Logan Farmer is a singer-songwriter and producer based in Fort Collins, Colorado. Combining elements of traditional folk, psychedelic, and ambient music, Farmer has released five full length albums since 2013, under the moniker Monarch Mtn., slowly earning him a devoted cult following. Still No Mother, out in 2020 on Western Vinyl, was the first record under his own name: eight magnificent songs, expression of his personal and evolved folk and the result of a deep sound research and refined arrangements. Farmer’s vision of folk is decidedly peculiar and modern. His second album, A Mold For The Bell is out now, again on Western Vinyl.
What He Says: “A Mold For The Bell is a collection of ambient folk songs that I wrote and recorded in late 2020 and 2021. Released by the label Western Vinyl and featuring contributors such as Joseph Shabason and Mary Lattimore, the album explores memory, trauma, and dignity in a time of environmental and societal collapse. It’s probably the most sparse thing I’ve ever released, mostly just guitar and voice, with strings, woodwinds, and some subtle electronics sprinkled throughout. It’s a little bit of a tough listen (at least for me), but I think it’s the album that I had to make to properly process the last couple of years.“
His Mixtape: “I had a very particular sound in mind when making this album, and the following songs and artists were a profound inspiration to me throughout the entire process. I love music that’s spacious, dark, and defies expectation. Anything that takes a familiar framework and turns it on its head.“
Talk Talk – I Believe In You
Discovering Talk Talk’s last two albums was a total revelation for me. This is a band who first hit the scene with these really maximalist synth pop songs in the early 1980s, only to strip everything back and introduce elements of jazz and proto post rock with each consecutive album. By the time their last record came out — not forgetting Mark Hollis’ solo album — the music was about 80% silence. It’s a perfect example of compositions that are subversive in their quietude, and that concept has had a huge impact on my own work.
Nina Simone – Lilac Wine
In my opinion, this is one of the most devastating pieces of music ever recorded. Nina didn’t write Lilac Wine, but she had this ability to inject herself and her experiences into every performance she ever took part in. Jeff Buckley’s version is fine, but this one is perfect.
Antony & The Johnsons – Her Eyes Are Underneath The Ground
Although I Am A Bird Now tends to get more praise, The Crying Light is probably my favorite Antony & The Johnsons album. It’s just perfectly balanced, and sonically one of my favorite things ever. While making A Mold For The Bell I kept revisiting it just to marvel at Anohni and Nico Muhly’s orchestral arrangements. I also love how Anohni is able to incorporate environmental themes into her work in a way that feels direct yet totally natural.
Bruce Springsteen – Highway 29
Maybe it’s surprising given the other songs on the list, but I’ve been a Springsteen fan my entire life. Quieter albums like Tunnel of Love, Ghost of Tom Joad, and Nebraska have been huge inspirations for me. He has these really complex narratives in a lot of his songs. Highway 29 is one of my favorites, it’s like an entire film packed into three and a half minutes of music.
Steve Reich – Proverb
I listened to this song a lot when writing and recording A Mold For The Bell. I think I first heard about it in a Richard Powers book. It’s 14 minutes of the words “how small a thought it takes to fill a whole life” being repeated with various lengths beneath a backdrop of organ and vibraphone. I find the piece to be deeply moving and profound in its simplicity. It sounds ancient and futuristic at the same time.
Aldous Harding – I’m So Sorry
I’m a big fan of all of Aldous Harding’s stuff, but her album Party is on constant rotation in our house. In my mind, it’s a flawless singer-songwriter album. Thoughtful, minimalist production from John Parish with Aldous’ distinct voice and ambiguous storytelling ability. Her vocals are fairly unadorned and always mixed to the very front of the track, which is something I tried to accomplish with my album as well.
A Mold For The Bell is out now on Western Vinyl. Look HERE for more information on Logan Farmer.