TVD Radar: Sol Seppy, The Bells of 12 vinyl reissue in stores 4/13

VIA PRESS RELEASE | German label Groenland Records reissues The Bells of 12, the 2006 debut solo album from Sol Seppy, the project of British singer-songwriter, producer, multi-instrumentalist, Sophie Michalitsianos. She was a member of the band Sparklehorse and toured with Radiohead. The Bells of 12 is out April 13 on vinyl for Record Store Day followed by a CD and digital release on April 19.

All of the songs on The Bells of 12 were written and arranged over two years by Michalitsianos, a classically trained pianist and cellist. Born in England, and growing up between there and Australia, she was raised with music in her blood, beginning to write songs as early as 5 years old.

At sixteen, Sophie wrote music for television documentaries and lent her vocal abilities for free studio time at the EMI studios in Australia. For the next few years, labels would approach her with offers, provided she shifted her image to fit their ideals and sing the pop songs their producers wrote. She politely declined and continued on her own path of exploration. Here Sophie reached a peculiar juncture and went to university with the intention of becoming a diplomat. She soon shifted courses and was accepted into the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, where she studied contemporary composition and orchestration. In due course, she began making a name for herself as Australia’s improvising rock cellist, touring with numerous acts, though the position soon wore itself out and Sophie decided it was time to move on.

At twenty-three she moved to the US and not long after received word that Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse had heard her music and wanted her to join them for their tour with Radiohead. Sophie obliged and contributed on Sparklehorse’s albums, Good Morning Spider and It’s A Wonderful Life.

After her time with Sparklehorse, Sophie continued pursuing numerous musical avenues, and was able to move to upstate New York, where she set up a studio of her own. “Having the luxury of my own studio was great, but without an engineer to stop me, I destroyed most of what I wrote. To my dismay, my beloved music was turning into a gargantuan mirror and I couldn’t stand it. Barely any songs made it out alive; the studio was like a war zone.”

One night, while Sophie was out, there was an unexpected explosion in her studio, which melted every piece of gear she owned, taking the whole house and recordings with it. She relocated and rebuilt another studio from scratch. It was here Sol Seppy began to manifest itself. “I couldn’t see myself putting out a record before this,” Sophie says.

The catalysts for The Bells of 12 had long been developing, but had taken time to firmly materialize into a cohesive vision, apparent on the record. As the sole voice and creator behind Sol Seppy, Sophie landed not only the role of writer and performer but also that of engineer and producer, a very substantial task for one person to surmount. As a result, the record is a true testament to the kinetic power of one’s own emancipation from the weighty trials that come hand in hand with the creative gift.

Sol Seppy, the venture born of a longing for some perhaps unrealizable escape returned upon itself with an internal response, bearing the title, The Bells of 12. It’s celestial romanticism glows in the enchanting vocals of Sophie, each track a channel to some uncanny territory. “Slo Fuzz” beckons with an affectionately plaintive chorus, wishing to fly away, bubbling over ethereal melody lines. “Wonderland” tells the story of an artist with the sinking feeling that a change will never come. “Come Running” is a curious ode to companionship. “Enter 2 Human” plays out as one of the most heartrending incitements in recent years. Each song is more than enough to get lost in.

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