Ela Orleans is an electronic sound and visual artist, performer, academic and cinematic composer based in Scotland, UK.
Her work fuses elegant, noir-ish laments, lush and atmospheric fractured narratives with influences ranging from Broadcast to Éthiopiques series and Bernard Herrmann film scores. Since her solo debut Low Sun/High Moon in 2008, Orleans has received international critical acclaim for her growing catalogue of work.
Subsequently, Orleans has toured across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, performing work at MoMA PS1, New York; MoCA, Massachusetts; The Venice Biennale and TATE Britain. She has worked on several albums, film soundtracks plus theatre and opera works. She has also completed a remix of work by new age sound pioneer, Laraaji and one of her album’s Circles Of Upper and Lower Hell was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year in 2017. Orleans joined the Cryptic Artists’ roster in 2020.
Born in 1971 in Oswiecim, Poland, Ela Orleans moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 1997 and joined collage-pop group Hassle Hound. Orleans moved to Warsaw in 2000 and began working on solo material, as well as collaborating with Marcus Schmickler and continuing to work with Hassle Hound. The band signed with Staubgold, which released Limelight Cordial in 2006, but the group dissolved in 2008, after which Staubgold posthumously released their second album, Born in a Night, in 2010.
In 2004, Orleans moved to New York, where she collaborated with various noise artists. She began releasing her solo material in 2008. Her sample-driven songs, often featuring Casio keyboards and reverb-caked vocals, recalled ghostly memories of ’50s and ’60s pop, drawing from influences ranging from Broadcast to Ethiopiques compilations to Bernard Herrmann film scores. Orleans’ first vinyl release, 2009’s Lost LP on French label La Station Radar, received acclaim from several indie music publications and independent record stores around the world. Since then Orleans has been consistently praised for her consecutive releases. In October 2013, her double album Tumult In Clouds received The Dead Albatross Music Prize voted for by the finest record shops, radio presenters, listeners, writers and record collectors from across UK and Ireland. Her tracks has been played frequently on major and independent radio stations in UK, Europe, America and Japan.
Orleans moved back to Glasgow by the end of 2011. She since toured UK and Europe, worked on several albums, soundtracks for independent films, and completed a remix of new age pioneer Laraaji for Warp.
- NIGHT VOYAGER (LP, CD, DL) 2020/21 tba
- MOVIES FOR EARS (LP, CD, DL) 2019 Night School Record
- CHRISTMAS FELL AWAY (CD, DL) 2017 Parental Guidance
- CIRCLES OF UPPER AND LOWER HELL (LP, CD, DL) 2016 Night School Records
- UPPER HELL (LP, CD, DL) 2015 HB Recordings
- LARAAJI REMIXES (LP, CD, DL) 2013 All Saints, WARP
- TUMULT IN CLOUDS (2LP, CD) 2012 Clan Destine Records, Parental Guidance
- DE FLECHÉTTES (LP) Ela Orleans + SKITTER collaboration. 2012 Clan Destine Records
- 80 MINUTES OF FUNK (Cassette), 2012 Clan Destine Records
- STATEMENT (LP) 4 way split with Slim Twig, Dirty Beaches and U.S. Girls. 2012 Clan Destine Records
- NEO PI-R (LP, DL) 2011, Clan Destine Records
- MARS IS HEAVEN (LP, DL) 2011, La Station Radar
- DOUBLE FEATURE (LP) Split with Dirty Beaches. 2010 La Station Radar, Night People
- LOST (LP, DL) 2009 La Station Radar
- LOW SUN, HIGH MOON (CD, cassette, DL) 2008 Setola Di Maiale
Commissions / Residencies / Conferences
- Residency at Cove Park to develop methods of live performance.
- Cryptic Glasgow commission to create and perform perform Night Voyager at the Sonica Festival in November in Tramway, Glasgow.
- From June to September – Residence in Deveron Arts, in Aberdeenshire, working on Lunar Odyssey – a part of PhD research at the music department at the University of Glasgow. More information can be found HERE
- April – Martyrs, Angels and Villains an audio-visual composition/response to the Calton Area / Barrowlands in Glasgow, commissioned by GLASGOW INTERNATIONAL FESTIVAL, performed in the Pipe Factory. Funded by GI Festival and Hope Scott Trust
- March – Displaced and Adjusted – audio-visual composition commissioned by Ceols Craic, performed in the CCA, Glasgow, featuring the collection of traditional Gaelic songs contributed by vocalist Ainsley Hammill and improvisations by percussionist Alex Neilson.
- Commission for Scalarama (CCA) to produce the original soundtrack for “Cowards Bend The Knee” by the Canadian avant-garde director – Guy Maddin, which was premiered on September 21 at the Glasgow’s CCA. HERE is the review
- Commission to produce an audiovisual composition for Ceol Craic Festival in CCA (Gaelictronica)
- The University of Glasgow – presentation at the conference “Moral Rights and New Technologies: Creativity and Authorship in a Digital World”.
- Glasgow Film Festival – commission to create and perform live the soundtrack for “Lucky Star”, the silent movie by Frank Borzage (Sound and Image programme).
- Contribution to the Design Domain TRANSFORM Symposium at the Glasgow School of Art.
- Lecture and performance for Fictional Matters at the Centre for Contemporary Arts, Glasgow.
- Presentation of PhD research at the University of Glasgow’s GLEAM Festival.
- Glasgow International commission to create and perform live the soundtrack for “Vampyr” – the silent movie by Carl T. Dreyer (performed in Old Hairdressers).
- Art Residency at EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm, Sweden, to develop soundtrack for the new film by Maja Borg – MAN
- Commission from The Glasgow Women’s Library to score the documentary MARCH produced by and directed by Anna Birch and Marisa Keating
- Residency at Warsaw Chamber Opera in Warsaw, Poland to compose music for the opera written and directed by Polish multimedia artist – Karolina Bregula. The project called TOWER (WIEZA), was commissioned by the Polish Foundation – Witryna, premiered in Warsaw Chamber Opera on 26th of September 2014 and at Venice Biennale of Architecture, 2014
- Residency at École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Bourges, to score original soundtrack for the feature movie ARCHITECTURE OF AN ATOM by Juliacks, premiered in January, 2015, at Moderna Museum in Malmo.
- Commission to create the soundtrack for the short movie WE THE OTHERS directed by Maja Borg. The film is the co-production of Maja Borg Productions and Dazed and Confused (Dazed Digital).
- WARP released the series of compilation EPs with Ela Orleans’ remix of Laraaji’s piece – KALIMBA on it. This is a part of the label’s project to reissue the catalogue of All Saints label, an imprint that has released records by the seminal names including Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Joachim Roedelius, Jon Hassell and Laraaji.
Orleans’s piece – Amsler Grid was included in “An Exchange with Sol LeWitt” show at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art
Orleans started her ongoing musical collaboration with Polish TVP Kultura and National Polish TV1
- Selected for the New York Foundation for the Arts Mentoring Program for Immigrant Artists (mentor – Lukas Ligeti)
- Selected for BMI inc. Film Scoring Mentorship Program – Composing for the Screen (mentor – David Shire)
1998 – 2008
Member of Glasgow based band Hassle Hound. The band has releases on Staubgold, Pickled Egg, Twisted Nerve and Textile Records. Tracks from their albums were selected by John Peel and presented on Radio BBC 1
University of Glasgow, Scotland, UK – PhD candidate, since 2017
Theatre Academy, Warsaw, Poland – Masters Degree, 1997
National College of Fine Arts, Bielsko-Biala, Poland – Diploma, 1991