So We Sing Into the Snow

Between 2007-2012, I made music under the name Orphanspace.
You can listen to (and download) the recordings for free here.

Practicing, a diary entry, my lap dulcimer, building a piezo mic, and part of a poster I made on the fly while touring. 

It was a sort of prairie-death-folk-noise project (for lack of a less obnoxious genre description) and I wrote, sang, and recorded all of the songs myself, using an Appalachian dulcimer (or lap dulcimer), as well as making electronic soundscapes of sorts for background noise, mostly using field recordings and Cubase.

Recording in 2008 in Seattle. Hand-stenciled CD sleeves made with dumpstered Filson, paired with my zine made with a half-functioning copy machine that was abandoned in the street and which I kept in my apartment until it completely broke down and started humming all the time. 

In 2009, I toured the U.S. for four months, playing shows on both coasts. I planned, booked, and promoted the tour myself, with stops to work at WWOOF sites in upstate New York and Pennsylvania.
My live shows were decidedly stripped down compared to the electronics included in the recordings. It was just me, the dulcimer, and some reverb. Since my outlook was quite apocalyptic and ascetic at the time, this extended to my musical practice.  Simply put: it was very important to me that if the electricity went out, the show could go on.

I also performed versions of my own songs in which I used a bow on the dulcimer instead of strumming or plucking, as well as covers of old folk songs such as Down in the Willow Garden, but never recorded any of these. You can hear Nick Cave sing his version of The Willow Garden here. My version, however, ended with Rose dragging James into the river with her, naturally.

Sleeve for my final recording, including “Skoptsy” and “The Frozen Sea.” Stills from a music video/art performance project for “Stay in the Bed.” 

The tour was my first time performing in front of others, which I always hated. The crowds were cool and I loved to travel, had no problem practicing, did a good job and wanted to share, but I just hate performing, I hate promoting, the whole music world was not for me, and I knew I didn’t want to be a musician in the long-term.

Long story short, eventually I was approached with the offer of a not-too-shabby record deal, but my inner Steve Albini prevailed (regardless of his updates on the topic, to which I reply with this link). Sometimes I toy with the idea of recording and releasing more work to share here, but I can’t imagine taking the time to do that when I could be painting or studying. So unless some spark comes along that can’t possibly be expressed except through song, I’m glad to put Orphanspace on the shelf.

Some notes on the songs themselves:
– “Skoptsy” is a song about a bizarre post-Protestant sect in Tsarist Russia who practiced castration and masectomy. Read more about the history of the Skoptsy here (NSFW). It is one of my personal favorites of my recordings, along with Dying Alone in the Woods. Everybody else seems to favor Butcherbird though.
– All songs were written and recorded before my return to the Catholic Church. As such, there are some songs with themes of cold deism, i.e., the idea of an apathetic and absent creator.

Albini, Steve. “The Problem With Music.” Negativworldwidewebland, Negativland. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.
“Appalachian dulcimer.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 7 Aug. 2017. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.
Burns, Matthew. “Appalachian Lifestyles.” In Search of Rose Conelly, 31 Mar. 2009. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.
Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds. “The Willow Garden.”
Orphanspace. “Orphanspace- Full Collection, 2007-2012.” All songs c. 2007-2012, ASCAP.
Resnikoff, Paul. “The 13 Most Insidious, Pervasive Lies of the Music Industry.” Digital Music News, 29 May 2017. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.
“Skoptsy.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 16 Aug. 2017. Web. 21 Aug. 2017.
Citing this page:
Solomon, Alana. “So We Sing Into the Snow.” Ortolana Studio. Ortolana Studio, 21 August 2017.

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