Laura Misch will release her acoustic sister-album ‘Sample The Earth’, a new collection regrown from original tracks, on June 7th via One Little Independent Records. It follows her acclaimed debut ‘Sample The Sky’ and comes alongside the announcement of a special Union Chapel London headline event on September 19th, where she will be performing these new reworks for the first time with a full live band.


The idea for this reimagined record formed following a series of events that unearthed the acoustic roots of the material. A mapped “Forest Sound Walk” in Sydenham Woods, curated in collaboration with eco-social design studio Holobiont, encouraged deep listening within nature. Misch performed stripped back versions of the tracks using only her unamplified voice and saxophone with Marysia Osu on harp. Amongst the undergrowth the original album’s inner potential was revealed. This was followed by stage performances, which after a series of unexpected power outages, led to spontaneous acoustic improvisations. “Through playing in forests and adapting to ever shifting environments, I realised that there was this essence I really wanted to try to capture that wasn’t there before. I wanted to reveal something new that happens when you strip away a lot of the production”.


Laura then collaborated with engineer and producer Oli Barton-Wood to create a live recorded studio performance with an intimate audience of close friends. The two focused on unearthing a new raw sound, extrapolating woody tones and analogue tape delays. “As an electronic producer I’m used to being able to sculpt sound” says Misch, “but this record was really a process of surrendering to the vulnerability of live recording and being held by others in that process. I said to Oli that I wanted it to feel like the forest. We had the harp with its gut strings, wooden guitars, and the saxophone which is a reed instrument. There was still something low and drone-like missing, so we invited Emma to play cello. I feel like ‘Sample The Earth’ holds its own as a world, that it’s not a sequel to ‘Sample The Sky’ but its own individual entity and as such, a sister.” There was a ritualistic nature to the performance; Laura made a dried teasel forest and lit candles to add to the circle created by the audience, who became the final element.


The outgrowth was a record which has an inward reflecting rawness – it’s intimate and tender. Laura invited back her recently formed live band from their 2023 European & UK Tour: Marysia Osu on harp and piano, and Tomáš Kašpar on guitar and bass, as well as new collaborators Emma Barnaby (a frequent collaborator of Astrid Sonne) on cello and sister Polly Misch & Sian O’Gorman of NYX on backing vocals. With little over a day’s rehearsal, the session was largely improvised and recorded over two takes. There was no separation in the room, and no headphones, and the ambient warmth in the music can be felt intensely. She tells us; “I was thinking about the significance of recording the album inside a circle of people you care about and how that feels like a sort of reciprocity, captured in the music.”


This new version is particularly potent for Misch on a personal level, as the original album was created within a romantic relationship that ended as the album was released. Through the processing of the break-up, Laura has recontextualised much of the music, centering it around connection with her community. “I think I needed to find a way to evolve the music, and in the most respectful of ways; you can love something so deeply and the work that you made, but still have a painful relationship with it. So this process was a kind of healing. To be able to gather with my band and friends and regrow it. This ties into the communal aspect, I think the emotion underneath it all was grief, grief for the relationship, but also grief for the wider world. In coming together, it was very cathartic.”


The artworks for the album were a collaboration with close friend and visual artist Seungwon Jung. They were made using potato prints on cotton paper, with plant pigments derived from rhubarb, jasmine and walnut. Once dried the prints began to look like watery pebbles, or oval forests, the water and pigments naturally seeping into root-like formations mirroring those found in nature. With a focus on maintaining the space around the potatoes, the final prints themselves mirror the music; the simplicity of the visual echoing that of the aural.


Laura has performed at venues and festivals such as the Barbican, Berghain, Royal Albert Hall, Roundhouse, Rockwood Music Hall, All Points East, Eurosonic, SXSW, We Out Here and RALLY Festival. In December last year she sold out EartH Hackney and released a live concert film. She’s been consistently supported by BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and Worldwide FM, she recently hosted a BBC Sounds ‘Music Life’ episode interviewing Suzanne Ciani, Madame Gandhi and Sian O’Gorman on music, nature and technology. She’s been featured in publications like MOJO, Nowness, The Guardian, Loud And Quiet, Composer, Crack, The Fader, Wonderland Magazine, Clash Magazine, Varsity, NME, The Quietus, Red Bull Music and The Line Of Best Fit.

4 april 2024
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