LEAH KARDOS

Stylo Orch news...

Since we couldn't gig or rehearse in person during most of 2020 and the beginning of 2021, the Stylophone Orchestra instead mounted a collaborative 'lockdown' project. The result, our debut album, will be released by Spun Out of Control records in late Autumn 2021.

I don't want to spoil any surprises, so I won't say much more. But here's a recent picture of the group. Such a great shot taken by Marcus Clackson in Visconti Studio back in May, looking every inch like my dream synth band.

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Coming soon: Blackstar Theory

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Ok it's been a while since I've updated this blog. In addition to generally trying to survive, and staggering through another very strange pandemic-altered academic year, I've also been busy working on this, my first book. It took many, many all-nighters, and has left me with a lingering laptop-related neck-and-shoulder injury. It's been a welcome distraction, and a real wild ride, I don't think I've worked so hard - in terms of energy, effort and care - on anything in my life. I'm desperate for people to read it, but also terrified at the thought of people reading it. Anyway, here's a blurb:

Blackstar Theory dives deep into Bowie's ambitious last works: the surprise ‘comeback’ project The Next Day (2013), the off-Broadway musical Lazarus (2015) and the album that preceded the artist’s death in 2016 by two days, (pronounced Blackstar). The book explores the swirl of themes that orbit these projects from a starting point in musical analysis and features new interviews with key collaborators from the period: producer Tony Visconti, graphic designer Jonathan Barnbrook, musical director Henry Hey, saxophonist Donny McCaslin and assistant sound engineer Erin Tonkon.

Together, these works tackle the biggest of ideas: identity, creativity, chaos, transience and immortality. Their themes entangle realities and fictions across space and time; a catalogue of sound, vision, music and myth spanning more than 50 years is subjected to the cut-up; we get to the end only to find signposts directing us back to the very start. They enact a process of individuation for the Bowie meta-persona and invite us to consider what happens when a star dies. In our universe, dying stars do not disappear - they transform into new stellar objects, remnants and gravitational forces. The radical potential of the Blackstar is demonstrated in the rock star supernova that creates a singularity resulting in cultural iconicity. It is how a man approaching his own death can create art that illuminates the immortal potential of all matter in the known universe.

Blackstar Theory: The Last Works of David Bowie will be out in January 2022 (e-pub in Dec 2021) and is now available to pre-order.
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2020 Dissolve

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Here's my 2020 mix for Juno Daily. New (and new to me) music that made me feel grateful to be alive on Earth this year. Feat. William Basinski, clipping., Arca, Xyla, Daisuke Tanabe, Tangents, Rob Maruek/Exploding Star Orchestra, Kassa Overall, Cassilda and Carcosa and more.

https://www.juno.co.uk/junodaily/2021/01/05/leah-kardos-kicks-off-juno-dailys-in-the-mix-series



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Malio Reprise

A gentle piano moment to ring in the new year. I hope everyone is safe and well.


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Wire Issue 443: One Thing That Got Me Through (2020)

I think this global pandemic could be my fault. Back in April I was burnt out and falling apart and I wished the world would stop and then a terrible miracle happened. The dissonance between the genuine horror at the unfolding situation and feeling such relief marked the first few months of my lockdown experience with profound thriver’s guilt. I’ve been one of the lucky ones who managed to keep their job throughout all of this. Penitence of the fortunate. And then I noticed the birds.

Money I would spend on nights out, ill-advised Ubers and manicures now pays for bird seed, fat balls and meal worms. A new daily structure. Every morning they’re out there on the roof, in the trees and hedges waiting for the day’s buffet. I’ve learned their songs and chirps, and I watched their chicks fledge and change feathers. After a few months I noticed many musician friends were similarly enraptured - new compositions and at-home productions based in bird song, discreet shotgun mics pointed at feeders. The feel-better hit of the summer, if there was any justice they should have given this year’s Ivors award to my local band of wood pigeons.

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