Classically trained alt-pop artist, Hazel Iris, released her full-length debut album just last month. Nine Sisters is inspired by combining the craft of Art Songs with the wild beauty of California landscapes.

“Landscapes always play an essential role in my music,” says Iris. “Although each piece appears to stand alone, they are conceived as a group of sisters bonded together by distinct geographic features throughout California. In a small valley on the Central Coast there is a chain of extinct volcanoes which run into the Pacific Ocean. They are called the Nine Sisters.”

Orchestral instruments such as the harp, vibraphone and cello are woven together with modern instruments to embody nine female entities (and a volcano). By melding together traditional rhythms, instrumentation and structure, Nine Sisters fuses elements of Classical, Jazz, and Indie Folk music in order to create ten chamber pieces.

Iris recently shared new visuals for album track ‘A Prince’ HERE, but before you go, check out the top 10 tracks that utterly bewitch her…

1. Siouxsie and the Banshees – ‘Spellbound’

“Hearing ‘Spellbound’ for the first time was like being put into a trance. The power of Siouxsie’s voice over the cyclical beating of the drums is like an instant portal to another dimension.”

2. The Doors – ‘Riders On The Storm’

“Riders on the Storm takes me back to staring out of windows on long car rides through the Mojave Desert. This piece shares the same strange hypnotic atmosphere with those memories of the setting sun highlighting dark clouds on the horizon.”

3. Blondie – ‘Rapture’

“Bells, drums, and bass along with Debbie Harry’s voice relaxes me to an almost dreamlike state. I love to lie on the floor, stare into the beyond (or, mostly the ceiling) and luxuriate in it. Also the video has always given me the feeling of being at some sort of hidden carnival in an alternate world.”

4. Eddie Gale – ‘The Rain’

“’The Rain’ feels like an ancient ritual song. I can’t help but want to run barefoot through fields, forest, hills, mountains…. just thought of it makes my heart beat faster!”

5. Melanie De Biasio – ‘I Feel You’

“’I Feel You’ is perfect for whenever I need to escape/switch off for a bit. I believe she’s based the entire album on water, but there is a meditative atmosphere that transports me to a deep and still forest.”

6. Shuggie Otis – ‘Aht Uh Mi Hed’

“Shuggie Otis casts a spell with his magical use of rhythm and instrumentation – it’s like being on the beach. Just out of the water, the warm sand conforms to your body and you close your eyes as the waves crash only a few feet away. The gulls cry and there’s music somewhere in the distance. It all fades away into a mesmerising state of half consciousness…”

7. Feist – ‘Honey Honey’

“To me, the repetition of the opening vocals reflect like distant echoes of a long overland cargo train. There’s a gentle counterpoint that creates a ghostly reverie that I easily fall into when I hear this song. A bursting heart and the humming of bees…”

8. Björk – ‘Joga’

“Pure adrenaline, racing fast forward and yet floating suspended in time and space in a dream dazed bubble of ecstasy. This about sums up the first time I heard it on headphones all those years ago – I can’t imagine that it will ever change!”

9. Nina Simone – ‘I Put A Spell On You’

“The title says it all. I’m swept away before the intro is through…”

10. John Tavener – ‘The Lamb’

“I wanted to wrap up this list with something a Capella and turned to church music. There are too many enchanting pieces to go through in a short amount of time, so I chose something a bit more modern. This choral piece by the late John Tavener (poem by William Blake) was used on the soundtrack to the film La Grande Belleza. It is slow and unfolds like some sort of unearthly flower from the land of the Fae.”

Nine Sisters is out now.

You can listen to all Ask the DJ playlists on the FMS Magazine Spotify CHANNEL.

Find Hazel Iris’s playlist below and HERE.