Ela Orleans is an electronic sound and visual artist, performer, cinematic composer and academic based in Scotland, UK.
Orleans has toured across the UK, Europe, USA and Canada, performing at venues such as MoMA PS1, New York; MoCA, Massachusetts; The Venice Biennale and TATE Britain. She has worked on numerous albums and film soundtracks, as well as works of theatre and opera
Born in 1971 in Oswiecim, Poland, Ela Orleans moved to Glasgow, Scotland in 1997 and joined collage-pop group Hassle Hound. In 2000 she relocated to Warsaw and began working on solo material, as well as collaborating with composer Marcus Schmickler and continuing to work with Hassle Hound. The band signed with Staubgold, which released the LP Limelight Cordial in 2006, but dissolved in 2008; their second album, Born In A Night, was posthumously released 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, recall ghostly memories of ’50s and ’60s pop. Orleans’ first vinyl release, the 2009 LP Lost on French label La Station Radar, received acclaim from indie music publications and independent record stores around the world.
Orleans moved back to Glasgow in 2011. Since then she has toured the UK and Europe, produced a string of albums, written soundtracks for independent films, and completed a remix of new age pioneer Laraaji for Warp. Her tracks have frequently been played on major and independent radio stations in the UK, Europe, America and Japan and she has played live sessions for BBC Radio Three, BBC Scotland and BBC World and been interviewed on the likes of BBC Two, BBC 6 Music and BBC Scotland.
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 the UK and Ireland. Her 2017 record Circles Of Upper And Lower Hell was shortlisted for Scottish Album of the Year. Orleans joined the Cryptic artists’ roster in 2020.
- NIGHT VOYAGER (LP, CD, DL) 2020/21 (TBA)
- MOVIES FOR EARS (LP, CD, DL) 2019 Night School Records
- 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) Collaboration with Skitter. 2012 Clan Destine Records
- 80 MINUTES OF FUNK (Cassette) 2012 Clan Destine Records
- STATEMENT (LP) Four-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
- Residency at Cove Park, Helensburgh, to develop methods of live performance.
- Commissioned by Cryptic to create and perform Night Voyager at November’s Sonica Festival at Tramway, Glasgow.
- Commissioned by Teatr Horzycy in Toruń, Poland to compose the soundtrack for the play Wróg Się Rodzi (Foe Is Born) by Marcin Kącki, directed by Aneta Groszyńska.
- From June to September: Residence at Deveron Arts in Aberdeenshire, working on Lunar Odyssey – a part of PhD research at the music department at the University of Glasgow.
- April: Martyrs, Angels And Villains, an audiovisual composition/response to the Calton Area/Barrowlands in Glasgow, commissioned by Glasgow International Festival and performed at The Pipe Factory. Funded by GI Festival and Hope Scott Trust.
- March: Displaced And Adjusted, an audiovisual composition commissioned by Ceols Craic, performed in the CCA (Centre for Contemporary Arts), Glasgow. It features a collection of traditional Gaelic songs contributed by vocalist Ainsley Hamill and improvisations by percussionist Alex Neilson.
- Commissioned by Scalarama to produce an original soundtrack for Cowards Bend The Knee by the Canadian avant-garde director Guy Maddin, which was premiered on 21 September at the CCA. (Review here)
- Commissioned to produce an audiovisual composition for Ceol Craic Festival at the CCA (as part of Gaelictronica).
- Gave a presentation at the conference “Moral Rights and New Technologies: Creativity and Authorship in a Digital World”, The University of Glasgow.
- Commissioned by Glasgow Film Festival to create and perform live a soundtrack for Frank Borzage’s 1929 silent film Lucky Star (as part of their Sound & Vision programme). (Review here)
- Contributed to the Design Domain Symposium TRANSFORM at the Glasgow School of Art.
- Lecture and performance for Fictional Matters at the CCA, Glasgow.
- Presentation of PhD research at the University of Glasgow’s GLEAM Festival.
- Commissioned by Glasgow International to create and perform live a soundtrack for Vampyr, the silent movie by Carl Theodor Dreyer (performed at The Old Hairdressers).
- Art residency at EMS Elektronmusikstudion in Stockholm, Sweden, to develop a soundtrack for MAN, a film by Maja Borg.
- Commissioned by The Glasgow Women’s Library to score the documentary MARCH, produced and directed by Anna Birch and Marisa Keating.
- Residency at Warsaw Chamber Opera in Warsaw, Poland to compose music for an opera written and directed by Polish multimedia artist Karolina Bregula. The project, called The Tower (Wieża), was commissioned by the Polish Foundation Witryna, and premiered at the Warsaw Chamber Opera on 2 September 2014. It was also performed at Venice Biennale of Architecture.
- Residency at École Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Bourges, to score an original soundtrack for the feature movie Architecture Of An Atom by Juliacks, premiered in January 2015 at Moderna Museum in Malmo.
- Commissioned to create the soundtrack for short film We The Others, directed by Maja Borg – a co-production of Maja Borg Productions and Dazed & Confused (Dazed Digital).
- Contributed a remix of ambient pioneer Laraaji’s piece “Kalimba” to a series of compilation EPs on Warp. This was part of the label’s project to reissue the catalogue of the label All Saints, an imprint that has released records by seminal names including Brian Eno, Harold Budd, Joachim Roedelius, Jon Hassell and Laraaji.
- The track “Amsler Grid” was included in the exhibition An Exchange With Sol LeWitt at Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art.
- Began collaboration with the Polish television channels TVP Kultura and National Polish TV1, creating music for their programming.
- 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).
- Member of Glasgow-based band Hassle Hound, which has releases on Staubgold, Pickled Egg, Twisted Nerve and Textile Records. Tracks from their albums were selected by John Peel and played on BBC Radio One.
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.