Pre-order Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love (33 1/3 series)

Kate Bush's Hounds Of Love publishes November 14, and is available for pre-order now.


Hounds Of Love invites you to not only listen, but to cross the boundaries of sensory experience into the realms of imagination and possibility. Side A spawned four Top 40 hit singles in the UK, ‘Running Up That Hill (A Deal with God)’, ‘Cloudbusting’, ‘Hounds of Love’ and ‘The Big Sky’, some of the best loved and most enduring compositions in the Bush catalogue. On side B, a hallucinatory seven-part song cycle called The Ninth Wave broke away from the pop conventions of the era, with strange and vivid production techniques that plunge the listener into the psychological centre of a near-death experience. Poised and accessible, yet still experimental and complex, with Hounds Of Love Bush mastered the art of her studio-based songcraft, finally achieving full control of her creative process. When it came out in 1985, she was only 27 years old.

This book charts the emergence of Kate Bush in the early-to-mid-1980s as a courageous experimentalist, a singularly expressive recording artist and a visionary music producer. Track-by-track commentaries focus on the experience of the album from the listener’s point of view, drawing attention to the art and craft of Bush’s songwriting and sound design. It considers the vast impact and influence that Hounds Of Love has had on music cultures and creative practices through the years, underlining the artist’s importance as a barrier-smashing, template-defying, business-smart, record-breaking, never-compromising role model for artists everywhere.


Track Listing

The first woman
Still dreaming
I put this moment… here
Hounds Of Love
The Ninth Wave

A ritual in six steps
Before The Dawn
Wave after wave

Selected Bibliography

Bigo & Twigetti label night with Curve Ensemble

Feb 22 at the Crypt on the Green, Clerkenwell, come along for a bewitching evening of new music for strings. Curve Ensemble will be performing a new piece by me(!*) alongside many of my excellent label mates at Bigo & Twigetti.
See you there?
*(Exclamation because this will be the first new music from me in aaaaaagesssss)

Update: thanks for everyone who came along. Here's a short excerpt of my piece, 'Pearly'


AlbumToAlbum podcast: The Next Day parts 3 & 4

Finally! The last two instalments covering David Bowie'sThe Next Day & The Next Day Extra, from a series of fun conversations I had with Arsalan Mohammad for the very excellent AlbumToAlbum podcast. What a journey, eh! He also asked me to whip up some opening and closing music for the pod, and I was very glad to oblige. Anyone who has now listened to all four of these certainly deserves a gold star.


First and Last and Always - Electronic Sound Magazine #107


Live to Tape at Visconti Studio reviewed in Electronic Sound magazine #107

Thrilling to see this review of the Stylophone Orchestra's recent Live to Tape at Visconti Studio release on Spun Out of Control records. Big thanks to Bob Fischer for always getting what the group is about. <3


Kingston University Stylophone Orchestra: Live to Tape at Visconti Studio


Back in March, the Kingston University Stylophone Orchestra performed a short gig in Visconti Studio that was recorded live to tape. We didn't plan for it to be released officially, but here we are! Thanks to Gavin at Spun Out of Control records, who was in attendance on the day (and took the above photo), we have this lovely document of the event! Available now on limited edition cassette, and digitally via Bandcamp. [SOS cat number 061]

Image: Gavin Stoker-----

AlbumToAlbum podcast: The Next Day part 2

It’s here - part 2 of the rambling AlbumToAlbum pod chat about David Bowie's dense 2013 opus The Next Day!
Making this was such a laugh - many thanks to Arsalan for asking me to do it! (Also available on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and the other usual places)


'Akoustiki' music video and behind the scenes with Mari Dangerfield

The Kingston Uni Stylophone Orchestra has a new music video! Our very own sci-fi odyssey 'Akoustiki', filmed in the dangerous galactic realms of Visconti Studio.

Directed by Kasia Kaczmarek
Cinematography by Hsien Yu Niu
Production Design by Lola Flemming
Costume Design by Cristiano Casimiro
Edited by April Mitchell-White
VFX Supervisor Javi Sanchéz-Blanco
VFX Artist Pablo Miranda
Colourist Karolina Matela

Featuring members of the Stylo Orch 2022 cohort. Starring Zuzanna Wężyk.
'Akoustiki' was written by Zuzanna Wężyk, arranged by me, lead voice by Arte Spyropoulou. It's from our debut album STYLOPHONIKA.

And as a bonus, Mari Dangerfield created a behind the scenes video blog about the shooting of the music video. Thanks so much for doing this Mari, you're a star!


In Conversation with Tony Visconti at Rough Trade East (14 Sept '23)

London friends, put Thursday evening 14th Sept in your diaries!

I can't wait to chat with the living legend Tony Visconti himself about his staggering body of work, exploring the contents of his fab retrospective box set Produced By Tony Visconti.

The event will be held at Rough Trade East. Get your tickets here:

The David Bowie World Fan Convention 2024

I'm feeling chuffed to have been asked to take part in the David Bowie World Fan Convention in Liverpool next year. Look at that lineup! Ava Cherry! George Murray! Also excited at the prospect of finally meeting one of my writer heroes David Buckley!

The plan for my involvement is to help out as a moderator, and maybe host some side discussions and musical dissections of Bowie's groundbreaking 1974 album Diamond Dogs. Looking forward to seeing and hanging out with my people x

It's happening July 26 – 28, 2024, spread across a number of venues around Liverpool (UK).

Tickets available here


The Sampler Mixtape #52

Check out my playlist for Sound and Music's The Sampler Mixtape #53, as heard on Resonance FM on Friday 9 June 2023 at noon (it will be repeated on Monday 12 June 2023 at 9am).

Featuring tracks by Andrew Poppy, Mica Levi, Kai Whiston, Fire-Toolz, Zubin Kanga, Fragile Self, Mira Calix, Ben Carey, Gunnar Gunnsteinsson, Neil Gaiman + FourPlay and more.

Bowie Odyssey 73: Simon Goddard in Conversation with Leah Kardos

Looking forward to chatting with author Simon Goddard about the latest edition of his BOWIE ODYSSEY series, looking at Bowie's life and career in 1973 - a year jam packed with drama, debauchery, triumph, confusion, exhaustion and much more.
The event is hosted by the Walthamstow Rock n Roll Book Club, and will be happening on Tues 23 May at Walthamstow Trades Hall, E17 4RQ.

After the talk there'll be a book signing, and then a "proper Bowie/Roxy disco" with DJ Steve Proctor. Tickets are available here.

UPDATE: What fun! Top quality Bowie chats were had. Big thanks to Omnibus and the Walthamstow Rock n Roll Book Club for inviting me (I nicked the below photo from the E17 rock book club's Facebook - cheers Mark).


Elizabeth Price: Sound of the Break


I felt very lucky to be asked to contribute some voice-based sound design for Elizabeth Price's new video installation Underfoot. This version of the work (which had previously been shown in Glasgow in a different iteration) will be premiered at Kunsthalle Schirn in Frankfurt (23 March–29 May) alongside other large-scale video installations by the Turner prize-winning artist.

Information about the show can be found here: https://www.schirn.de/en/exhibitions/2023/elizabeth_price/

I Put This Moment... Here

Really happy to share that my proposal to write a 33 1/3 book about Kate Bush's Hounds of Love was accepted in the publisher's most recent open call.

Kate Bush is one of my favourite artists and Hounds of Love is a dream record to write about. I'm so excited to begin!


2022 Reflections

As per tradition, The Wire editor Derek Walmsley sent an email to all of the magazine's contributors asking for our 'best of the year' lists, and our personal reflections on how 2022 went. I was quick to respond with my lists:

top ten Releases of the Year
1 Alice Cohen Moonrising (Styles Upon Styles)
2 Björk Fossora (One Little Independent)
4 Helms Alee Keep This Be The Way (Sargent House)
5 Éliane Radigue/Frédéric Blondy Occam XXV (Organ Reframed)
6 Kai Whiston Quiet As Kept, FOG (Lux)
7 Weyes Blood And In The Darkness, Hearts Aglow (SUB POP)
8 Nadja Labyrinthine (Broken Spine/Cruel Nature)
9 Coby Sey Conduit (AD93)
10 Die Wilde Jagd Atem (Bureau B)

top ten Archive Releases of the Year
1 Cheri Knight American Rituals (Freedom to Spend)
2 Iannis Xenakis Electroacoustic Works (Karlrecords)
3 Funkadelic Maggot Brain (Westbound)
4 John Tilbury Keyboard Studies (Another Timbre)
5 Denis Dufour Complete Acoustic Works Vol 1 (Kairos)
6 David Bowie Brilliant Adventure (1992–2001) (Parlophone)
7 Sun Ra Arkestra Nothing Is… Completed & Revisited (Ezzthetics)
8 William S Burroughs Ali’s Smile (Paradigm Discs)
9 Scritti Politti Anomie & Bonhomie (Rough Trade)
10 Paul McCartney McCartney I II III (Capitol)

But the deadline for the personal reflection came and went, I just didn't relish the thought of tracing back over what has been a strange, at times extremely shit but occasionally great, year. Then Derek emailed to ask again, and so I responded in the moment from the heart.
Screenshot 2022-12-17 at 15.32.54

Finally, it was so surprising and so so pleasing to see Blackstar Theory listed third in the top ten books of the year. Feeling validated as a writer is a rare sensation, so I'm celebrating this one!
What a time it's been. Everyone I know has been going through something tough this year. Roll on 2023!

The Wire Rewind 2023 Top Books


I'm doing a free talk at the 2023 Dublin Bowie Festival [Sunday Jan 15]

I'm feeling excited about attending my first ever Dublin Bowie Festival in January! Anyone who knows me knows I love a Bowie party, and I've heard the Irish Bowie parties are the best in the game.

I'll be giving a free talk/presentation/thing about Blackstar Theory: The Last Works of David Bowie at 3:30pm on Sunday the 15th January at Whelans.

I'll also be part of the Aladdin Sane Listening Party on Saturday (14th) at 3pm, on a panel with Gerry Leonard and BP Fallon.

It's going to be a fun time! Tickets available here: https://www.dublinbowiefestival.ie/


Update: That was a lot of fun! Here's a video of my talk from the Saturday:


[Event] David Bowie: The Gift of Sound and Vision with Tony McGee and Leah Kardos, 10-01-23 at The Century Club

Heads up, this very cool event is happening on the 10th of January at the Century Club (Soho, London). Tickets available now (at the link below)…

On the anniversary of David Bowie’s death, join photographer & film director Tony McGee, to hear about his life and times working with David, and author Dr. Leah Kardos, who wrote Blackstar Theory. 

McGee, whose photographer career spans over four decades, had unique access to the star thanks to a close professional relationship and friendship. After meeting Bowie at a cocktail party, Tony was drafted in to shoot the publicity for Bowie’s 1983 Let’s Dance tour.  Several shoots followed and Mc Gee’s most famous images of Bowie now reside in the National Portrait Gallery’s permanent collection. The pair went on to have friendship of more than thirty years and we will hear about the shoots, about how the two worked together, the importance of music in the sessions and stories from their friendship down the years
Dr. Leah Kardos is a composer, musician and author. Her most recent book, Blackstar Theory takes a close look at Bowie’s ambitious last works: his surprise ‘comeback’ project The Next Day (2013), the off-Broadway musical Lazarus (2015) and the album that preceded the artist’s death in 2016 by two days, Blackstar. On the night, Leah will investigate how a man approaching his own death can create art that illuminates the immortal potential of all matter in the known universe.
The evening will be hosted by author and cultural commentator Travis Elborough.
More info and to book tickets here. 

In Conversation with Karl Bartos: Louder than Words Fest: 12th Nov

Karl Bartos in conversation at the 10th edition of Louder Than Words Festival – 12 November 2022

I'm feeling quite excited to be hosting this event at the Louder Than Words festival in Manchester on November 12. I'll be speaking with Karl Bartos about his recently published autobiography The Sound of the Machine: My Life in Kraftwerk and Beyond.

I reviewed the book in the Wire issue 463, and I can't wait to chat with Karl about his writing, his experiences as a member of Kraftwerk's classic lineup, and his life story so far, framed in music.

Tickets and info here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/karl-bartos-in-conversation-the-sound-of-the-machine-tickets-427816018227

Karl Bartos - The Sound of The Machine [front cover]

Update: well that was a lot of fun! What a thrill it was to spend some time with Herr Bartos and his manager Rüdiger while staying in Manchester. Isn't it great when you find out your heroes are also excellent humans too? Big thanks to Stylophone Official for gifting me the personalised S1 - I was able to gift it to Karl on stage at the event - a moment I'll never forget.
Book endorsements back at ya!-----

Analysing Bowie tracks on YouTube

I've been making video blogs of the track analyses from my book. My thinking is it can be easier to understand a musical discussion when you can have examples.

I've been having a fun time with these, learning about content creation as I go. I'll keep adding to this playlist until they're all done.



2022 has been an intense year for me so far. Back in January my lovely dad died and I went back to Australia to be with my mum in the aftermath. Then, not long after returning to the UK, and not personally recovered or handling the grief very well at all, my mum got sick and I travelled back to care for her. An only child living very far away from home, this was two of my worst nightmares happening back to back. Then again, actually being back home was amazing in a way. I was able to work remotely due to the strange hybrid-reality of the pandemic. I got to reconnect with old friends and family who I love and miss very much. I got to celebrate my 43rd birthday with a solo trip to Uluru, which turned out to be an extremely special experience for me.

Since being back in the UK (again), life has been a whirlwind of stuff. A lot of it has been really great – the Stylophone Orchestra album did amazingly well, selling out of vinyl copies on Bandcamp. Our tracks were played a number of times on BBC Radio 6 Music. The orchestra performed some live shows in May and June, our first performances since 2019 when we first formed, and we also shot a music video (!) for 'Akoustiki'. I've received some fantastic responses to Blackstar Theory, including reviews published in The Wire and Uncut Magazine. Bigo & Twigetti released some new music that I made on my laptop while in Australia, one a re-work of a Jim Perkins track called 'In The Menagerie', the other a new composition called 'Little Beating Heart'. I've written a chapter for the forthcoming Cambridge Companion to David Bowie, and collaborated on an essay about analogue recording with the amazing Isabella van Elferen.

I wanted to post this update to let people know that all is well. New music is happening, a collaborative project with saxophonist Lara James that I'm really excited about. Also, a new book proposal is brewing. But first, a moment to catch my breath.