Kelley Polar - Love Songs of The Hanging Gardens (Environ CD05)

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Full length album out in November. 10 tracks, all new, mostly vocal based.

A really gorgeous production; the real strings are predictably incredible, the harmonies are lush and crystal-clear, the synths amazingly glowing. Plus Morgan co-produced it, so there is a lot of of Metro Area DNA in the rhythm tracks.

Definitely one of the best sounding records I've heard all year (and the tracks are great too.)

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 09:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The coordinates (for me, at least, after a few listens) include Yukihiro Takahashi's Neuromantic, the good parts of Jan Hammer's Melodies, Free Design as produced by Klein & MBO and imaginary Beach Boys re-writes of "O Superman." (Junior Boys are bound to come up as well.)

Andy_K (Andy_K), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 10:29 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Andy OTM, especially with the "Free Design as produced by Klein & MBO" reference. I didn't realize it on first listen, but the vocals are a bit reminscent of the Junior Boys too.

I can't get over how good the record sounds. I'm wondering if this was years in the making.

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 10:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this sounds awesome. what are the vocals like?

does anyone have the other 12"s on Environ digitized? are they for sale as MP3's anywhere? YSI/Gmail requests implied.

biz, Tuesday, 30 August 2005 14:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I *can't wait* to hear this. "The Rhythm Touch" is one of the best tunes Environ has ever released.

jeffery (jeffery), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 18:00 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i also cannot wait to hear this. the production on some of the metro area releases still astounds.

i started listing great metro area tracks and then stopped when i got to five realizing how silly it was.

i love that the quartet is one dude.

tricky (disco stu), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 19:32 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hey, I got a lazy question.

sure, some creative googling would answer it for me, but.. If I want to listen to Metro Area on my turntable, do I have to buy all the 12"s? Cos I would much rather get them all together in one package, like that CD they did two years back. Does that exist?

hartong, Tuesday, 30 August 2005 21:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Very excited by this news!!!

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 21:26 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

hartong: you have to buy the vinyl and good luck finding some of them.

tricky (disco stu), Tuesday, 30 August 2005 21:45 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Fantastic! cannot wait to listen to this. Glad to hear that Geist worked on it too-

Kevin H (Kevin H), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 05:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


vahid (vahid), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 05:20 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

sounds amazing!

glenny g2003 (glenny g2003), Wednesday, 31 August 2005 09:27 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

If I want to listen to Metro Area on my turntable, do I have to buy all the 12"s? Cos I would much rather get them all together in one package, like that CD they did two years back. Does that exist?

The Metro Area CD compilation/album you mention was also issued on vinyl and should be available on Gemm or whatever. You miss a few tracks from the singles though.

I really wish Environ would start selling high quality downloads through Beatport or Bleep or whatever; I'd buy most of the catalog in a heartbeat.

jeffery (jeffery), Wednesday, 7 September 2005 01:52 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

You can get Metro Area #5 (Nerves/Proton Candy) from ITMS, but not #6 or any of the earlier ones.

telephonething, away from main comp, etc, Wednesday, 7 September 2005 02:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the domestic and euro releases of the Metro Area LP on vinyl have slightly different tracklisting as well. They've got some limited stock stuff on the environ web site.

what I heard of the Kelley Polar LP was astoundingly beautiful.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Wednesday, 7 September 2005 03:12 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Thanxx for the props my peeps--

I started working on the album after the last 12', around last november, but a couple of
the tracks (including the one that seems to be most popular) were previous attempts at dance tracks that were deemed too odd for the you can imagine Mr. Geist's quality control is high and the bleached bones of many an attempt were littering the morose grey bit-dunes of my audio those gave it a bit of a jumpstart but basically we just busted ass..this is still all rather new for me, but I'm fairly efficient at least with being able to do the arrangements and play/record everything in...wish I could play drums, I've put a set in another one of the old shacks in the woods, it's going to be one of my winter projects...early on Morgan did turn me on to the Junior Boys CD which I liked alot, I wish I could sing as "sexy" as that dude, but it doesn't really work for me-- the product of 20 years of classical-music repression...but perhaps like him (and Erlend) singing is way more possible for me at soft volumes, I can kind of twist my body into some kind of shape where the notes will come out...anyway thanks, here's hoping it doesn't get too bootlegged and shared around and does alright so my environ exploits will continue to be subsidized. Advance twelve of a Moroder-y track and the abovementioned one that people are liking (with lyrics that were originally copped from an old star wars comic book circa 1983 and then got slightly changed because they were just a little too over the top homoerotic) should be out soon, and the CD in november. Also, I thought I remembered MG saying that the whole MA catalogue got put into iTunes....but maybe that's just the CD... -kp

oh p.s. thanx again D. Selzer for helping me with listening research

Kelley Polar, Wednesday, 7 September 2005 04:43 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...
Just to say Kelley that The Rhythm Touch is fantastic...why the CD only album releases? this was the same with Daniel Wang's 'Idealism' is it simply economics? Just curious....

peter plasma, Friday, 30 September 2005 23:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Can't wait to get this.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Friday, 30 September 2005 23:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i don't know where i got the idea that the quartet was one dude, it's glaringly wrong.

tricky (disco stu), Saturday, 1 October 2005 00:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 14:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i have listened to "rhythm touch" / "castrovalva" every day for about a month now, to start my mornings. does music get any better than this?

vahid (vahid), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 14:31 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

whoa, this sounds great. i just heard about KP a couple days ago.

jaymc (jaymc), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 14:33 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i have listened to "rhythm touch" / "castrovalva" every day for about a month now, to start my mornings. does music get any better than this?

Rhythm Touch is so perfect in every way. CAN'T. WAIT. FOR. ALBUM.

jeffery (jeffery), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 14:58 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

me neither!! bring it!!

tricky (disco stu), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 15:37 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

the vocal section just before the break slays me everytime. someone needs to write one of those 33.3 books on this song.

tricky (disco stu), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 15:39 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

The sticker on the front of the disc will not say the following:

"Zeffirelli's Romeo & Juliet as scored by the Free Design, Martin Rushent and Klein & MBO. Orchestra pit meets dance floor, bedroom meets... hanging garden."

"Baroque new wave melts into orchestral-synthetic post-disco, songwriting procreates with production."

"John joins Richard and Karen in the Carpenters."

"Like Bobby 'O' plus real strings, albeit neither as gay nor as homophobic."

"Wistful... heartache... party/celebratory!"

"Shiver me timbers! Kelley Polar is BRRR-illiant!" -- Jean Shallot, Carrots & Beats Monthly

Andy_K (Andy_K), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 16:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

sticker on front will, without a doubt, say MORGAN GEIST, in bigger letters than anything else on the disc. Not that Morgan Geist wants that there, but they don't have a choice if they want the disc to sell.

biz, Tuesday, 11 October 2005 16:21 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

haha! those are great! the wistful... one is completely brilliant. that last one is a real groaner too.


tricky (disco stu), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 16:24 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

oh man so is "songwriting procreates with production"

tricky (disco stu), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 16:28 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

incredible cover!

jed_ (jed), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 18:40 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

NASA images are generally public domain! I'm surprised more people don't use them.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 19:05 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

One of those pillars is obscene.

Spencer Chow (spencermfi), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 20:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

That's the self titled Shalabi Effect CD released on Alien8 in 2000.

Soz Kelly, looking forward to the LP though.


Raw Patrick (Raw Patrick), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 20:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i cant find this anywhere, dying to hear it.

mark p (Mark P), Tuesday, 11 October 2005 21:44 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

shalabi effect is what we in the industry call a pre-imitator. Imaging what the Kelley Polar record would look like all those years ago must've been difficult, but they hit the bullseye. Of course their cropping and color-correction are so inferior.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 06:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

i really wanted to like this, but...i wish it was instrumental.

heywood jablomi (heywood), Wednesday, 12 October 2005 06:16 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

this makes me feel like I'm in an aquarium! gaaawwjiss.

etc IS micro-drexciya, Wednesday, 12 October 2005 14:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

(& those were great, andy! "Like Bobby 'O' plus real strings, albeit neither as gay nor as homophobic.", haha!)

etc, Wednesday, 12 October 2005 14:38 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

DAMN. Is the rest of this anywhere near the level of "Here in the Night"? It's the only track I've heard yet, courtesy of the monolithic YSI thread, but it's already one of my favorite songs this year.

telephone thing, Sunday, 16 October 2005 16:35 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I agree, I love that stings-and-moans ending. Such a great beat too (Michael was right, it's got a very Metro Area feel to it, like a sped-up version of the beat from 'Miura').

Kevin H (Kevin H), Sunday, 16 October 2005 17:02 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Meant to say 'strings-and-moans'.

Kevin H (Kevin H), Sunday, 16 October 2005 21:19 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

I'm actually glad it hasn't leaked yet and anticipation is really growing! Morgan and Kelley were so worried about it leaking early.

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Monday, 17 October 2005 03:13 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

"Morgan and Kelley"

jaymc (jaymc), Monday, 17 October 2005 03:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

They weren't sitting in a tree.

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Monday, 17 October 2005 03:17 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Haha, I was just teasing you for apparently being on such close terms with them.

jaymc (jaymc), Monday, 17 October 2005 03:30 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

yeah Michael, that's Mr. Geist and Mr. Kelley to you!

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Monday, 17 October 2005 03:47 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

it has leaked

manuel (manuel), Monday, 17 October 2005 03:54 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

Ha, I am not on personal terms with them at all! I was just passing along what I've been told.

I will expect all of you to call Bjork "Ms. Gudmumdsdottir" now.

Michael F Gill (Michael F Gill), Monday, 17 October 2005 05:14 (thirteen years ago) Permalink

and Mr. Selzer, Mr. Gill.

Dan Selzer (Dan Selzer), Monday, 17 October 2005 06:18 (thirteen years ago) Permalink


jaymc, Wednesday, 8 October 2008 22:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

this thread needs a voice of reason

kgb (J0rdan S.), Wednesday, 8 October 2008 22:42 (ten years ago) Permalink

i would like to know where synth pop vocals end and indie vocals begin. ottomh i can't think of any other vocalist that sounds like kelley polar and even though i don't listen to much music with vocals i would consider these more along the lines of synth pop.

tricky, Thursday, 9 October 2008 00:17 (ten years ago) Permalink

are there any requirements for being 'classically trained' or is it just code for 'played violin in high school'?

lucas pine, Thursday, 9 October 2008 00:30 (ten years ago) Permalink

how about this

At 18, Polar was a prizewinner at the William Primrose International Viola Competition, followed by an infamous tenure at Oberlin Conservatory. By the mid-nineties, Polar found himself in New York City pursuing an advanced degree at the illustrious Juilliard School and cementing his reputation for general deviance...

jaxon, Thursday, 9 October 2008 00:36 (ten years ago) Permalink


© 2008 (The Reverend), Thursday, 9 October 2008 03:40 (ten years ago) Permalink

<3 the vocals in Satellites

wilter, Thursday, 9 October 2008 03:42 (ten years ago) Permalink


Allegedly there was a (very proper, restrained, scholarly kind of) riot during his recital, which was very silly in some way or another. Details are vague.

Telephone thing, Thursday, 9 October 2008 03:43 (ten years ago) Permalink

sea of sine waves is hittin the spot

I agree with this. I like the album, have some similar hang-ups over the vocals, but this track KILLS. Opening harmonies are awesome, bassline is is nicely driving, and, hey!, vocals are accompanied by a beautiful vocoder!

altair nouveau, Thursday, 9 October 2008 04:19 (ten years ago) Permalink

I thought the "riot" happened when he was at Julliard - he got expelled for it.

I think the vocals are great but I can see how someone might not like them. When his vocals are multi-tracked, he sounds like an asian boyband, cracks me up. "creepy in a subtle way" = otm.

Disco/Very (Roz), Thursday, 9 October 2008 07:01 (ten years ago) Permalink

has anyone heard the pearson and usher mixes of Entropy Reigns? I find pearson and usher to be really hit or miss but when they hit it's fantastic.

Bomb Bomb Iran (san frandisco), Wednesday, 15 October 2008 21:07 (ten years ago) Permalink

eleven months pass...

this hold up pretty well

groovemaaan, Sunday, 11 October 2009 12:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

holds up, even

groovemaaan, Sunday, 11 October 2009 12:01 (nine years ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

And by the way, "Mambo y Coro" by La Banda Chula is awesome!

Yeah, I love stuff like this (didn't know it, but am listening now), especially in a club. Sorry, just scouring ILX for merengue mentions. Not many.

_Rudipherous_, Friday, 10 September 2010 21:31 (eight years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

new one coming. very exited.

owenf, Saturday, 1 October 2011 17:16 (seven years ago) Permalink


psychedelicatessen (seandalai), Saturday, 1 October 2011 17:17 (seven years ago) Permalink

also features vocals from Jeremy Greenspan of the Junior Boys

wasn't it on ILX that Kelley mentioned the sexy vocals of Junior Boys were what he was attempting to emulate. Or am I making that up?

owenf, Saturday, 1 October 2011 17:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

ah yes it was on this thread. Idiot

owenf, Saturday, 1 October 2011 17:36 (seven years ago) Permalink

ah, i just asked on my twitter like 2 days ago what happened to this dude

Ford Cumlord (The Reverend), Saturday, 1 October 2011 19:03 (seven years ago) Permalink

there was some guy a year back who used my name as an ilxian pun on kelley polar and it wasn't til i saw this thread that i realized that he wasn't stretching the joke out

kelpolaris, Saturday, 1 October 2011 20:00 (seven years ago) Permalink

any idea on a release date for the new one?

bakumastah, Sunday, 2 October 2011 11:29 (seven years ago) Permalink

single is on the 18th. Not sure about the album.

owenf, Sunday, 2 October 2011 12:01 (seven years ago) Permalink

Excited for this. Really enjoying the Hasta La Verdad single he did the strings on for Javiera Mena. Metro Area are playing Seattle this month too. Revive Environ!

brotherlovesdub, Tuesday, 11 October 2011 17:19 (seven years ago) Permalink


skip, Tuesday, 11 October 2011 17:26 (seven years ago) Permalink

Had no idea he did the strings on Hasta La Verdad, which is one of my favorite tracks of 2010. Not surprising now that I think about it.

Discovered this guy at a Junior Boys concert where he was one of the opening acts. Junior Boys ended up not being able to go on because of technical issues but Polar kicked ass.

skip, Tuesday, 11 October 2011 17:27 (seven years ago) Permalink

Kelley rather

skip, Tuesday, 11 October 2011 17:28 (seven years ago) Permalink

you check both new KP songs on youtube. at least for now.

bakumastah, Wednesday, 12 October 2011 20:31 (seven years ago) Permalink

I'm Not What You Want could go on for about 5 more minutes after it ends, imo.

brotherlovesdub, Wednesday, 12 October 2011 20:46 (seven years ago) Permalink

very cool album cover.

skip, Thursday, 13 October 2011 04:11 (seven years ago) Permalink

Love Nocturne! Off kilter rubberband funk bass vs crisp little beat -- just like Tyurangalilia (opening minute of that is peak Polar imo). Full of lovely details. On repeat.

misty sensorium (Plasmon), Thursday, 13 October 2011 05:00 (seven years ago) Permalink

album is a ways off, I think.

new Storm Queen coming next from Environ, though!!

mikebee (BATTAGS), Thursday, 13 October 2011 22:20 (seven years ago) Permalink

one year passes...

Anyone heard anything re: the album that "I'm Not What You Want" et al would seem to belong to?

etc, Sunday, 13 January 2013 11:14 (five years ago) Permalink

three years pass...

KP pops up on the Tuff City Kids album

nashwan, Monday, 12 December 2016 20:27 (two years ago) Permalink

oh cool.. love tuff city kids

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Monday, 12 December 2016 21:16 (two years ago) Permalink

This needs to be added to spotify asap. It's one of my favorite album of the 00's and I'm too lazy to add it manually to my phone.

Moka, Monday, 12 December 2016 22:11 (two years ago) Permalink

same. really overlooked album

Lennon, Elvis, Hendrix etc (dog latin), Monday, 12 December 2016 22:38 (two years ago) Permalink

that Tuff City Kids album is excellent, I love that one and I love the one with Annie

boxedjoy, Friday, 16 December 2016 22:31 (one year ago) Permalink

ten months pass...

on spotify now

||||||||, Tuesday, 31 October 2017 08:26 (one year ago) Permalink


Shat Parp (dog latin), Tuesday, 31 October 2017 09:53 (one year ago) Permalink

This really is the most overlooked album of the 2000s right?

Shat Parp (dog latin), Tuesday, 31 October 2017 09:54 (one year ago) Permalink

four weeks pass...

Similar to Metro Area, Environ have followed up the Spotify release of his stuff by getting him to make an "Unessentials" mix:

First time he's updated the FB page in five years; fingers crossed for something new, eh?

etc, Wednesday, 29 November 2017 05:10 (one year ago) Permalink

So I only heard Love Songs of the Hanging Gardens for the first time this weekend. It's really good, isn't it?

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 15:28 (one year ago) Permalink

yes it is! very happy ILM turned me on to that record, I found it in a thrift store

sleeve, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 15:29 (one year ago) Permalink

Is the second album good?

Hey Bob (Scik Mouthy), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 15:38 (one year ago) Permalink

Oh yes

willem, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 15:47 (one year ago) Permalink

You should check out the pre-lp singles as well, they are totally lush and funky

brimstead, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 18:25 (one year ago) Permalink


I don't see any under his solo name

sleeve, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 18:30 (one year ago) Permalink

Those are the ones, yep - I sometimes think "The Rhythm Touch" is the best thing he's put his hand to.

etc, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 21:11 (one year ago) Permalink


brimstead, Wednesday, 6 December 2017 22:07 (one year ago) Permalink

i like the second even more!

Susan Stranglehands (jed_), Wednesday, 6 December 2017 22:13 (one year ago) Permalink

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