Choosing the playlist this week is Polish-born Glasgow-based polymath Ela Orleans who is currently on the SAY Award’s shortlist for her stunning album Circles Of Upper And Lower Hell. Inspired by Dante’s Inferno and the poetics of Arthur Rimbaud and Aleister Crowley, it’s an intensely atmospheric, dizzyingly accomplished work and a strong contender for the £20,000 top prize, to be announced at Paisley Town Hall on June 28.
Leonard Cohen: You Want It Darker
This is a proof that LC was the most consistently exemplary, perfect lyricist from the first to the last song. I am astonished by his dedication to the craft of songwriting. His voice is a stamp of a true genius.
U.S. Girls: Damn That Valley
I value Megan [Renny]’s work as she expresses most contemporary anxieties. She is the bravest modern songwriter – she does beautiful records without being cutesy. Also, I can’t detect any lie coming out of her mouth.
Dawn Penn: You Don’t Love Me (No, No, No)
The first song which I heard in the car picking me up from the Victoria Bus station, upon my first arrival from Poland to the UK in 1994. The more known remix was the hit of the 1990s. But the original is my personal immigrant anthem since then.
Roy Orbison: In Dreams
This may be the most beautiful song ever written, the one I wish I could cover, but I am too overwhelmed by its perfection. Everything about this recording is perfect and the only other one standing strong is next one.
The Beach Boys: God Only Knows
The genius arrangement makes me shiver whenever I hear it. There is the recording of the session made in 1966, I have listened to it many times and it is nonpareil work and the biggest inspiration for my own music writing and recording.
Adam And the Ants: Christian D’ior (via YouTube)
My DJ staple. Adam Ant is absolute performing God and it makes everybody’s stage moves look like shy nuns trying disco. The number one reason why I remain static on the stage is – I ain’t and never will be Adam Ant.
Patti Smith: Horses
This is the song I used to lip synch into the mirror and jump like a maniac when I was a kid. I think it gave me the idea how far my madness can take me. Patti Smith is the most powerful female singer of all times.
ESG: Tiny Sticks
This is such a cracking tune, I could listen to it whole day on repeat. I am not sure if it is possible to sit still and listen to it, ESG is the energy guru.
Brian Eno: I’ll Come Running
This song made me want to sing. I admire the way Eno makes his singing sound effortless and almost speech-like but also how his writing can be romantic without being sentimental.
White Noise: Your Hidden Dreams
The whole LP (Electric Storm) is the one I go back to on so many occasions. It transports me into musical terrain which is both melancholic and stunning two most comforting qualities of music.
Ela Orleans will perform at Glasgow’s Stereo with Cucina Povera Mark Vernon and Klaysstarr as part of sound art live event Inter#10 on July 20, 7.30pm, £7. Tickets here.
Carla Easton from fellow SAY Award shortlisters TeenCanteen chooses the music next week.