Laura Misch’s Sonic Journey: From Urban Jazz to Nature-Inspired Soundscapes

by Madonna

Laura Misch is a London-based singer, saxophonist, and producer known for her genre-blending musical style. Her debut EP, “Shaped by Who We Knew,” released in 2016, mixes neo-soul and jazz, akin to Hiatus Kaiyote and Moonchild. Her latest album, “Sample The Earth,” explores stripped-back chamber jazz. Throughout her career, Misch has ventured into leftfield pop and electronic music, earning critical acclaim for her varied releases. Her journey reflects a deep exploration of sound’s infinite possibilities. Reflecting on her beginnings, she muses, “What came first? I guess materially, the voice, because you’re not born attached to a saxophone or any production software. I kind of became aware of singing early on, but not in a recorded sense. More just like for joy.”

Growing up in a musical family—her brother Tom is a successful jazz guitarist/singer/producer—Laura started playing the saxophone at age 11, inspired by Lisa Simpson from “The Simpsons” due to the lack of female saxophonist role models. A local saxophonist who played in 1990s pop bands like S Club Seven became her teacher, introducing her to music production through a pop culture lens.


“I always thought that the saxophone had this potential to be more than just a monophonic instrument. I thought about the saxophone as textural, creating chordal structure, how it can be manipulated in so many different ways. And I guess I was always kind of interested in looping, or repetition in music anyway. So I started using a loop pedal, and then quickly was like, this is only gonna get me so far. I need to learn how to produce because then you can just do so much.”


Inspired by electronic composers like Caterina Barbieri and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, and the 2020 music documentary “Sisters with Transistors,” she created the album “Sample The Sky” in collaboration with electronic artist William Arcane. This album features extensive field recordings, a method Misch embraced while pondering the relationship between music and sound:


“Through looking into more leftfield electronic scenes, I was getting really inspired by sound beyond what we kind of define as the narrow field of music. [I’ve] always just been fascinated by soundscapes and textures within production, more than anything else. Life is so entwined with creativity. I was finding the pandemic times incredibly claustrophobic, needing to be outside and just finding a lot of solace in the sounds of nature. And yeah, that’s all been woven back into the music.”

While touring “Sample The Sky,” Misch felt a pull towards more earthy sounds, leading to the creation of “Sample The Earth,” released in June. Despite her urban roots, she has developed a deep appreciation for natural sounds, which she integrates into her music.

“You’re so enveloped in industrial sound, that [natural sound] becomes quite magical. I think there’s a primal desire to find spaces that aren’t just super saturated. And maybe growing up here, that just wasn’t my experience. Maybe it’s in the last four, five years that it’s become something. And I think the idea of field recording as well is something that was so powerful for me, because my early introduction to production was mediated through a laptop. So I’d be playing instruments on a laptop that I’d never seen in real life. And you felt kind of severed from the source of the sound. Whereas when you go out and field record, you have a real bodily connection to something, and I value that. I’m not a purist about it, but I just began to really crave that.”

In recent years, Misch has expanded her collaborations, working with musicians Marysia Osu and Tomáš Kašpar, and choreographer Chantel Foo. She is also part of NYX, an electronic drone choir known for its innovative projects. Despite her achievements, Misch remains curious and eager to learn, always adapting her musical approach. Her summer plans include recording her saxophone while wild camping:

“I want to explore what a modular set-up looks like, where you have to work with the parameters of daylight, or the weather, or how much power you have. I’m interested in what it’s like to create outside of studio contexts, but also the inspiration you can get from being outside and feeling really connected.”

These plans reflect Misch’s quest for something more meaningful than the typical cycle of recording, releasing, promoting, and touring.


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