ListN Up Playlist: Celia Hollander (June 14, 2023)

ListN Up is a series of artist-curated playlists that offer an intimate sonic portrait of contemporary artists by showcasing the diverse and stylistically varied music that influences their creative practice. 

Celia Hollander is a Los Angeles-based composer and artist working with audio, scores, performance, installation and text. Her work critically engages ways that audio and the act of listening can shape temporal perception, generate narratives, question cultural infrastructures and cultivate social connection. Her work has been performed or installed at institutions and venues including MOCA, The Getty, Skirball Cultural Art Center, Various Small Fires, Human Resources and Zebulon. Her discography includes releases on Leaving Records, Recital and Noumenal Loom. She is a resident DJ on Dublab Radio.

I’m Celia Hollander, a composer based in Los Angeles, and I am so delighted to share this selection of tracks — simply of musical artists and specific pieces that have deeply impacted me. In the descriptions I write a bit about songs that have inspired me with a lightning-bolt type of revelatory inspiration, in tandem with other pieces that continue to nourish me with an ongoing stream of inspiration. So I hope it does the same for you. I hope you enjoy, and thanks so much for listening!

“O-Ke-Wa (North American Eclipse)” by Daniel Lentz

Otherworldly and full of shadows, this album unfurls a sense of awe for me every time. I’m especially drawn to the refreshing arrangement of timbres, including voice, tape delay, wine glass resonance, bone rasps, bells and more. For about a year I listened to this album nearly exclusively on a nightly drive home through the mountains. I’d arrive home each night feeling ushered through a transformation: my conscious day-mind fully prepared for the subconscious dream realm.

“East River Dawn” by Laurie Spiegel

Laurie Spiegel’s career as a composer, creator and thinker inspires me continuously. I find that her work encapsulates a full spectrum of dualities: traditional folk music with early digital and electronic tools, aesthetic and political, intuitive and systematic, optimistic and critical, scientific and emotional. With a body of work spinning and expanding outwards with a centrifugal force, these qualities aren’t contradictory or at odds, but poles on a spectrum connecting a whole.

“Bismillahi ‘Rrahman ‘Rrahim” by Harold Budd

I find the ambiguous, mystical, twinkling, swirling nature of this piece endlessly intriguing. Constantly shifting, always gentle, swelling naturally, never definite, always colorful. Feels like the magic of solitude while simultaneously being warmly connected to a larger cosmic whole.

“Small Talk” by Paul Lansky

On the process of creating “Small Talk,” Lansky recounts the dream-state of being a child in the backseat of a car drifting off to sleep while his parents talked in front: “I no longer noticed what they were saying but rather heard only the intonations, rhythms and contours of their speech.” This piece does exactly that for me — synthesizes a very specific dream state, blending familiarity with the extraordinary.

“Chrysalid Requiem — Kyrie” by Toby Twining

I found this album in the last year and haven’t been able to give it enough listens since — an ambitious bouquet of harmonies, vocal techniques and arrangements. It imparts a range of impressions for me, including delirious euphoria, lucid sensory stimulation and a type of monument of humanity.


Hearing Gagaku for the first time was like getting struck by lightning! Gagaku — a form of Japanese imperial court music originating in Kyoto — has a relationship with time, space, and dynamics that feels tremendously refined, impactful, masterful, organic and profound.

“Deux Lions Au Soleil” by Albert Marcœur

I stumbled upon this album during my first visit to Marfa, Texas, in 2012. The album is from a score for a French film entitled Deux Lions Au Soleil. In 2012 my life wasn’t very musical. Listening to this song alone one afternoon in West Texas inspired a sharp, unshakeable realization: my life simply lacked meaning without music and one way or another I was going to have to devote myself to its mysterious pursuit.


I CARE IF YOU LISTEN is an editorially-independent program of the American Composers Forum, and is made possible thanks to generous donor and institutional support. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author and may not represent the views of ICIYL or ACF.

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