A dossier of illuminations and orientations relating to the work of Daniel O'Sullivan.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

The Colour Of Entropy (In Three Stages)

I have a new record coming out. A fourteen minute song made of three songs. One red, one blue, one yellow. Primary school. Featuring Dream Lion and Echo Collective alumni, this music was made in response to a ring. A series curated by Sleeperhold Publications of Antwerp. Artwork and etchings by Felicia Atkinson. Mastered by Matt Colton at Metropolis. This will not be available on digital platforms for the time being. Limited to 350 copies.

Pre-order and audio link HERE.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Ivy on the air

Ivy made this podcast for Soho Radio in 2018 (she was 7). Playing her favourite tunes by kids and adding some "fun facts, fun facts, fuuunnn faaaccctttsss". Talking about Jackson 5, The Shaggs, The Wouldbegoods, Shirley Temple, Langley Schools Music Project, Slint, etc. Plus she interviews The Honey Hahs in their native suburban Nunhead. Gawd bless her.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Musick For Ark Todd

Music originally issued on a limited edition cassette by Strange Attractor Press to accompany a book of drawings by my dear friend and incredible multi-disciplinary artist, Ian Johnstone. Now available digitally from my bandcamp page.

Swarming Shapes: Musick For Ark Todd
By Daniel O’Sullivan

A: The Levitating Moon Piece
B: Black Egg / Orpheus

I wrote several pieces of music for Ian’s ‘Ark Todd’ static levitation performance over the years. Each setting provoked a different approach. The collaboration with Ulver at the Norwegian Opera house in Oslo was well documented but this particular version, composed for the exhibition of his Stab Wounds at the Horse Hospital gallery in Bloomsbury, has been resting dormant until now.

The second piece was a commission for The Place Theatre, also in Bloomsbury. An unfinished piece of choreography with dancer and vocalist Francois Testory. Like all of Ian’s work, this was a singular vision probing the human condition and meticulously scratching for truth under every surface.

Born in Cumbria, September 2nd, 1967, year of the goat, raised by his loving parents Herbert and Muriel Johnstone. He graduated in fine art at Middlesex university, where he cultivated Mr. Todd - a recurring performance motif hybridising the hunted fox, the poisoned seagull, the Edwardian philanthropist in Disneyland biting at the moon in perpetual levitation and static petrification. Partner of body artist Alan Oversby (Mr. Sebastian). Partner and muse of Geoff Rushton (Jjohn Balance). Made several costumes and artworks for Coil including Black Antlers, the Racing Green box and The Ape Of Naples. He performed live on stage with Mothlite and Ulver, the latter of which was a performance of Mr. Todd's levitation piece and The Leg Cutter at the Norwegian National Opera house. He was a radical permaculturalist, beekeeper and savant of medicinal plants. The main concern in his later years was Cantu Fermusu, Several acres of woodland in the Asturian mountains which he cultivated with Mikel Quirós. He was a master craftsman, discerning to the finest detail, humble and kind, self-critical and irreverent, in love with nature, at war with the patriarchy. A good animal, true to his animal instincts. He passed away under an Acer tree in Asturias, June 30th, 2015.

Order the book/tape here:

Honour Wave in British Animation Awards

A few months back, The McLeod brothers surprised me with an animated video for a song called Honour Wave from my last album Folly. It's a beautiful dream world and now it's a finalist in the British Animation Awards. Good luck boys! I forgot to post it here, so check it out.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

Folly enters the atmosphere

What they say...

THE TIMES “a warm and welcoming affair”
UNCUT "sumptuous”
THE WIRE “a remarkable songwriter”
THE QUIETUS "an often delirious and lushly coherent whole, one that veritably swoons and bewitches"
BUZZ “a suite of lush, immersive, otherworldly pop reveries.”
LOUDER THAN WAR “Folly belongs at the table with your Hunky Dory and your Rubber Soul, your Harvest and your Blue. It is a supremely well crafted, well recorded and well executed batch of songs that is an absolute joy to listen to.”
PROG “seductive and leads you to strange places”

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Sutton House Residency

I'm playing two nights with my sextet at Sutton House on April 5th and 6th. It's a Grade II listed Tudor manor house with a very beautiful Steinway grand piano.

April 5th will also feature two artists from the O Genesis Recordings family, The Silver Field and Richard Youngs. Thighpaulsandra and Peter Broderick are my guests on the 6th. Peter plays a 'In A Landscape' by John Cage, Thighpaulsandra will perform solo music and then both will join the sextet to perform songs from my forthcoming solo LP, Folly. It's an intimate space and therefore seating is limited.

Tickets for April 5th are available here.

Tickets for the 6th are available here.

Under The Knife

View the new video for Under The Knife, the second single from forthcoming LP, Folly on O Genesis Recordings. Directed by the brilliant Daisy Dickinson.

Or listen on spotify and help me get my numbers up (how depressing). Incidentally, artwork is by the magnificent Ivy Wren O'Sullivan.

Monday, February 11, 2019


Listen to ‘Silhouette’:
Pre-order the album:

Daniel O'Sullivan has announced details of his new solo album, Folly, out on O Genesis Recordings on 5 April 2019 with the first track to be taken from the album, ‘Silhouette’: 

Folly is O’Sullivan’s second album under his own name and embodies a confident, evolution from his acclaimed debut VELD (2017, O Genesis), an album which distilled the multiverse into a rich and complex soundworld; textured and allusive, alive with sonic diversions, hypnotic mantras and ornately arranged songcraft.

The release will coincide with a two-night residency for The New Arts & Music Programme at Sutton House, Hackney. Set in the Arts & Crafts era wing of this Tudor manor house, using its early 20th Century Steinway grand piano, Friday 5 April will see O’Sullivan performing songs from Folly with his ensemble, with special guests from the O Genesis family, Richard Youngs and The Silver Field, supporting. Saturday 6 April will include a solo performance from Thighpaulsandra, who recorded and mixed the album while Daniel performs songs with guest appearances by Peter Broderick and Thighpaulsandra among others.

Folly was written around the birth of his son Ari and the passing of his friend Ian Johnstone, and both events were significant in the album that followed. O’Sullivan explains, “Joy is inseparable from suffering and sometimes those polarities arrive at the same moment. Music offers a vessel to contain the unspeakable.”

 This cycle of twelve songs deftly illustrates O'Sullivan's ascent as a unique and multidimensional songwriter. Moving from the familiar pantheon of experimental music and arriving upon a universal narrative probing the human condition from the inside out. Both lyrically and within the intricate lattice of arrangements, traditional forms are reshaped into transcendent pop symphonies. Both intimate and alien, archetypal and atypical, joyous and melancholic, the aperture of Folly is wide open and light streams in.

O’Sullivan explains the solo writing process, “Writing songs alone can take some time even if a song arrives fully formed in your mind. The execution of it involves long durations with each individual part of the arrangement until it reaches something concise. The song tells you what it needs and I try not to force ideas onto it.” and goes on to say, “These songs are outside in rather than inside out, there was always a latency between the birth of the song and my understanding of its purpose. Folly is looking at who is doing the shaping, most of these songs are about writing songs.”

Folly was recorded and mixed by Thighpaulsandra (Coil, Julian Cope Band, Spiritualized) at his Aeriel studio premises in Wales and mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Written mostly in London, O’Sullivan explains the inspiration for the title, “There's a folly of a medieval abbey in these gardens that surround where I live. My family and I spend a lot of time roaming around there, amongst the frogs, foxes, mushrooms, owls, and the many strange "introduced" plants and trees. It was landscaped to be a rabbit hole sort of place.”

Daniel O’Sullivan is a composer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist living and working in London and has been contributing a vibrant, chameleonic brew to the music landscape since the late 1990's. He has achieved international acclaim writing, recording and performing with Grumbling Fur (with longtime friend and collaborator Alexander Tucker), Ulver, Sunn O))), Guapo, Miracle, Æthenor and the recent reincarnation of This Heat in the form of This Is Not This Heat.

5 April – London, Sutton House – with Richard Youngs and The Silver Field
6 April – London, Sutton House – with Thighpaulsandra and Peter Broderick

Folly is released on O Genesis Recordings on 5 April 2019

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

The Physic Garden

My first collection of instrumentals for KPM is called The Physic Garden and is steaming on the EMI Production Music website now. Click here to check it out.

The Physic Garden was inspired by my favourite green spaces, from manicured gardens and follies to urban common land, overgrown and forgotten. The invitation to make "library music" initially transported me back to those sepia tinted memories of Arena documentaries and public information broadcasts; Penguin Cafe, Nyman and Greenaway; late night screenings of weird arthouse, sci-fi and B movies on Channel 4. You know when you’re eleven years old and suddenly you’re watching a Hal Hartley film or Fitzcarraldo or something. Other things like the rope swing over the brook in the local park and the strawberries climbing the trellis in my grandmother's garden. All these sights, sounds and smells coincide with the verdant swathe of vistas from recent times. Visiting bio-luminescent trees in the Peruvian Amazon, Watching my daughter scale the towering holly and juniper in the strange Victorian mews where we live. Sometimes a warm memory can be convalescent, particularly when it takes the shape of music. 

Sunday, May 6, 2018


A new video work made by Mark Titchner and David Reeve for the promotion of THE STRIFE OF LOVE IN A DREAM album by MIRACLE on Relapse Recordings. This is an ongoing popular music project with Steve Moore. No Fans is a record label administered by Richard Youngs. One might investigate his work at www dot nofansrecords dot com. This video should be viewed directly before or after the video for LIGHT MIND by Michael James Lewis, also posted below.

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

The 23 Stab Wounds of Julius Caesar

THE 23 STAB WOUNDS OF JULIUS CAESAR Artworks by Ian Johnstone, with a text by Geoff Cox, an afterword by Serena Korda and a 40 minute cassette of music composed for the original exhibition at the Horse Hospital by Daniel O’Sullivan (Ulver, Mothlite, Grumbling Fur).

Strange Attractor presents archival quality, large format, collectors’ hardback 240mm x 240mm, 72pp. Full colour throughout. £40.00 + p&P 300 copies only.

A series of 23 drawings by Ian Johnstone, in red ball point pen on melamine, originally exhibited at London’s Horse Hospital in November 2010. The drawings celebrate individual blood consciousness, the in-between and the constant state of becoming. They appear on blocks of unguessable purpose : pin-veined rough-cut blocks of whitewood. Displayed in the clutch of the screw’s harsh thrift.

The cloth is pulled away. The 23 wounds. Sphagia. Extispicy. Blood spidered and baked on fissured rocks. Lassos and bones and a tracework of bones. Flesh bared and pared and spindled open through a million pin pricks. Tiny and vertiginous, their lines cluster and tear themselves into liquid fold and tiny blots. The eye swoops like a raptor, bedazzled. Swims unfocused by infinitesimal mysteries. Tricked, beguiled, left rotting. Impossible amulets.

23 broken hawk beaks
23 rotted talons with their fringe of ant trail
23 fragments of a skull
23 curses hung round the neck of a scavenger wolf
23 bell shards tolled for the ghost of a headless ram
23 mourning scarves of ink-clotted lace
23 eggshells sticky with seed

Interred in the shadow of the tower of silence, beneath bird wing’ storm and acid hail, the fruiting body hardens. Takes shape.


Musick For Ark Todd By Daniel O’Sullivan 

A: The Levitating Moon Piece
B: Black Egg / Orpheus

“I wrote several pieces of music for Ian’s ‘Ark Todd’ static levitation performance over the years. Each setting provoked a different approach. The collaboration with Ulver at the Norwegian Opera house in Oslo was well documented but this particular version, composed for the exhibition of his Stab Wounds at the Horse Hospital gallery in Bloomsbury, has been resting dormant until now. The second piece was a commission for The Place theatre, also in Bloomsbury. An unfinished piece of choreography with dancer and vocalist Francois Testory. Like all of Ian’s work, this was a singular vision probing the human condition and meticulously scratching for truth under every surface.”

‘Ian was artist of unimaginable talent and vision, articulated in his singular and exquisite aesthetic which was manifest in all he touched… he was charismatically irreverent, compelling to watch and to listen to and bottomlessly soulful.’ - The Horse Hospital

“This is a rare document of blood voiced signatures; weeping guilt details of all our conspiracies. Snatch it up. Let the words’ knifings and the split Biro capillaries own you. But never lend it out, or pocket it close to your heart, it’s too unforgiving.” - Brian Catling, author of The Vorrh


Saturday, December 9, 2017


Pre-orders are now up for the new Miracle album THE STRIFE OF LOVE IN A DREAM. Out on Relapse Records, February 16th. Click HERE.

The combination of warped synth pop and literary gothic has been attempted before and yet here Miracle have produced a sonic portal sounding like nothing else on planet earth. O’Sullivan cites Max Ernst, Cordwainer Smith, Kate Bush (specifically The Dreaming), Madame Blavatsky, Olaf Stapledon, Hildegard von Bingen, Roxy Music (specifically For Your Pleasure), Richard Wagner, James Joyce, the gnostic Nag Hammadi library, Alan Moore, J.G Ballard, The Upanishads, The Golden Bough, Henri Michaux, Dimethyltriptamine, Nicholas Roeg, Agatha Christie, Glenn Danzig, August Strindberg (specifically Inferno), Robert Graves (specifically The White Goddess), Austin Osman Spare, Madonna, Leonora Carrington, Robert Anton Wilson, Georges Bataille, Lao Tzu and Walt Disney as inspiration for the album.


Tuesday, September 19, 2017

VELD on bandcamp

Got my shizzle together and put VELD on bandcamp. More titles to follow including new Charlemagne Palestine & Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra 2LP on Important Records. For now, feel free to lace my deep dark pockets in exchange for some high grade mean green wax.

Link here.

Thursday, July 27, 2017


A music video. Imitating the colloidal dispersion of nitrocellulose and camphor. Crafted by Michael James Lewis for swimmers and landlubbers. VELD is available now on O Genesis Recordings.

Oh and got some dates coming up...

29.07.17 – Irish Museum Of Modern Art, Dublin ('Beneath The Rug The Plants Are Moving' with Mark Titchner and Stephen Dunne)
06.08.17 – Off Festival, Katowice, Poland (w/ This Is Not This Heat)
18.08.17 – Green Man Festival, Brecon Beacons, Wales (w/ Grumbling Fur)
25.08.17 – Sea Change Festival, Totnes, Devon (w/ Grumbling Fur)
02.09.17 – Les Rendez-vous de l'Erdre, Nantes (w/ Charlemagne Palestine & Grumbling Fur TMO) 09.09.17 – Festival Number 6, Portmeirion (w/ Daniel O'Sullivan Sextet plays VELD and other popular favourites)
04.10.17 – Razzmatazz II, Barcelona (w/ This Is Not This Heat)
06.10.17 – Villamanuela Festival, Madrid (w/ This Is Not This Heat)
07.10.17 – Out Fest, Lisbon (w/ This Is Not This Heat)
October 10-20th – DOS presents The Honourable Daines Barrington EU tour (dates TBA)
12.11.17 – Sonic City curated by Thurston Moore, Kortijk, Belgium (w/ This Is Not This Heat) 19.11.17 – Audioscope Festival, Oxford (w/ Daniel O'Sullivan Sextet plays VELD and other unpopular favourites)
25.11.17 – Worm, Rotterdam (w/ Charlemagne Palestine & Grumbling Fur TMO)

Monday, May 8, 2017


I'll be playing music from VELD and more recent things with a group of wildly sapient sapiens such as Knut Jonas Sellevold (piano, synths), Alex Ward (clarinet, guitar), Frank Byng (drums, percussion), Astrud Steehouder (voice), Leo Smee (bass), Liam Byrne (viol).

Click HERE for tickets.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017


My debut solo album VELD will be released by O Genesis Recordings on June 30th. It's available for preorder here. Assembled at Tower Gardens Road under sidereal supervision. Cover art by Mark Titchner. Cut by Matt Colton at Alchemy Mastering, Hammersmith. Some blurb from beyond...

Tim Burgess’ curated imprint O Genesis Recordings present VELD, a new solo album of luminous pop incantations, electroacoustic music and shimmering drones from composer and multi-instrumentalist Daniel O’Sullivan. Whether solo or in his varied collaborative projects, O’Sullivan’s work is remarkable in the way it infuses familiar everyday experience with traces of the uncanny, the secret and the magickal. VELD distils these tangled realities into a wonderfully rich and complex record — one of O’Sullivan’s most immediate and moving pop albums to date, yet one that's strikingly dense and allusive, alive with enticing sonic diversions, hypnotic mantras and eerie biomechanical rhythms. 

VELD was written and recorded between 2010 and 2016 while O’Sullivan was living on Tower Gardens Road, during the same phase that also nurtured other collaborative projects including Grumbling Fur (with Alexander Tucker) and Laniakea (with Zu’s Massimo Pupillo). This was also the space where O’Sullivan assembled and arranged Ulver’s 12th studio album ATGCLVLSSCAP and the last two Æthenor LP’s (O’Sullivan’s “automatic composition” group with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) and Steve Noble). The house was a kind of parallel world, an oasis of the strange and the mystical in suburban North London belonging to Ian Johnstone (artist, permaculturalist and muse of the late Jhonn Balance of seminal English experimentalists Coil), who passed away in 2015. The album is dedicated to Ian and his home who, explains O’Sullivan, was a friend, inspiration and grounding space over the years. 

Their influence has audibly seeped into O’Sullivan’s intuitive, exploratory approach to music. His varied work is united by a love of bricolage, a fascination for drawing sounds and ideas from across disciplines and aesthetic worlds into a shared orbit. Traces of his many projects all meet and mingle in VELD: from his solo music as Mothlite to the lysergic songcraft and space-time vortices of Grumbling Fur and Laniakea, the reality-distorting zones of Æthenor and Ulver, the electronic pop of Miracle (with Zombi synth maestro Steve Moore), and his recent involvement with another pioneering London group, This Is Not This Heat. 

While distinctly a solo-led record, VELD is animated by the same roaming, impulsive compositional spirit as his collaborative work. While grounded in pop music — which O’Sullivan describes as the ideal vessel for channelling more celestial energies — its dreamlike soundworld draws inspiration from across both natural and human landscapes. Its influences range from Ray Bradbury (whose story ‘Veldt’ inspired the album’s title) and Gurdjieff to Borges and Anais Nin; St. John’s Wort and Psylocybin to Tottenham Cemetery and Streatham Common; Cocteau Twins and Judee Sill to Alice Coltrane and Tony Conrad. 

Written during a time of great personal upheaval and growth, these are songs steeped in thoughts of change and growth: the joys, fears and strangeness of parenthood and family life, loss and grief, the passing of time. Yet they’re also inspired by the transformative, self-obliterating potential of sound and music — its ability, explains O’Sullivan, to weave together multiple voices, forms and aspects of the self into a unifying whole. So throughout you hear O’Sullivan’s voice merging and phasing with guest vocalists including Linn Carin Dirdal, Jael Reasoner and Astrud Steehouder, as the music surges from astral pop songs (‘Scorpio Rising Blues’, ‘Sabotage Devices’, ‘Luminous Fibres’) to dubbed-out electronics and burning feedback (‘Plutonians’, ‘The Projector’), fractal sound collage and spidery guitar pieces (‘Doe A Deer’, ‘Be Honour You’). The result is a record whose songs evoke multiple universes and other possible realities, making it O’Sullivan’s most unified and self-contained solo work to date. 

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Peru, February 2017

January SAD toppled me this year. A number of incidents involving the intimate nature of teeth became altogether too agonising to bear. So I decided to visit some OLD friends in the Amazon. Some older than I realised. Energetic work with Ayahuasca and Noya Roa under the guidance of Manuel Mahua, Papa Gilberto Mahua and Oscar Rodriguez Reategui in Pucallpa.

Tasting the tears of stars that fruit the fallen trees. Thinking about Milarepa, the art of listening and the development of LUNG-GOM-PA. The awakening of living spirit.

"Home is where all your attempts to escape cease." - Naguib Mahfouz

The restoration of sight. The little machines on another frequency, tirelessly working to repair the damage done and not yet done. The suffering inseparable from joy. The luminous ape in the library of everything. 

The finger pointing at the star is not the star. Resistance to the dropping of the body. Holding breath so very tight. 

Home. The heaving, seething, perpetual blush. The groaning, birthing belonging.

Carried away in play. Lost in recognition. The fibres aligning only to become prideful. The grasping. Let go to nurture. The nature of providing is the practice of release.

Tavener's Magnificat. Band On The Run. Rhythm Of The Saints.

This time I would listen. I would make myself confortable and let her work on me. The astral hospital bed. 

Fanning, combing, inverting. Gondolier of the neural canals. Breathing the prism. Fireflies dimming the grey skinned, fingerless imp. In dark slumber.

The spinning helix, the jealous lover, the trickster. Naughty, clingy Mary Mary.

Watercolours as offerings. Staving off starving.

She made her voice known to me. Distinguishable from the others. To be a child.

The parent of the self. The dilating diaphragm. The pockets of breath between vertebrae. A childish Pieta. 

Friends you lost to objects they cultivate a ghost in the stuffed and the glass eyes and paint.

Traveller of the arteries. Navigator of hidden realms.

Baptismal submersion. Spitting perfume. The crown and the fingers. 

Arcana. The shell is a perfect, purple cell. The song where everyone nuance contains a new lesson, another curvature in the undiscoverable sphere.

Don't be shy. Be flexible. Don't interrupt. 

We were all children. We knew not.

The woman of the stars, the man of the roots. The behaviour of the observed is affected by the observer - on this we can all agree.

My home. Her final transmission. "You don't have to make any big decisions yet my son."

Service. Gratitude. Patience. Forgiveness.

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Third epidose of JELLY ON YOUR SHOULDER on Soho Radio. Devoted to the eternal spirit of sound and deep listening. Transmitting mashups of Pauline Oliveros in imaginal Tuva, People Like Us vs John Tavener, Kraftwerk vs Charlemagne Palestine, Toru Takemitsu (dreamweapon mix), Plastikman vs Phill Niblock, Coil vs David Crosby, Neon Sardinia, Little Jimmy Scott in dub and more.


Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Mothlite /// Donald McPherson split 7" on End Of The Alphabet

New Mothlite tune "Thumb On The Vine" lathe cut 7" on NZ label End Of The Alphabet split with South Island guitar hero Donald McPherson. They're all gone but you can listen/buy the digital on bandcamp.


Now streaming the second instalment of our Soho Radio transmission. Heavy aureole from Ex-Easter Island Head, Psychic TV, The Trees Community, Elizabeth Clare Prophet, Shirley Collins, Dr. Chittibabu, Steve Moore, Lungfish, I Roy, a duet that never happened between Cosey Fanni Tutti & Don Cherry, etcetera.

Monday, September 12, 2016



Wednesday, July 13, 2016

\\\ H A Z E L ///

The fifth Æthenor album is upon us. Her moon is liquid. Conceived amidst haze. Italia MMX.

Hazel is the 5th record from this group of eclectic travellers, who bring their considerable pedigrees together in unexpected and original ways. Looking at the people involved, it would be reasonable to expect a massive blowout of sound, but everyone plays with remarkable and effective restraint. The music is atmospheric and layered, with bits and pieces of identifiable rock moves peeking out from under a thick blanket of hard-to-identify drift. Based on live recordings made on a lengthy tour of Italy in 2010, the recordings have been extensively edited and supplemented, but without losing the elemental sound of a group playing live together. While there’s plenty of weird ambient sound to be heard, this isn’t a sound-effects/”pedalboard” record. Like the preceding “En Form for Bla” album, Noble’s drums anchor the music. The drumming is spare and considered, sometimes lashing out with abstract punctuation, and other times laying out a Can-like groove. O’Malley’s guitar is also restrained, providing a bed for O'Sullivan's constantly morphing Rhodes, synths and electronic effects. Kristoffer Rygg contributes a rousing vocal incantation to “Ermanna” and peppers the mix with ghostly modular details. Like their other records, this is not really like anything else out there right now. Sleeve designed by Stephen O’Malley. CD is in card folio printed by Stumptown Printers. LP is in Stoughton Tip-On Jacket, pressed at RTI, and includes download card.

Pre-order HERE.

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

\\\ F U R F O U R ///

LP version pressed on virgin vinyl and packaged with artworked inner sleeve and free download coupon. First 300 LPs pressed on translucent green vinyl. CD version in 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package. OUT ON THRILL JOCKEY RECORDS, September 22nd 2016.

Somewhere, in the still-remaining quiet places of London, Grumbling Fur is at work. This being is the joint manifestation of Alexander Tucker and Daniel O’Sullivan which, since 2011, has birthed a series of increasingly focussed albums of psychedelic pop. Their new album, Furfour, is a record that’s the sum of a dizzying array of creative projects by two key figures in an esoteric underground still thriving despite the pressures and pains of modern London.

Furfour gradually emerged over three years of writing and recording at 147 Tower Gardens, the strange ivy-shrouded house that Tucker and O’Sullivan once called home. It’s an album whose warm heart is shaped, say Grumbling Fur, by birth, loss, friendship, death, those things that happen to us all. Yet as ever with this duo, it’s altered through fantasy and sci-fi, Carlos Castenada, shamanic mind warp, house ghosts and meditation.

It’s in many ways remarkable that two such distinct personalities with their roots and much of their activity in the cultural left eld can combine in a record that sounds so rooted, focussed, and accessible. 2016 is a already a year of intense activity for Tucker and O’Sullivan outside of Grumbling Fur: Tucker’s latest comic was featured in Art Review, a full publication, World In The Force, will follow on Breakdown Press, along with a new solo album. O’Sullivan has been at the core of the wildly successful This Heat reconstitution, and with Massimo Pupillo of Zu recently released Laniakea. As part of Ulver, he released ATGCLVLSSCAP, an pan-zodiacal excursion in sound, and later this year there’ll be a new album from Æthenor (a collaboration between O’Sullivan, Steve Noble and Stephen O’Malley). In the guise of the Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra, Tucker and O’Sullivan have just released a 12” of ROSE, their collaborative piece with Turner Prize-nominee Mark Titchner, who in turn produced the artwork for Furfour. There’ve also been a series of live collaborations with Charlemagne Palestine.

This breadth of operation frees O’Sullivan and Tucker to create simple, hypnotically engaging songs from paradoxically freeform beginnings. Shaping the lot are their long-standing shared musical affections, a polyglot music encompassing orchestrated poptones, collage, dub and beat-making as well as experimental and drone elements: touchtones might include Faust, Arthur Russell, Penguin Cafe Orchestra, Moondog, Michael Nyman, Gate, Syd Barrett, Stereolab, Vibracathedral Orchestra, Ashtray Navigations, Cc Hennix and Madlib. The 12 songs and interstitial abstract pieces that make up Furfour were created not out of structure or theme, and rarely began at the beginning. Instead, Grumbling Fur work by generating sounds and ideas first and then moulding structures and ideas around this. “Songs are about including the process in the finished piece and spontaneous ideas are laid down and a structure starts to emerge from this source,” they explain: “first thought best thought is our motto”.

On Furfour, Grumbling Fur is joined by This Heat’s Charles Bullen and Isobel Sollenberger from Bardo Pond on some tracks, all part of Grumbling Fur’s quest “for kindred spirits, open souls and players we respect.” This goes for each other, of course: “It’s often a case of both trying to work around each others ideas to balance and include one another’s voice,” they explain of the song-writing process.

Working in their own home studios, Grumbling Fur blew on the embers and Furfour began to glow. It’s a curious, generous-hearted and organic-sounding record that has its mood set by the easy harmonising of O’Sullivan and Tucker’s voices as they oat melodiously above clackering rhythms of "Milky Light," strings as celestial beings in "Silent Plans," scraps of half-heard spiritual texts and, conversely, the synth pop banger of "Acid Ali Khan" which sounds, as one writer once summed up Grumbling Fur, “like Depeche Mode in a stone circle”. Golden Simon and Heavy Days, meanwhile, describe the many horizons of the pop landscape that Brian Eno painted in Another Green World. Musical history is stuffed with male songwriting partnerships eventually driven apart by ego, but Grumbling Fur lift their music above the quotidian by making it about each other, a realisation that only by understanding our own human relationships can we comprehend how we might exist in part of something bigger. “The band is as much about our friendship and shared love of music, art, literature, lm, comics, goddesses and gods,” they explain: “Joy, bliss, friendship and expression are the central keystone to the Fur universe.”

Friday, May 6, 2016


Grumbling Fur Time Machine Orchestra presents music for Mark Titchner's ROSE. More info soon.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

LANIAKEA /// New Zero Kanada

We'll be playing our debut concert in Quebec at Festival International Musique Actuelle Victoriaville on May 22nd. We'll be joined by Jessica Moss (Silver Mt Zion) on violin and Peggy Lee (Dave Douglas, Wayne Horvitz, etc) on cello. Read about the festival here. In addition, Massimo and I will be playing a warm up show at Magasin 4 in Brussels on May 18th. Details here. Hope to see you there!