and arranged for drum and cello and me, so basically it was me re-arranging the entire record for a new ensemble. Whereas on this record, this time I’m working with the same musicians pretty much, I just have my arrangements from the recording session, notated and a lot of stuff was improvised by them on the spot or we came up with slightly different ideas, because obviously you don’t have as many layers as you do in the recording session. You have to, like, cut down and come up with ways of how to fill it in. For the most part it was a lot easier than last year. It’s been really fun and also because I have a lot more people, and I have saxophone, violin, cello, drums, and me.

CM: And do you play the album from start to finish or do you mix it up with earlier albums, or how do you go about it?

JH: I haven’t done the album from start to finish but that would be interesting. I think one day we will do it for fun.

CM: Yeah, I’d like to be there for that. Because you trained classically and you compose your stuff, and you say, you composed the parts for the other players on the record, does that mean the players themselves have to be able to read music and be reasonably classically trained or how does that work?

JH: I mean I would definitely be into working with people who didn’t and I have. But a lot of times I do like to have people who have, we can have sessions about it and it’s easy to communicate because we all have some background in theory and stuff. But definitely I don’t think it’s a requirement. Because I need people to read the arrangements and stuff for the recording, it was important.

CM: Training as a piano player, is that something you wanted to do? Were you always singing when you were playing the piano, and when did the two sort of come together?

JH: First of all, I played classical piano when I was about eight and I don’t play anymore because of college and then I stopped classical. I was never very great. I really loved it but in classical music there is so many amazing pianists and I was not one of those. I was good because I loved practicing, and I always did [practice] and I loved playing but I wasn’t really great or anything. So I quit the classical piano. In high-school, I started getting interested in the possibility of playing the songs I like and listen to. I started playing Joni Mitchell and started singing along, and I hated my voice. But I loved singing anyway.

When I was younger, even like, Fiona Apple, Tori Amos, The Beatles, Radiohead, the bands and stuff that I liked, and Billie Holliday…so, I was trying out a lot of different voices for fun. I never wrote music until I was, like, sixteen or seventeen, and that wasn’t for singing. Actually, [they were] some of the worst songs but they were from classical piano and not me. It was in classical music and I was writing in composition, and I went into composition in college at grad school, and that was my degree. It was like, I wasn’t seeing myself at all as a performer. I was like a composer who would write music for other people to perform. And I never sang much except I did start choir – because it was mandatory in college – for the first time. But then I got out of that because I didn’t like it. Then, what happened is that I discovered recording. The minute I discovered recording I felt free to try stuff with my voice and I was, like, maybe my voice isn’t that bad, it’s okay. You can mess with your voice and try different things and be poetic, and it was really fun for me, and to discover myself as a singer and a performer was a shocker, for sure. I mean, I didn’t see myself in that way at all. I never get nervous about performing unless there is a reason for me to be nervous, but I actually quite take to it and I like it.

CM: That’s very, very interesting. I identify with that because, well, I played music a bit before I became an actor – to a very low-level – but when I started acting onstage in theatre, I never got nervous. It was weird. I get nervous on film because it’s there forever, it’s indelible, whereas in theatre you can have a better show the next day. The sense of having some sort of control. And when did you reconcile yourself to your voice then because I know that John Lennon, all his life, hated it, he was always double-tracking his voice and putting it through some effect.

JH: I know. I love that effect he uses. It’s that thing, it’s really interesting. I think it’s like a really short delay effect. I think that’s a really interesting topic because I always still have trouble with my voice, listening to it pure, unless it’s really done right. And one of the things I think is that when – you’ll understand this as an actor – when you’re performing you aren’t yourself. In music as well, when I’m performing I’m neither myself – because I wouldn’t be interested in me as a subject – but I’m also not one particular persona, you know how some artists or musicians have a certain persona they always have. So, for me, I take on a different character for every song. Like, even within a record, every song has to have a different character, and for that reason I find it difficult to hear my voice clearly, as if it’s me speaking. And I think there is something that musicians really hate, certain musicians who really care about the colour and the character of every song who are like, really great songwriters, and John Lennon is one of them. They really can’t stand it if it sounds just like them because they’re trying to create something else, they’re trying to make something more otherworldly, and a new character. And that’s maybe the impulse. It’s not just like, oh I hate how my voice sounds, it’s something else, like this is still me and this has to be transcending me, and it can’t be just me, it has to be this different person, you know what I mean?

CM: I do and it’s like using it as an instrument that’s not you, and it seems to me that it does sound different on each track, and even on the three records, you know. But I mean I love that, it’s a brilliant thing and you wouldn’t be able to identify with that immediately necessarily. It’s still amazing on each track. Speaking of that, in terms of the three albums, do you see that as a kind of series in any way? You were saying ‘Ekstasis’ is separate in terms of it’s not thematically like the others. But do you see them as separate or connected?

JH: I see them as pretty separate. I think they could be united by an era in my life or something, at this point my musical life has been short so it’s hard to know. But now, I would see them as being very separate. I think ‘Tragedy’ and ‘Loud City Song’ have similar goals in terms of a similar approach, let me put it that way, in that they’re inspired by a story. But I’m not necessarily going to stop doing that. Sometimes I like doing that, sometimes not, sometimes I like to assemble a collection of songs like ‘Ekstasis’. I think that I’m always going to be doing different things and that every project I take very seriously as a project in itself. But it’s definitely something that some people will see them united in some way that I can’t see because my perspective is pretty flawed of what I do. It’s always hard to judge what you’re doing to a certain extent, and you, kind of, just have to go for it. With this record, ‘Loud City Song’, I was conscious of what I was doing at the beginning, like, I was going to make a bunch of songs that are inspired by moments of this musical basically.

In the interim I kept watching that musical – I don’t generally watch that much musicals ever – but because it was engrained in me from a very young age, like I knew it so well and I could relate to the characters so easily, I just had to do it. And I went into it really blindly, like I wasn’t ever thinking twice about any one song, and I wrote it pretty quickly in a way, without any real trouble. Then I came up with things and went with my instincts and that’s kind of my approach and I’m probably never going to strategize one approach across multiple records. I’m going to just let myself go with each project, generally with a set of limits from the start, and see where it takes me.

CM: Yeah, I think that’s got to be the best. I mean it’s the impulse to do it. If the impulse is there, you just have to follow it I think, and try not to question it too much. I liked what you said as well about the stuff that people read into in records and songs with people, it’s extraordinary and I love that.
Are you touring loads now? Are you in the middle of a tour?

JH: I have a one and a half weeks break, or two weeks break and then we’re going on a shortish U.S tour and then we’re back in L.A. again, and then we go back to Europe.

CM: Are you doing festivals or is that gone now?

JH: We’re doing some festivals but it’s mostly shows this time, which will be really nice because I like shows.

CM: I would imagine your music demands attention, like I said. I’d imagine certain venues are better than others.

JH: Yeah, like some festivals are awesome, like there’s this great one in Poland called the Off Festival. Sometimes the people are most exciting [part] to a festival because there are so many of them and I love when there is a lot of people in the audience. It’s nice fun and [there’s] the energy of people. Like, we opened for Sigur Rós and that was the most exciting thing for me because there was so many people, even if they weren’t all listening, it’s okay. I know there is a lot of them and I don’t judge them for that [laughs]. But I think, in general, it’s nice to have a show where people are focused and listening and generally they are the non-festival ones.

CM: Are you constantly writing? Do you practice the piano? Are you constantly thinking about the next project even while you’re touring this record or how does that work?

JH: Yes, I think about it. I have trouble writing on tour. I have to have, like, a calm atmosphere but I can get ideas and concepts and stuff while we’re in a van for hours, and I can think of something. It’s been a bit tricky right now. I am writing this piece for the L.A. Philharmonic – due in like a month – and I’m going on tour in a week and it’s like really rough because I haven’t had a lot of time to think about it. It turns out that it takes a long time to do promotion for your record. It takes a lot of work. I’ve basically curated my record in all ways, from the artwork to the ways it’s being promoted and everything. I’m basically micro-managing everything, which is cool that Domino are letting me do that and that’s why I love that label, but it’s also a lot of work. It’s funny how much doing interviews and doing all this promotion actually takes time. It’s really scary, so we’ll see. I’m writing right now in my off-time from tour and I hope it’s going to be okay because I grew up thinking the L.A. Philharmonic is like a dream. We’ll see how it turns out.

CM: When is that going to be premiered?

JH: That’s on December 3rd I think.

CM: Well, good luck with that.

JH: Thanks.

CM: I’m sure it will be incredible. Thank you so much for taking the time, I love chatting with musicians, it’s so fascinating. I appreciate it a lot.

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Cillian Murphy stars in ‘Peaky Blinders’, the new gangster drama (see preview clips here and hereset in 1920’s Birmingham, the six-part series debuts this Thursday 12th September on BBC Two. 

‘Loud City Song’ is out now on Domino. Julia Holter will tour the US this September and Europe this October and November. For full dates click here

http://juliashammasholter.com
http://www.dominorecordco.com

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To follow Fractured Air, you can do so on Facebook here, and on Twitter here.

Special thanks to Julia, Cillian, Robin and Colleen. 

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Written by admin

September 10, 2013 at 10:57 am