Elizabeth Joan Kelly is a New Orleans-based electronic music composer. She uses found sounds and MIDI to create lush soundscapes at the epicenter of synthpop, industrial, ambient, darkwave, and classical music. Kelly’s work has drawn comparisons to Bjork, Julee Cruise, Depeche Mode, Air, Yves Malone, Vangelis, Tangerine Dream, and Wendy Carlos.
Her most recent album, as Orca, Attack! (with David Rodriguez), is out on Strategic Tape Reserve. C.M.S.O., short for “Course Management System Optimization,” is an educational album inspired by spoken word, library music, and the electronic works of Raymond Scott. C.M.S.O. is the inaugural release of Strategic Tape Reserve’s Learning by Listening, an instructive cassette series designed to bring the information of the world into your home and your brain. C.M.S.O. has been played on dozens of radio shows and podcasts; reviewed by The Wire, Bandcamp, Electronic Sound Magazine, Further, Avant Music News,
Monolith Cocktail, Vital Weekly, Underscore Music Magazine, On The Fringes of Sound, and
listencorp; and featured on three “best of” lists in 2021, including Bandcamp’s “best experimental music” for May 2021.
Her previous album, Farewell, Doomed Planet!, released October 25 2019, is about the apocalypse. And Chernobyl wolves. Pollution. And space travel. Existential dread. And whales. Farewell, Doomed Planet! was nominated for an Independent Music Award for Best Longform Video; received radio and podcasting play from over 40 stations and shows across the world; featured on six “best of” lists in 2019; and made the WTUL, KALX, CFBX, CJSW, CITR, Skylab, and Muzooka radio charts, including four weeks at #1 on WTUL. The album has been reviewed by The Wire, Offbeat, ANTIGRAVITY, I Heart Noise, and more. Videos from the album have been premiered by THE LAST BLOG, I Heart Noise, and Slow Breathing Circuit. The video for “Human Research Roadmap” featured as part of the HOT STEAM III Science/Video/Art Festival on Cambridge Community Television.
Before that came Music for the DMV (after Brian Eno’s Ambient 1: Music for Airports, but more angsty…because no one likes the Department of Motor Vehicles). Music for the DMV won the Independent Music Award for “Best Concept Album” and was also nominated for Best Longform Video; received radio and podcast play from dozens of stations and shows across the world; featured on multiple “best of” lists in 2018; and spent 15 weeks on WTUL Radio’s Top New Album charts, including two weeks at #1. The song “Ghost in the Machine” was #15 on Dandelion Radio’s annual Festive 50 Countdown. The album has been reviewed by The Wire, Louder Than War, ANTIGRAVITY Magazine, and more, and she has recorded live sets for dublab radio and Phantom Circuit.
The Departure 2019 EP, a three song set recorded “live” for Phantom Circuit episode #239, was first broadcast by Resonance Extra on Thursday, 24 January 2019. The subsequent cassette release was #70 on Tabs Out‘s Top 200 Tapes of 2019.
She has contributed tracks to compilation albums by Werra Foxma Records, Wormhole World Records, Front & Follow, I Heart Noise, Prosthion Recordings, and Strategic Tape Reserve, with proceeds going to organizations such as the ACLU, Médecins Sans Frontières, Delia Derbyshire Day, The Brick in Wigan, Coffee 4 Craig, and CALM. A pre-recorded live performance of “Harm” and “Human Research Roadmap” was played as part of the CreatorsRise COVID-19 Digital Telethon, which raised $4,000 for Sweet Relief’s Covid-19 Fund. She has collaborated with Xqui, Geiger von Müller, Tyler W. Weaver, and with husband David Rodriguez as Orca, Attack! She also appeared as a guest vocalist on ALKA’s “King Card” from the album Regarding the Auguries on Vince Clarke’s Very Records; and contributed backing vocals to Whettman Chelmets‘s “Infant Eyes and Baby Steps.” She hosts a bimonthly radio show, Electrojunkyard, on France’s Camp Radio.
Elizabeth has received numerous composition awards for her concert music, including the Anthony “Val” Valentino Memorial Award from Loyola University New Orleans and the Donald Erb award from the Cleveland Institute of Music. String Quartet was winner of the 2007 Ohio Federation of Music Club’s Young Composers Contest, and also received the 2007 Russell and Nancy Hatz Special Recognition Award from the National Federation of Music Clubs. As 2nd place winner in the 2008 Singing City Prize for Young Composers, Elizabeth was commissioned to write a new piece for the ensemble. Another choral work, “Tiare Tahiti,” was a 2008 winner of the American Composer’s Forum/Vocal Essence Essentially Choral Reading Program, and was read by Vocal Essence in May 2008. “The Salt of Winter” was selected for inclusion in the Jacksonville Symphony’s Fresh Ink Orchestra Readings in June 2008. “Mornin’ Glory,” was performed at the inaugural concert of the Louisiana Composer’s Forum in September 2010 and subsequently nominated for a Big Easy Tribute to the Classical Arts Award.
Elizabeth’s concert music has been performed by the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Glass City Singers, members of So Percussion, and by students and young professionals across the United States and Europe. Her fixed-media electronic work has been programmed by HOT STEAM, The Dark Outside, Radiophrenia, the Dundalk Institute of Technology, the iPhone Film Festival, the International Underwater Film Festival Belgrade, Vox Novus 60×60, and Grand Valley State University’s Free Play 10: Listening Chamber.
She graduated summa cum laude in 2005 from Loyola University New Orleans with a B.M. in Music Composition, studying with Mara Gibson and James MacKay. Elizabeth also studied at the Freie Universitat in Berlin and the Bowdoin International Music Festival with Samuel Adler, and at the Norfolk New Music Workshop with Martin Bresnick. In 2007 she completed her M.M. as a student in composition at the Cleveland Institute of Music studying with Margaret Brouwer.
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