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Paul Kane& Katie O'Looney - Earth, Air, Water, Fire - A Poetry Soundscape

As with any successful collaboration that straddles boundaries, there is symbiosis between Kane's verse and O'Looney's music, each being enhanced by the presence of the other...Kane has a gentle mellifluous voice that is easy on the ear, making extended exposure to it pleasurable. O'Looney employs a variety of struck and scraped percussion, plucked strings, and keyboards to generate abstract musical interjections that add emphasis and heighten atmosphere...leaves one hoping for a follow-up by the pair...


John Eyles, All About Jazz


Katie O’Looney’s soundscapes for Earth, Air, Water, Fire: A Poetry Soundscape are environmental in impulse and inspiration: Earth is invoked by early morning birdsong; Air by the howling wind of a fierce storm; Water records torrents streaming down the road near her house as well as ocean waves near Fenit; while Fire uses the sounds of a bonfire in her garden. The hybrid  Kora, in the Coda, provides unique instrumenting that is fitting for the Aether. Similarly, the paintings of John Wolseley suggest an energetic spontaneity appropriate to a layering improvisation.


Paul Kane’s ‘verse essays’ have been described as ‘in the tradition of Lucretius, Pope, Auden and Ashbery’ for the way the poetry embraces ‘shifting points of view, including environmental, ecological, mythological, historical, and phenomenological perspectives’ (Antonella Reim and Tony Hughes D’Aeth, Ecosustainable Narratives, 2022). The verse, while ‘philosophically serious’, is also ‘at times, witty and ludic in tone.’Earth, Air, Water, Fire is an extended contemplation on not only the elements of our world—both outer and inner—but also on how that world is called into being and then lived most fully and skillfully. Drawing on the elementary forces that create our sense of who we are and where we are—in terms that harken back to ancient cultures but also arise from contemporary science—these recitations invite the listener to participate in a journey that wends its way through the intricate and challenging landscape of modern life, accompanied by soundscapes that illuminate the process.


Earth, Air, Water, Fire:

A Poetry Soundscape


By Paul Kane & Katie O’Looney

(with images by John Wolseley)



Earth 36'31"

Air 33'27"

(Total 69'58")



Water 23'42"

Fire 27'14"

Coda 25'33"

(Total 76'29")


Paul Kane’s reading recorded by David Stalling in Boston, Massachusetts.


Field environment sounds, piano, Korg monologue analog synth, hybrid Kora, zither, mandolin, electric and acoustic guitars, drums and percussion, rain stick, singing bowl, pedal board of effects recorded by Katie O'Looney at Ballahantourig Studio in Kerry, Ireland.


Mixed and mastered by David Stalling at Stille & Klang, Co. Westmeath, Ireland.


Design by Doreen Kennedy


CD project coordinated by Anthony Kelly & David Stalling



The book Earth, Air, Water, Fire was first published in 2022 by Warwick Publications (Clinton Corners, NY). A video installation of the work was presented by artists Brodie Ellis and John Wolseley in April, 2023, at The Castlemaine State Festival, Castlemaine, Australia, with a fuller multimedia version at the Bendigo Art Gallery, Bendigo, Victoria, from September 2023 to January 2024.“On Water” first appeared in Ecosustainable Narratives and Partnership Relationships in World Literatures in English, ed. Antonella Reim and Tony Hughes-D’Aeth (2022).



Katie O’Looney thanks Caroline Calder, for her listening, and Harry Moore for the hybrid Kora.


Paul Kane thanks artists John Wolseley and Brodie Ellis for their collaborative work, and acknowledges the support of The Center for Speculative Inquiry.


This project was funded, in part, by the Susan Jane Turner Fund at Vassar College in New York.


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Paul Kane& Katie O'Looney - Earth, Air, Water, Fire - A Poetry Soundscape

  • Earth, Air, Water, Fire is available in CD and digital formats.The CD artwork features the paintings of internationally acclaimed artist John Wolseley and is presented as a 6 panel trifold eco pack with an A4 size folded insert. The insert is also available flat as a poster. The CD is published as a first edition of 500 copies. The album is also available as a digital download (with a pdf booklet featuring full liner notes and images) from the Farpoint Recordings Bandcamp outlet

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