Squirrel Flower’s Guide to Her Inner World

Ella Williams on how Lucinda Williams, Aphex Twin, Rachmaninoff, and more shaped Planet (i).

Last week, Squirrel Flower — aka Ella Williams — released her second album Planet (i) via Polyvinyl. To celebrate, she put together this playlist for us of some of the tracks that influenced it. 
— Annie Fell, Editor-in-chief, Talkhouse Music

Bjork — “Unison” 
This song kills me. It’s the last song on Vespertine, which is my most played album during my time recording Planet (i). It has such a sense of energy, optimism, the lyrics are so good. listening to this track made me think about ways to make my music blossom and bloom over the course of one song. Love that it’s almost seven minutes too.

Aphex Twin — “xmas_evet10”
Syro is the second most listened to album during my time recording Planet (i). I’d walk through the streets of Bristol blasting this track, walking to the studio fully ready to make a dance album. (Of course, that didn’t happen.) (But please dance to Planet (i), dancing can happen to any sort of sound, or even no sound!)

Lucinda Williams — “Howlin at Midnight”
When I first started writing the songs that made it onto Planet (i), i was on a month long tour and only listened to Happy Woman Blues by Lucinda Williams. It’s such a special album. just such a beautiful capturing of complex shit but in songs that are so simple… As country should be.

Townes Van Zandt — “Highway Kind”
Speaking of country, TVZ is one of my all time heroes. His song “Highway Kind” played a similar role as “Howlin at Midnight,” in that it got me into playing in standard tunings again. Songs like “Desert Wildflowers,” “Deluge,” and “Iowa 146” are very directly influenced by TVZ and Lucinda.

Moses Sumney — “Doomed”
Nobody makes magic with layers like Moses Sumney. The repetition in this song, the way it takes its time to build — these are all things I try to embody in my album.

Rachmaninoff — “All Night Vigil No. 2 (Blagoslovi, Dushe Moya, Gospoda)”
A lot of my melodies are influenced by classical choral pieces. I remember sight reading this song with my college choir and being blown away. I listen to this whole piece pretty frequently.

Grouper — “The Races”
Grouper is one of those artists who has been there for me since I was 14, through every stage of adolescence into adulthood. Her music hits the same. It influences me in ways I cant explain.

Mount Eerie and Julie Doiron — “With My Hands Out”
I first heard this song when I was 15, but it moves me every time I hear it. I think the magic here lies in the simplicity. It’s folk, but it’s not. Its breath, the harmonies, the sense of room sound, the intimacy — I wanted to capture something like that with Planet (i).

Dean Blunt, Joanne Robertson — “X”
Everything Dean Blunt touches is gold. This song is so good. The melody of Joanne’s voice, the simple key part, the fuzzy scrappy guitar, allllll the reverb — god, I just love it.

Chelsea Wolfe — “Spun”
This song influenced the heavier bits of the album. it’s so fucking sick. i love that guitar sound so much, it’s so badass, just slow and chugging like machine molasses robotic volcano