Interview + Live Looping Session from Home


an interview I did recently with Son Of Marketing, where I talk about Bird Rib, my love of IDM and Trip Hop, my cultural roots and favourite places. There's also a somewhat improvised live looping set, recorded at home during Covid19 lockdown in early June. Yes that's a baby blanket muffling the piano strings. For the loop/mix I'm using Ableton Live 10 and an APC mini.

The first piece 'Retracing Your Lines' is a new one, coming out soon on Bigo & Twigetti's
Perceptions compilation.

Set list:
  1. [00:14] Retracing Your Lines (Unreleased)
  2. [06:05] Contact Mic
  3. [10:40] DFACE/Bird Rib
  4. [19:10] Rosamund Chime


Donny McCaslin & Leah Kardos on ★ [part 1/3]

So this was a great conversation to be part of!
It's going to be in three instalments because we really went in. Part 1 below:

If you're a Bowie fan and enjoy this sort of thing, you should definitely seek out and subscribe to the David Bowie AlbumToAlbum Podcast.

Black Lives Matter

black lives matter-----

Bird Rib vinyl is here!


It's here! Available in limited edition heavy weight orange vinyl! Sent directly to you from my front room!

This is the first time I've ever had a vinyl pressing, and I couldn't be happier with how it turned out. Want a copy? You can get it here: https://leahkardos.bandcamp.com/album/bird-rib


Inside-Outside: Studio ExPurgamento


Back in March/early April I was involved in this collaborative sound /moving image project, devised in association with 21st Century Music Practice Network (http://www.c21mp.org), in which five visual artists and five composers who didn't know each other were asked to produce a response to 2 minutes of each others work.

The participating visual artists were Alice Herrick, Yola Yolart, Andrzej Maria Borkowski, Chiara Ambrosio & Natalia Zagorska-Thomas. The composers in addition to myself, were Milton Mermikides, Agata Kubiak-Kenworthy, Eve Klein & Simon Zagorski-Thomas.

The first prompt was 'inside/outside' and coming just as everyone was adjusting to the shock of the global pandemic and lockdown life. My initial piece was certainly a reflection of this restlessness and frustration at confinement:

I was randomly paired with artist Natalia Zagorska-Thomas, and she responded to my audio work in this way (I can't embed it for some reason so click here to see it)

inside-outside part 2 Zargorska-Thomas

Her 2 minute video prompted my response, as follows:

The project was interesting in that it brought to the surface (for me, anyway), the differences in 'ownership' musicians and videographers/directors feel over their collaborative work.

If you like you can check out the full project, with all artists/combinations and their responses here: http://www.studioexpurgamento.com/index.php/exhibitions/inside-outside

Bird Rib is here

So the EP is out now, and the human world has disassembled in the face of the Coronavirus pandemic. I'm working from home, being socially distant and self-isolated. As such it feels unreal and slightly inappropriate to aggressively promote my music project at this time.

I did make a music video to accompany the final track on the EP 'Open Again Eventually' - the music speaks of the slow process of trust, the piano begins filtered and buried and slowly throughout the track emerges into itself. The backwards piece in the background is 'The Closeness of Distance' from Machines (2013). In the context of this week's upheaval it could also be about being temporarily closed off and distanced, that's certainly how I'm feeling lately.

Thanks to everyone who has gotten in touch with nice messages about the release, and to anyone who has taken the time to listen. I love you. Now wash your hands. x

Listen and stream Bird Rib here: https://smarturl.it/LK-BirdRib


Into Sporks

'Into Sporks', the second track to be released in advance of Bird Rib coming out later this month, features kitchen sounds sampled and combined with a manic, sugar-fuelled energy. My singing is also in there, too, towards the end. Definite nods to late 90s-era IDM/Richard D. James (one of my heroes).

I made the track in Logic, firstly sampling loads of kitchen things - glassware, cutlery, chopping boards, plastic containers, egg shells, the gas hob clicking on, etc. I used some shortcuts to avoid being bogged down with programming - the arpeggiator MIDI FX was useful for generating rhythmical patterns at different durations, and I slowed the whole project down so I could jam in the fast melodics live. Then I nested the elements within layers of bus effects - all percussion stems through Stutter Edit, all melodic elements through iZotope Vinyl to detune and filter groups of instruments together, then everything once again through Stutter Edit. Aside from sampled things, I sang bit, and used Sound Iron's Glitch Hero and Spitfire Audio LABS keyboard/piano instruments.

As I did with 'Deedee' last month, I decided to make my own music video for 'Into Sporks' - this time in collaboration with my lovely friend Charlotte White, a.k.a. Restoration Cake. As I was composing and producing the track I was envisioning someone cooking up a storm, stirring, mixing, clattering around the kitchen… so the idea of a top-down cooking tutorial seemed like a fun thing to try and choreograph to fit with the music. I booked out some 4k Blackmagic cameras from the uni's media department and travelled up to Bedford to Charly's place to film her creating a key lime pie from start to finish. Not knowing at all what I was doing, I mistakenly had RAW 4k format selected on the camera, which meant that I filled up my 250GB SSD cards within minutes and had to switch to my phone part way through the process - this will explain the change in colour and stabilisation in the final video. For the edit I downloaded the free version of Da Vinci Resolve and taught myself how to create crude paint-style animations. It was a fun process, but by the end I was feeling SO grateful that I work in audio media and not video… those render times were not fun.

[again, for some reason embedded youtube video won't play - you can watch it here: https://youtu.be/hZS0xXQMUcc]

I'm really pleased with how the first two Bird Rib tracks are being received. I've had some exciting radio play here in the UK, as well as in the USA and Australia; also some playlisting here and there on Spotify and Tidal. It's so rewarding to have people engage with and enjoy the stuff you've made - thank you to everyone who's listening. x


New single: Deedee

‘Deedee' is the obvious name I came up with for a piece built around a two-note theme (D & E)… The vibraphone, piano and mellotron recordings were leftovers from the Rococochet sessions, a piece originally called ‘Verges’ that just didn’t come together in time. Here I’ve added lots of found sounds from my back garden where I installed some bird feeders over the summer. There’s also a lot of messing around on synths, attempting to mimic bird sounds electronically... I guess I was trying to blend the two worlds together in a way?

I made a music video all by myself using a nifty app on my phone called 'nception' and some stock footage of starlings doing their thing. You can check it out here (for some reason I can't embed it): https://youtu.be/wzg6XiudcJU

Deedee is the first single from my new EP, Bird Rib, which will be released on March 19. Each of the tracks on the album has a starting point from something I had made in the past, old recordings from past projects either repurposed, resampled or reversed. You can preorder it on Bandcamp here, and stream/download Deedee from all the usual places.