Squalloscope is Anna Kohlweis, who exists as a multimedia artist, illustrator, music producer, composer, songer and singwriter based in Austria. Between 2006 and 2011 she was also known as Paper Bird, a name under which she released three full-length albums. Anna Kohlweis works as a solitary force on songwriting, production, recording, artwork, and music videos and is dedicated to rhymes, multi-layered choirs, field recordings, loops, vaguely sloppy beats, the rage of her thirties, the intensely personal, and quite possibly the slightly wacky.
Squalloscope releases include the album “Soft Invasions", two EPs, “Desert” and “Dispenser Box” (Seayou), as well as the self-released EP “Unpleasant Design”. Her fifth full-length album “Exoskeletons For Children” will be released November 3rd, 2017 on Seayou Records (EU) and November 17th, 2017 on Fake Four Inc. in the US.
"Exoskeletons for Children" emerged over the course of two years, beginning when Kohlweis had temporarily moved back into her childhood home in her thirties. Written and recorded in solitude in provincial Austrian attics and American basements, as well as in parents’ and friends’ houses, the record abides neither borders nor boxes. While drawing inspiration from Kohlweis’ small-town upbringing rife with teenage lonerdom tempered by solitary late nights on the internet, additional inspiration came from interacting with younger listeners who highlighted the importance of music in forming communities through shared experience even when those communities are far flung geographically.
On “Exoskeletons for Children” there is little feeling of nostalgia for the small town life of Anna Kohlweis’s upbringing. Rather there is a strong sense of identification with young people in these spaces. This record is about the bittersweetness of a homecoming as much as it is about the goodness of anger, protest, grieving, moving away and never looking back. There is a commanding nonchalance about Squalloscope, who bends and pitches layers of her own vocals to form the instrumental backbone of a record centered around a whole lot of words. Under the lyrics and vocal tracks is a tapestry of field recordings, beats, synths and guitars that add to the album’s visually rich narrative.
Humor and intimacy have always been front and center in Kohlweis’ lyrics. “Let’s build exoskeletons for children, let them know we got their backs. Let them know we got their noses, let them know we got their pinkies until they crack”, she sings on the album’s title track. Squalloscope has been described as both uplifting and gut-punching and a listener recently proclaimed it felt “as if someone had run over [their] emotions with a cheese grater”. Strange pains seem like an appropriate reaction to this material.