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Mixtape: Fractured Air – “Everything Unfolds” – September 2018

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Our September mix opens with the utterly captivating new single “I Shall Love 2” from the peerless Los Angeles-based composer and songwriter Julia Holter. “That is all, that is all / There is nothing else” softly whispers Holter, beneath hushed silence before a cinematic synth back drop melds effortlessly with her majestic harmonies. The shape-shifting ballad continually builds with intricate layers of strings, percussion and double bass, forming a wholly shape shifting song cycle of stunning beauty. Her latest sonic creation journeys through astral planes – filled with hope and undying strength – in a search for inner peace and purpose amidst a world of chaos. “I Shall Love 2” somehow encapsulates one’s dreams inside one pulsating, vital heartbeat. The gifted composer’s fifth studio album ‘Aviary’ is released via Domino on 25th October 2018 alongside a European and U.S. tour.

Elsewhere, September’s mixtape features new releases from: legendary Minnesota trio Low; techno bliss courtesy of Djrum (R&S Records); Brendon Anderegg’s solo synthesizer explorations (Thrill Jockey’s “June” LP); the beautifully compiled Ivor Raymonde retrospective “Paradise – The Sound of Ivor Raymonde” (including his timeless arrangements for The Walker Brothers, Bill Fury, Dusty Springfield and many more); more essential re-issues via the Belgian imprint Stroom (Patrick Sellinger’s new wave/electronic opus “Businessmen” marking the label’s latest release); Carrie Cleveland’s soul treasure “Looking Up” LP (in a glorious expanded edition via London’s Kalita Records) and a gorgeous document of Sudan’s rich musical heritage on Ostinato’s new release “Two Niles To Sing A Melody: The Violins & Synths of Sudan”.  September’s mixtape also includes new soundtracks from Mogwai’s “KIN” score and the sorely missed Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s “Mandy” original score.


Fractured Air – “Everything Unfolds” – September 2018

01. Julia Holter“I Shall Love 2” (Domino)
02. The Majority“Wait by the Fire” (Bella Union)
03. Ennio Morricone“The Sundown” (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly OST, United Artists)
04. Silver Jews“We Are Real” (Drag City)
05. WHY?“Good Friday” (Boards of Canada Remix) (Joyful Noise Recordings)
06. Carrie Cleveland“Love Will Set You Free” (Kalita Records)
07. Virginia Wing“Relativity” (Fire)
08. Jóhann Jóhannsson“Children of the New Dawn” (‘Mandy’ OST, Invada/Lakeshore)
09. Mogwai“We’re Not Done” (End Title) (KIN OST, Rock Action/Temporary Residence)
10. Jonny Greenwood“Sandy’s Necklace” (You Were Never Really Here OST, Invada/Lakeshore)
11. Kamal Tarbas“Forget Those That Divide Us” (Ostinato)
12. Ahmed Malek“Tape 19. 11” (Habibi Funk)
13. Djrum“Blue Violet” (R&S)
14. Curve“Falling Free” (Aphex Twin Mix) (Warp)
15. Patrick Selinger“Businessmen” (Original) (Stroom)
16. Helena Hauff“Qualm” (Ninja Tune)
17. The Space Lady“Across The Universe” (Bongo Joe Records)
18. Rachel’s“4 or 5 Trees” (Quarterstick Records)
19. Casino Versus Japan“Sunset Wake” (Self-Released)
20. Brendon Anderegg“June” (excerpt) (Thrill Jockey)
21. June11“Memories” (Stroom)
22. Low“Quorum” (Sub Pop)
23. Oneohtrix Point Never“Toys 2” (Warp)
24. The Gentle People“Journey” (Aphex Twin Care Mix) (Warp)

Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E1| January mix

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We’re delighted to present the first in a new series of monthly mixes made for Paris-based music website La Blogothèque. Over the last six years, La Blogothèque has been a source of much inspiration, not least in how they showcase (and share) their true passion for music. While each mix will be published on La Blogothèque’s website, we will also post the mixes on our own Mixcloud Page. While we had made the decision to stop Fractured Air last November, the opportunity that presented itself with contributing for La Blogothèque gave us reason to resume – in the capacity of contributing mixes – for the coming months. We hope you enjoy them.



Fractured Air x Blogothèque – S1E1| January mix

To Read/listen on La Blogothèque:



01. fLako ‘The Opening / Purple Trees’ [Five Easy Pieces]
02. Ennio Morricone ‘La Musica Prima del Massacro’ [The Hateful Eight OST, Decca/Third Man]
03. Mogwai ‘Hungry Face’ [Les Revenants OST, Rock Action]
04. David Bowie ‘Warszawa’ [RCA Victor]
05. Eduard Artemiev ‘Listen to Bach (The Earth)’ [Solaris OST, Superior Viaduct]
06. Brian Eno ‘Some of Them Are Old’ [Island]
07. Lucrecia Dalt ‘FLOTO’ [Care Of Editions]
08. WRY MYRRH ‘TWO’ [Soundcloud]
09. Nicolas Jaar ‘Fight’ [R&S]
10. Mick Jenkins ‘Alchemy’ [Cinematic Music Group]
11. Four Tet ‘Evening Side’ (excerpt) [Text]
12. Rocketnumbernine ‘Two Ways’ [Border Community]
13. Animal Collective ‘FloriDada’ [Domino]
14. Tortoise ‘Gesceap’ [Thrill Jockey]
15. The Space Lady ‘Major Tom’ [NightSchool]
16. Molly Nilsson ‘Tomorrow’ [Dark Skies Association, NightSchool]
17. Charlie Cocksedge ‘Corrour’ (excerpt) [Soundcloud]
18. Linda Scott ‘I’ve Told Every Little Star’ [Mulholland Drive OST, Milan]
19. Jonny Greenwood ‘The Golden Fang’ [Inherent Vice OST, Nonesuch]
20. Scott Walker ‘Duchess’ [Philips]
21. Tindersticks ‘Hey Lucinda’ [City Slang, Lucky Dog Recordings]

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


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.



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. 


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




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




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).


– 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





Colleen by Iker Spozio - CE  769 CILE 4 copy_crop

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.


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






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.


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

happy holidays nyc_2014

“Happy Holidays NYC, 2014”




‘Character’ is available now on The Leaf Label.




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. 


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



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 HERE.




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.


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




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.


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




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




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).


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.




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’.


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.


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:

‘Under the Skin’
‘Only lovers left alive’
‘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




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




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. 


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):

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 (
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 – (you can catch me and Naomi Yang and my mom on this news show, haha).


—Mary Lattimore




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





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.


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.


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.


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
Do Make Say Think
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




‘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).




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. 


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



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.





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’.


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






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.


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.


—Brigid Power-Ryce




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



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.





Mixtape: Flashlight Seasons [A Fractured Air Mix]

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Flashlight Seasons [A Fractured Air Mix]

To listen on Mixcloud:


01. Washington Phillips ‘What Are They Doing In Heaven Today?’ [JSP]
02. The Dead Texan ‘A Chronicle of Early Failures, Pt. 1’ [Kranky]
03. Sparklehorse ‘Box Of Stars (Part Two)’ [Parlophone]
04. Sun Kil Moon ‘Jim Wise’ [Caldo Verde]
05. Young Marble Giants ‘The Taxi’ [Rough Trade]
06. The Space Lady ‘Major Tom’ [NightSchool]
07. Rodion G.A. ‘Zephyr’ [Strut]
08. Panda Bear ‘Mr Noah’ [Paw Tracks]
09. Clark ‘Herzog’ [Warp]
10. clipping ‘Work Work’ (Featuring Cocc Pistol Cree) [Sub Pop]
11. Clap! Clap! ‘Sailing in the Seas of Wood’ [Black Acre]
12. Francis Bebey ‘Akwaaba’ [Original Music]
13. The Boats ‘And There Are Stars That Fell From The Sky’ [Moteer]
14. Gravenhurst ‘The Diver’ [Warp]
15. The Gentleman Losers ‘Pebble Beach’ [City Centre Offices]
16. Bernard Herrmann ‘Thank God for the Rain’ [‘Taxi Driver’ OST/Arista]
17. Etta James ‘My Heart Cries’ [Chess]
18. Bob Dylan ‘I Threw It All Away’ [Columbia]


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. The universe is making music all the time.

Mixcloud / Facebook / Twitter


Chosen One: The Space Lady

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Interview with Susan Schneider, The Space Lady. 

“Now I inhabit the role of The Space Lady more enthusiastically than ever, and with more intentionality – that is, to inspire people toward self-expression, love, peace, and harmony here on our very fragile planet.”

—Susan Schneider

Words: Mark Carry, Illustration: Craig Carry


The Space Lady (AKA U.S. artist Susan Schneider) is a street-performing singer based in Colorado, USA. Originally beginning on the streets of San Francisco in the late 70’s, she has recently begun playing again. Last November, London-based Nightschool Records released a retrospective of The Space Lady’s utterly transcendent synth-pop creations featuring resolutely unique cover songs (Peter Schilling’s ‘Major Tom’, ‘I Had Too Much To Dream (Last Night)’ by The Electric Prunes and ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’, Steppenwolf’s ‘Born To Be Wild’, The Sweet’s ‘Ballroom Blitz’ to name but a few) and her own stellar and singular electronic pop explorations composed by her ex-husband Joel Dunsany (‘Humdinger’, ‘Synthesize Me’). In the words of Nightschool Records, “This music has transcended genre, style and fashion, opening up hearts and minds along the way”. Having appeared on mixes by Erol Alkan and John Maus, The Space Lady’s music belongs to the here and now, where a lovely parallel exists between Schneider and the contemporary avant-pop movement of such artists as Julia Holter, John Maus and Maria Minerva.
The Space Lady began her odyssey on the streets of San Francisco in the late 70’s, playing versions of contemporary pop music on accordion and dressed flamboyantly (her winged helmet and blinking lights epitomizes the futuristic and ethereal sounds), transmitting messages of peace and harmony. Following the theft of her accordion, The Space Lady invested in a then-new Casio keyboard, birthing an otherworldly new dimension to popular song that has captured the imaginations of the underground and its lead exponents ever since with the likes of John Maus, Erol Alkan and Kutmah being devotees.

“At night I would sit down at the kitchen table, listen to a song on our boom box, and scrawl out the lyrics and chords as best as I could make them out. Then the next morning I would work out arrangements on the subway platform, trying hard to recall what the song sounded like the night before. People began telling me how “different” and “original” my interpretations were, when I was actually trying my best to recreate what the original artists had done. At any rate, I instinctively knew to keep my arrangements simple and slightly unorthodox”.

‘The Greatest Hits’ compilation marks a special document of The Space Lady’s near-mythical, storied career. The recordings capture the luminary’s legendary busking performances on the streets of San Francisco — dated back to 1990 — after recording a new album in a friend’s home studio. Over the course of the following years, ‘Live In Francisco’ became a treasured bootleg for the internet generation of music obsessives, and countless fan-mail, addressed to the creator of this other-worldly, cosmic music, would be always be a stone throw’s away.
This Spring, The Space Lady will be embarking on her first ever tour of venues. The tour begins in Bellingham USA before heading to much of the Pacific Northwest, touching down in California and then visiting the UK and Ireland. The Space Lady performs her highly anticipated debut Irish shows this April when she performs on Saturday 12th April at the Triskel Arts Centre, Cork.


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

Listen to The Greatest Hits HERE.
The Space Lady Facebook Page HERE.


Congratulations, Susan, on the release of your truly astounding ‘Greatest Hits’ compilation. This particular set of songs has introduced me to your utterly transcendent and otherworldly sonic creations, and feel very grateful to have (eventually) come across your music.

SS: Thank you, Mark!

First of all what strikes me about your music is just how original and way ahead of its time the songs are. Forgive the generalness of my question but can you please discuss the sources of inspiration that filtered into your creative mind to produce such timeless music?

SS: Although I came from a strictly classical music-oriented family, we would sing folk songs around the piano after dinner. By my early teens, I began to rebel enough to embrace some popular music, like The Kingston Trio, Roy Orbison, and Del Shannon. By the time I left high school I was immersing myself in Bob Dylan, Simon & Garfunkel, the Beatles, and the budding hippie culture and its music, which was far outside the box of my parents’ approval. Going to San Francisco in 1967 and experiencing psychedelia first hand sealed my musical fate. I was instantly hooked by the Doors, the Byrds, the Yardbirds, Donovan, Jefferson Airplane, the Mamas & the Papas, and all the rest. By 1970 I had hooked up with my future partner, Joel, who introduced me to the serious British Prog Rockers, like Pink Floyd, The Who, ELO, ELP, Led Zeppelin, Fleetwood Mac, among others, an experience that shook me to my core. I couldn’t believe my ears, or that such powerful, intense, futuristic, and beautiful music could possible be made by human beings, and that terrified me. Where had I been?!!

As to my own music as it evolved on the street, I would say it started with a combination of alienation and desperation. Joel and I had gotten stranded in relatively conservative Boston, where I eked out a subsistence by selling our art work on the street. So we were hungry and insecure, especially after having our first baby, which is when I picked up the accordion and tried my luck down in Park Street Station. Even after going electronic a few years later, my music reflected an unschooled, do-it-yourself sparseness – which I didn’t realize would develop into a unique quality of The Space Lady’s sound, as I interpreted some of the outstanding songs of our time.

And I can’t overestimate the influence my fans had on me with their support and appreciation. That encouragement really brought me out of my shell and gave me a sense of belonging to the various counter-cultures I admired: the hippies, the punks, the New Wave movement, the Outsiders, and the gay community, not to mention the homeless street people, for whom I had a special empathy. Even being dubbed “The Space Lady” was a terrific and unexpected acknowledgement. All those factors helped my music soar to greater and greater heights.


Before we go back to your beautiful background to music and playing, can you please take me back to 2012. This was the year you began playing your unique blend of utterly compelling pop music on the streets of Colorado. Having performed on the streets of Boston back in the late 70’s, how did the experience change this time around?

SS: First of all, it was such a joy to be playing again after so many years. Except for a year-long stint on electric guitar, I had quit performing electronically after my cassette was recorded in 1990, and had gone back to playing accordion and singing. It was a huge surprise to me that I could even remember many of my old songs, and quickly brush up on the ones I had forgotten. During my long hiatus I can’t tell you how many nightmares I had about being all set up somewhere on a street corner, and not remembering what to do next…or even worse, suddenly realizing I had left all my equipment behind after getting on a bus! Returning to my music, after the drudgery of a 7-year stint at nursing – well, talk about a new lease on life! I am also excited about adding new songs to my repertoire, especially songs with a peace message. Now I inhabit the role of The Space Lady more enthusiastically than ever, and with more intentionality – that is, to inspire people toward self-expression, love, peace, and harmony here on our very fragile planet.


I was interested to read you wound up in New Mexico by 2013. It’s a beautiful image of travel and music as there is this sense of adventure and freedom forever inherent in your songs. I can imagine the spontaneity of such an act of live performance in this way, and the sense of recognition and connecting with people must be filled with such fulfilling moments for you? Have you had special highlights of your time spent in New Mexico and Colorado?

SS: Absolutely, in New Mexico especially! Being paid in advance to play on the street at the UFO Festival in Roswell was really cool! And from that I got national exposure playing “Across the Universe” on the Weather Channel here in the U.S. One of the first times I played on the Santa Fe Plaza I was surrounded by a crowd of people, one of whom was the well-known DJ, Travis Perkin, who then invited me to appear on his radio show on KUNM in Albuquerque. That was another big breakthrough into the New Mexico audience. Everywhere I’ve gone there have been passersby who stop and exclaim, “I remember you from San Francisco! I wondered where you’ve been!” More recently, and again on the Santa Fe Plaza, a young woman excitedly reported to me that she works in a NYC record shop, and they got my LP in just before she left. She said, “We love it! We play it all the time!” and she was astounded to happen upon me playing live as she travelled across country to California. Then another day in Santa Fe I was playing a song I had written years ago about a Native American hero named Kientapusch / Captain Jack, thinking no one was listening…which was good, because that was the first time I had played it in public. But as I finished the song, a stooped-over, bedraggled looking man approached me from behind, walked around to my tip box, dropped a piece of quartz crystal into it, and then stood up straight, revealing himself to be an Indian. Before he turned to go, he made a fist and slammed it over his heart, which I took to be a strong validation.


Can you please take me back to your upbringing in Colorado. I can imagine you must have come from a musical family? I was interested to read your mother taught you piano from a young age. Was this instrument the first encounter you had with playing music, Susan? I imagine the rural landscapes and peacefulness must have provided you with a nice sense of freedom and openness.

SS: Yes, my parents were classically trained musicians, my mother playing piano and my father viola. I started piano lessons at around 6, then chose to play flute in the school band at around 12. And you are quite right about the rural landscapes and peacefulness of the Colorado prairie grasslands, where I grew up, some 200 miles from the Rocky Mountains most people associate with Colorado. Probably like growing up near the ocean, those vast expanses give one a sense of proportion, a humbling grasp of our tiny place in the Universe. Then at night, the clear atmosphere provides for a view of the stars like no other. I spent many a summer night looking for falling stars, or the thrilling sight of Sputnik’s steady path across the sky.


The inception of The Space Lady I feel may have taken place during this wonderful time where you began hitch-hiking and commune-living, eventually ending up in Haight-Ashbury. Shortly afterwards, you met a hippie named Joel and the rest, as they say, is history. Can you please recount for me your cherished memories of this period in your life? 

SS: My early years as a hitch-hiking, commune-living hippie were anything but a happy, free-wheeling time for me, as I was experiencing severe culture shock, having left my tiny redneck hometown in arrogant disgust, only to find myself adrift in a sea of other meandering young people trying to get a foothold in a scary world, aggravated by the by the confusing effects of the psychedelics we were all taking. I could easily have become an “acid casualty”, as did many others, like the late Syd Barrett, for instance. By the time Joel took me under his wing, I was so frightened and withdrawn I would barely talk. I hid behind him and let him speak for me, even when I secretly disagreed. That was the price I thought I had to pay for a little security. So what may look romantic and inspiring to you now from the outside and years later, was really pretty much nightmare, especially in light of the blossoming women’s movement of the times, which was having little or no influence on me.


The path you both subsequently ventured down is such an inspiring and enlightening story. It’s hardly surprising that a similar enlightenment is clearly evident in your songs. Your determination and self-belief to “make a musical statement for peace through Joel’s performance art” (quoting your beautifully written liner-notes) is utterly inspiring. This period was still “Pre-Space Lady” and perhaps served the pre-cursor to The Space Lady. I would love for you to discuss life in Boston in the late 70’s? I was touched to read that it was Joel’s collages of various National Geographic cuttings and your ink drawings that provided you with income. I would love to learn more about these particular ink drawings?

SS: Yes, we were both idealists and determined to make it “doing our own thing”, without compromising, which was challenging, while simultaneously hiding out because of the draft. But thanks to our gnawing hunger and growing malnutrition, I found the wherewithal to utter the words “Spare some change?” and panhandle for food, and that evolved into additionally selling Joel’s collages and my pen-and-ink drawings as I went along collecting donations. Most of the people I approached remained aloof and simply ignored my requests, and a few were downright hostile. But many were kind and charitable, sometimes stopping long enough to look at my wares buy one or two. I gained confidence as a result of those gentle, empathetic folk, and Joel and I finally began to eat regularly again. As we gained in strength and confidence Joel began to produce little art and poetry booklets for me to xerox, bind, and sell. One of those books and a few of those artworks still survive.


You first started busking in Park Street Station, playing some simple tunes on the accordion, as passers-by commuted in and out of work. Was it scary to do this and expose yourself in this way? I can imagine it must have felt daunting at first, particularly those first hours and days? What were the songs you would play first? I would think you must have learned so much during this time, and served your musical education is some respects. What was your repertoire during this time?

SS: I love your questions! Yes, it was a little scary to embark on a busking career without even knowing how to play an accordion, and Joel was skeptical about this new direction. But our baby, Chrissy, was growing fast, and my artwork sales had dwindled to nothing during the cold winter of 1979. People were hard pressed to stop on the street to look at my wares, and I had resorted to simply panhandling again, which I found humiliating after seven years of it. So I was excited and very eager to do something else. The first day I chose to set up at the top of a long staircase leading down into the Park Street subway, where people rushed past without hearing too much of my struggle to play even a simple tune like “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” for the Red Sox fans, and “When Irish Eyes Are Smiling” for Boston’s many descendants of Emerald Isle immigrants. In fact, it was just before St. Patrick’s Day in March, I remember. What I learned, to my amazement, was that by doing this I no longer had to approach people for money, they approached me, with money in hand! That first day I made $20 in change, plus a $20 bill from an elderly couple who wished me well. I was thrilled beyond words, and Joel quickly gave up his skepticism about this new direction I was taking.



A little later, you began to sing as well as play, adding mic, reverb, and battery-powered amp to your act. I would love for you to go into the technical set-up of your act and how you effectively incorporated your voice into the music? Your voice blends so effortlessly into the beautiful blend of delicate synths, creating an ethereal dimension to get wonderfully lost in. 

SS: By the next summer I was playing proficiently enough and enjoying it immensely, and would occasionally break into song with sheer delight, although my soft voice was barely audible over the loud accordion. Then I discovered a pedestrian tunnel near the farmers market in the Italian section (The North End) of Boston, where my voice was amplified, and slightly echoed. I made great money there every Saturday, and on Columbus Day weekend I raked in enough to buy a little Mouse amplifier and a headset mic. A week or so later, Joel – being knowledgeable about effects pedals – decided I should have a little more presence for my voice when I wasn’t playing in the tunnel, and we spent another $40 on a Radio Shack reverb unit. At that point I started adding some mild rock songs to my folk repertoire, like “Palisade Park,” “Summer Breeze,” “Runaway,” and “Downtown.” But my greatest accomplishment by far for those days was working out a rendition of “Mr. Kite,” complete with the chromatic runs of the calliope.


‘Major Tom’ is one of my current favourites. The lyrics reflect the power of your deeply affecting and visionary pop music. The lyric “floating weightless” epitomises the sheer magic of The Space Lady. I would love for you to focus on the cover versions of your songs. You have the ability to make these songs your own (‘Major Tom’, ‘Ghost Riders In The Sky’, ‘Fly Like An Eagle’, ‘Born To Be Wild’) and it’s this aesthetic and dimension within these worlds of song that is truly remarkable. How did you go about making these songs your own, Susan? Was it a spontaneous process? Were a lot of records at home for you to discover songs to interpret as The Space Lady? 

SS: When I started bringing home a more reliable income with my music, Joel began scouring the thrift stores and used record stores for the music we could never afford before. He also spent hours at home with the baby, listening to rock music on the radio and would sometimes record songs off the air. He specialized in making compilation cassettes of his favorite songs, which we would listen to as we biked all over town, with the tape player strapped onto the crossbar of his bike. At night I would sit at the kitchen table and focus on one song, usually of Joel’s choosing, scribbling down lyrics and chords as best as I could make out, and work out an arrangement the next day down on the subway platform.

As I began to get lots of attention and make good money, Joel was inspired to write his own songs for me, and thus were born “Humdinger,” “Synthesize Me,” “Slapback Boomerang” and “From the Womb to the Tomb” (for our second child, Huck). I wasn’t wearing the winged helmet yet, but had a blinking plastic daisy in my hair. When I finally mustered up the courage to don the helmet, the response was phenomenal, and we began seeking out outer-space and super-natural themes in the songs I did, most notably, Peter Schilling’s “Major Tom.” That song is a masterpiece of style, lyric, and melody, and lends itself perfectly to TSL’s sound and message. In fact I call it my signature song, and it literally stops people in their tracks like no other. I never tire of playing it, or listening to the original version, for that matter. (TSL tips her helmet to you, Pierre!)

I sometimes jokingly dedicate “Ghost Riders in the Sky” to Major Tom. I had a fantastic time developing my interpretation of that song, one of my all-time favorite songs since hearing it on the radio at about 12 years old. Joel had found a great version of it on an LP by Dennis Lynde, and I immediately decided to reinterpret it my own way. I had just bought a used bass amp (a Moose, the counterpart to the Mouse I already had) and couldn’t wait to try it out. I chose to set up on the Blue Line, a subway station with particularly good acoustics, and to my delight, the Casio drums echoed off the walls in thrillingly deep booms. I experimented with getting a rhythm that sounded like hoof beats, and when I found it I truly felt like I was galloping along on a mighty steed! The melody simply fell into place after that, and not long afterward I realized how the theme from the Clint Eastwood’s TV show “Rawhide” fit perfectly with the minor key and rapid beat of “Ghost Riders,” so I added an intro and ending using that melody. A few days later I realized I could make the sound of a revving motorcycle using a speeded up drum roll, and so the intro to “Born to Be Wild” emerged.


The songs written by Joel Dunsany are equally as mind-blowing. I would love to gain an insight into the creative process and close musical telepathy that must have existed so prominently between you both? Was it a case of Joel writing the lyrics at home, and you playing some melodies on top? 

SS: Yes, Joel and I had very similar taste in music, and he introduced me to so many artists and bands I might never have discovered on my own. He was an avid reader of Melody Maker and NME, and I would be sure to pick up the latest issues for him at the Harvard Square Kiosk on my way home from Cambridge. I’ll never forget seeing a photo of a budding British rock star in one of those issues, and marveling at how beautifully androgynous he looked, something as yet unheard of in the U.S. It was David Bowie. At any rate, Joel was voracious to hear new musicians, and when he came across bands he loved, he always shared his discoveries with me, and then he would get busy writing songs of his own on his Les Paul copy. That necessitated him “consulting the muse” – meaning he would smoke joint after joint of pot, or bowl after bowl of hash, or super-joints spiked with a layer of hash oil smeared onto the ZigZag rolling paper. He had a circle of friends who lived nearby, or in our apartment building, who were more than happy to partake with him. I had stopped smoking dope during my panhandling years, finding it only added to my fear of people and strange circumstances, and certainly didn’t smoke during my pregnancies, but I begrudgingly supported his habit financially. When he was home alone, he would get really stoked and compose songs on his acoustic guitar, then sing them to me when I got home. I would take the lyrics and chords with me downtown the next day and do my best to arrange them on my Casio as close to his intentions as possible. Admittedly, he sometimes would say, “I barely recognize my song done your way!” But he always seemed to approve anyway.


My favourite of these songs is ‘Synthesize Me’. Can you take me back to writing and recording this song? I can’t believe how contemporary the beats and synth melodies sound as I listen to the song today. It really does belong to this new generation of music where the likes of Julia Holter, Ariel Pink and so on, create a similarly affecting blend of shimmering music. 

SS: Thank you! It’s so amazing and such an honor to be included in the new generation of avant-garde artists and appreciated by their fans.


After a very successful busking period during the Christmas season, you were able to afford the $200 priced Casio keyboard. Was this another turning point for you, Susan? Having played the accordion up to that point, I can imagine the new instrument offered up a whole new world of possibilities? You must have felt a natural (and rapid) artistic progression from this moment onwards?

SS: To be sure! People’s heads were suddenly turning, after having defined me as street urchin, then an accordion playing folkie. Although I was at a loss as to how to use all the buttons and knobs on the Casio, I think my palpable insecurity garnered me both respect and support from people who empathized with my struggle. Their comments and contributions gave me a brand new self-respect as a recognized artist. So I tried all the harder to please my audience, and come up with unique interpretations of songs I thought they would like too.


Please talk a bit about the near-mythical crazy winged helmet. It really does symbolize the uniqueness of your music. 

SS: Joel and I found the winged helmet in a costume shop shortly after we met in 1970. At the time he was doing acrylic paintings on plywood and enhancing them with twinkling bulbs poking through holes he drilled into the board. So he naturally thought about illuminating the helmet with one of those bulbs, and sure enough, it fit right into the red vinyl ball on top. We were living in an art studio complex in an old, partially renovated salami factory on the backside of Telegraph Hill beneath Coit Tower, where several other painters, sculptors, film makers worked, and Joel would parade around everyone’s studios with the helmet blinking away on his head. When we left society and fled to Mt. Shasta, he turned to music, and wore the helmet as he played his guitar through an Echoplex, calling himself The Cosmic Man. We took it from Mt. Shasta to Alaska as we tried to escape society even further, then to Boston in 1972, where he planned to play for the college crowd. But he lost heart there, and reverted back to doing artwork instead. It wasn’t until 1983 that he suggested I wear it as a prop for my new Casio act, and I reluctantly did…“but just this once,” I swore. Well, it turned out to be such a hit, and got so many laughs and comments, the rest is history, as you said.


In time, you saved up enough money to leave Boston, and arrived shortly in San Francisco. What were your memories of playing in San Francsico and indeed living in this city? What were your favourite venues/places to play?

SS: Well, the very first day I set out to play downtown on Powell and Market, where the cable cars turn around and attract lots of tourists, someone in a car driving by leaned out the window and yelled, “BOSTON!!!” I was floored. But no one else recognized me, and precious few seemed to understand my music or what the heck I was doing with that “blinkin’ helmet” on my head.

I tried my luck playing on Fisherman’s Wharf, which wasn’t much better. There were lots of popular street acts there, like black boys break dancing, and they never failed to draw big crowds and lots of money. There were young Mexican men making amazing spray paintings, Chinese portrait artists, “frozen statues,” small rock bands, blues guitarists, jazz saxophonists, and a memorable baritone opera singer who occasionally stopped in mid-aria to exclaim in a high falsetto, “Oh no! I’m losing my power…please help!” as he passed his hat. There was a guy in a van displaying “Charlie the Dancing Chicken” through a cut-away window in the side of the van, behind which a trained rooster would pull a string that turned on a spotlight and rock ‘n roll music, prompting him to high-step and twirl around a small stage. There was Grimes, “The Automatic Human Juke Box” – a master trumpeter who played requests through a small window in a tall cardboard box whenever someone inserted a coin in a slot. All of these acts seemed to get lots of attention, and I got some attention too – rarely a crowd of more than 3-4 – but occasionally someone would say something complimentary about my music (usually in a European accent, I noticed), which was like a message from above to keep going. Once on the wharf a man dropped a $100 bill in my box, without otherwise saying a word. So I kept at it. But it was certainly a struggle to make enough for rent for our North Beach hotel room, plus food, and the 17 batteries I needed for my equipment and lights.

Then one night as I was returning to the hotel in a cab – after the buses had stopped for the day – the driver suggested I try Castro Street, the famous gay Mecca that I knew nothing about at the time. I went there the next day, and the tide forever turned! I had never been so appreciated and supported in my career – not even close. I was subsequently asked to play for parties, gallery openings, small clubs, and was even featured on the news. Other TV or radio gigs I had to refuse, because Joel and I were still walking a thin line between making a splash artistically and continuing to fly beneath the radar. So for the most part, I stuck to the street, venturing from the Castro District, to the Haight-Ashbury District, to the Mission District, to Noe Valley, where I was much better appreciated and supported than in the tourist areas.

Our family of four were temporarily taken in by loving art-supporters in San Francisco and Berkeley over the next few years, until we finally landed a small basement apartment on Buchanan Street in the Haight-Fillmore District. We lived there for free, thanks to a benevolent landlord, staying there for about five years, and it was there I gave birth to our third child, Daisy – secretly as far as the authorities were concerned (as was the case with our older two). But the place was little more than a squat, and the landlord finally had to ask us to leave so he could renovate and bring the place up to code. We lived out of our car for several months that spring, and I was really at my wit’s end for fear of Family Services taking the children away.

As the summer of 1992 arrived, we left San Francisco and traveled to Mt. Shasta, coming full circle back to where Joel & I had spent a winter in a cave during the height of the Vietnam War. This time around all five of us camped in a tent, and on weekends our young son, Huxley, and I commuted the 275 miles to the city to play accordion duets on the street, with the intention of making enough money to get a cheap rental house in Mt. Shasta, since it was getting too cold to continue camping.

Winter set in with a record-breaking blizzard that year (1993), so for the first time since Joel and I met, we surfaced, renewed our legal status, and declared our children, with no consequences. Then with the help of welfare, we got a little rental house 7 miles outside the nearby town of McCloud. To say we rented the house “sight unseen” would be no understatement – it was literally buried under 10’ snow drifts! But a house was a house, and a home was a home, something we were in dire need of. It was the first stability our children had known, and they agreed to be enrolled in public school, having not had that experience either. I continued to commute to the city, usually alone, and sometimes staying for several weeks at a time.

Later on, in 1998, I got a job in a water bottling plant in Dunsmuir, still driving to the city to play accordion in the BART stations on weekends. Electronic music wasn’t allowed in the subway stations. I enjoyed learning songs from the 40s during that time, and with the help of an excellent vocal coach who took an interest in me (Joe Williams, of Desarte Dance School fame), I expanded my vocal range and improved my tone.

But my weekend commute was hard on the family, and the water bottling job was mind-numbing. So by 2000, after our two older children had left home, I quit the job, gave up on my music, gave up on my marriage, and returned to Colorado with our younger daughter, to care for my aging parents.

Since the local community college offered a nursing degree, it made sense for me to get the degree, and I became an RN. I subsequently worked in a nursing home and at a boys ranch for disturbed adolescents until 2012. I loved the people I cared for during that time – but I don’t much love the nursing profession as it exists today.


I can imagine the sense of appreciation you must receive from strangers and passers-by as you are busking must be so deeply gratifying and fulfilling for you, on a personal and professional level. Can you discuss the feeling of those wonderful moments please, Susan? I know it must be hard to minimise into mere words.

SS: You are so right, I can’t say enough about people’s appreciation, and mere words can’t begin to describe what it has meant to me. So let me illustrate with these fairly recent developments in TSL’s career:

In 2008 I met Eric online, thanks to his having posted some of his music. He’s a superb singer/songwriter based in Santa Fe. We married the next year and together performed some of his music in a few coffee shops and churches around Colorado for the next couple years, with me accompanying him with my accordion, flute, and vocals.

By 2012 he began to get curious as to why I kept getting emails from around the world inquiring about The Space Lady. So he insisted I set up my gear and play for him. I still had my Casio, and borrowed his mic, but I had serious doubts as to whether I could remember a single song. Ghost Riders didn’t fail me however, and as I launched into it, Eric’s mouth fell open – talk about appreciation! Even after four years of knowing me, and three years of marriage, he said he had never seen me so self-expressed, and insisted I send out an email on the spot to my entire fan list, announcing The Space Lady’s return! I did so, but with great trepidation, fearing I couldn’t follow through after such a long hiatus.

But I’ve since retrieved from memory many of the songs I used to do, added many more (including some of Eric’s), begun to perform again all around the Southwest, including at the Roswell UFO Festival and the Santa Fe Plaza, performed live on radio and TV, signed a record deal with NightSchool, resulting in the release of my CD, LP, and single, been interviewed for several prestigious ‘zines, and I am now preparing to travel the world to meet my fans where they live! Can you imagine how this must feel to an artist who thought she had hung it all up for good?!? And all this the result of one man’s appreciation – as well as his insistence, encouragement, and managerial expertise. Credit where credit is due!!!


‘The Greatest Hits’ was recently released on the wonderful Nightschool Records. It’s lovely to think how new generations of fans will discover your music. This sense of artistic recognition and critical acclaim must be very nice to receive all these years later, Susan. I think it’s beautiful to feel that your musical statement to spread peace, harmony and love radiates as powerfully today as it ever did before. Congratulations once again on this special (and significant) release, Susan and I hope to see you in concert later this Spring. 

SS: You’re welcome…and thank you, Mark…thank YOU!


The Space Lady performs at the T.D.C., Triskel Arts Centre, Cork, on Saturday 12 April. Doors: 8pm, Tickets are €10/€8, available from Plugd Records. To see all of The Space Lady’s world tour dates, see HERE.


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

Listen to The Greatest Hits HERE.
The Space Lady Facebook Page HERE.


Very special thanks to Susan, Eric and Michael for their kindness, time and warmth.



Written by admin

March 21, 2014 at 11:38 am