Exoskeletons for Children

by Squalloscope

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    Squalloscope is Anna Kohlweis, who exists as a songwriter, music producer, multimedia artist, illustrator and singer based in Vienna, Austria. “Exoskeletons for Children” is her fifth full-length album after “Soft Invasions” (2012, Seayou Records) and three releases under the Paper Bird moniker.

    ”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.

    Includes unlimited streaming of Exoskeletons for Children via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.
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1.
Pando 04:44
Wearing the attire of the wolf king, which is nothing trying to remember where we keep the knives mapping out the way to the kitchen countertop with all eyes shut after midnight found a piece of evidence that i've been here before i've been truly terrified of every single phone call got a pill box for my demon's baby teeth no matter the wedding dress, i'll wear them underneath I am walking to the bloodshed to get the blood shovel i wanna make friends with the local witch coven if you're happy and you know it, check again when you got enemies like us you don't need friends don't you know i heard it through the heart line how much longer do i wait until we're alright? got bad reception in our neck of the woods so maybe they won't find us. good. There are no monsters left under the bed we used their bones to build the thing stuff the mattress with bullet proof vests and next month, just let us sleep in and we lie here in summer, naked and laughing in nights when we're not haunted by ghosts fear is a business and we're self-sufficient our love is a fresnel lens that spins and spins and spins and spins somewhere on the coast. wearing a three-piece suit like the dude on top of the cake wearing sequins that move like leaves we expand like the trembling giant gracefully, trying to get a fucking grip i know i grow nails for a number of reasons i know i lose faith for about the same we claw our way out of the hunting season we're still here and we know all their names we slide the twine through the eye move top to bottom and left to right turn the foxhounds upside down cross borders underground we don't care 'bout no uniform or protocol we grow on both sides of the wall carve your names into our skins a couple of times we don't give a shit, we just multiply.
2.
Your home taught me to smile wide and show all my teeth display anything vaguely sugary your home is a churning in the stomach an unrest in the chest your home is straight out of central casting there is a lot of space for mediocre white men you are sharpening our picket fence you say it's to defend ourselves the family room is like a lion's mouth I like what you did with the place, you really made it ours. we live in a haunted house of mirrors I pay good money for my room I pay in blood for this womb but i tiptoe through my own kitchen there are scary things around wearing human costumes 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 ’til they crack so, I am building a brand new ruin and what you've been doing? that year I spent all summer on bloody knees taking pebbles from graves tangled up in possibilities getting the ringing in my ears engraved and once you open your eyes it'd hard to unsee that the stains stains stains are everywhere. There's significance in stabbing someone with a pencil there's ignorance in every brick of the home there's brilliance in the unsentimental there's brilliance in the unsentimental (and we're outta here we name ourselves and we tattoo it under the skin of our hands) 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 til they crack.
3.
I'm sweaty and i'm hopeful on a summer night i read the news and shouldn't think things will be alright the stripes on your shirt remind me of something long ago maybe the pattern of the carpet of an airport floor or...i don't know. in the future our shoes will no longer give us blisters and everyone will know the correct anatomy of the clitoris whether or not we should get a new phony gadget whether or not we will be forgiven for our sins. and you know, being a person, it really fucks you up. but something here feels right, i think we might both be alive. i refuse to believe that big plans will work out so i knock on every single wooden surface in town it's the anxiety percussion symphony it's a highly abstract piece of music. I gotta gotta get to the bottom of this find the prize in the fucking cereal box, it's hit or bliss i'll fix this world, I'll make it right for us I'll make nice people out of all those assholes. you get a special kind of scar when you grow up in a zoo where there's a different kind of elephant in every single room. we fed the holy spirit with bread crumbs and we watched it shit on all our things sometimes i imagine the westboro baptist church picketing our funerals and i hope no one else will. and i am sitting on the corner of church and state avenue i am balancing five cents on the tip of my shoe there's a sign out in the yard with a clumsily painted dove saying something heartfelt and generic about love. like: you know, being a person, it really fucks you up. but something here feels right i think we might both be alive. (you know being a person, it really fucks you up for life) you know, being a person, it really fucks you up. but something here feels right i think we might both be alive.
4.
hey, hello, i'm outside your house. i'm on the sidewalk in my battle gear waiting for you to come out i bought a six pack and some pretzel sticks and the second cheapest wine i know it's been a while. my doctor said the other week no scream time before bed and i tried but i gotta admit since that moment i've hardly slept won't you come out and be on my team? i'll find a dangerous new sport we won't participate in. I forgot to look as old as i am next to the burning bathroom garbage can teeth and nails for my coffin lid can't get the newscast out of my head by the tracks where nothing grows all of us. juxtaposed. sanding each other's lacquer off is an okay metaphor for love. This pain is an old fashioned gazette got burn marks from cigarettes this love is a jar of medicine sometimes it ain't good for anything. got friends my age who live in graves got brains that often misbehave got milk in all my fever dreams and i am bursting, bursting at the seams. don't call me by me old names don't tell me i am somebody else. Where do all the moles go when we make mountains out of mole hills? been asking myself things like this ever since i'm off those pills went on the scenic tour along the edge around the abyss that is having to say „don't trust the police“ to little kids i was a lucky bastard with a passport and shady memberships i got all the shit (shit, shit) i'd ever want and more right at my fingertips saw a photo of you from a long time ago, i remembered that day i was just wondering if you also have trouble staying sane. hey, hello. tell me just one good thing before i lose control. hey, hello. tell me just one good thing before i lose control.
5.
I don't know shit about stars and to my knowledge they are nothing but holes in a big black bubble so you and i who can't get out can at least get some air to breathe. i don't know shit about you and to my knowledge you are nothing but a hole in my big bubble so i, myself, who can't get out can at least get some air to breathe. I'm gonna tell you that i love you sunday morning on a numbers station in code written all over our faces in lemon juice on cigarette papers in carefully arranged flickers in between phosphenes in murmurations, in coffee stains. we never have enough arms, never have enough time i got a serious problem with imagination it's been fucking with my mind it's been keeping me up at night wondering where the tremors went, following the fireflies on my bicycle around the bend into the pit and up again i want to open you up and crawl into your skin. i am 90% sampling machine and 5% mirrors and all the remaining parts are mostly xeroxed. you're 80% brass section, 10% tornado the rest is an array of things i am sort of afraid of. i am running a pseudocide hotline out of my basement i'm good at explaining what we're good at pretending you're awfully quiet for someone with such loud eyes i am asking the cards for advice, i am trying on sadness for size it's all turmoil and wonder it's all pseudo silence it's all turmoil and wonder it's all pseudo silence we never have enough arms we never have enough time i got a serious problem with imagination it's been fucking with my mind it's been keeping me up at night wondering where the tremors went, following the fireflies on my bicycle around the bend into the pit and up again i want to open you up and crawl into your skin.
6.
All Caps 03:58
(you got a heart like a can of worm holes.) we were driving down from mercury when the radio broke you were still such a goddamn long way from home i kicked the dashboard hard 29 times and turned every knob for a second there was static. i never saw so many stars at night when i still lived on earth nobody down there tells you being lost out here's got its perks sat by the side of the road to take a breath told you sometimes i dream that your ribcage caves in on your heart and i wake up in a cold sweat i suppose this is what you get when you train your brain to be an acrobat and the last thing i ever said to you was your name in all caps, in all caps. i’d like to meet you again at the personal space bar for a glass of lemonade i can sit on the other side of the room with my numbers about mortality rates got coins for the jukebox, i heard they got some classic static i'll pretend that i can dance to this, it's nothing short of magic they can say what they want bout pushing up daisies, i've been seeing a lot of you lately mostly in other people's faces, the ways they move through crowded spaces. what's closer, jordan or styx? dive down for the heck of it it's all just water, it's warmer than i expected connect, connect, connect. and i wake up in a cold sweat i suppose this is what you get when you train your brain to be an acrobat and the last thing i ever said to you was your name in all caps, in all caps. the last damn thing, then they cut the strings and my insides break and they float downstream the last damn word is just broken noise water washes over soft-spoken boys we don't pick up when it rings and rings there's no good in what this ringing means the last damn thing, the last damn thing come on, abyss, take this wedding ring.
7.
Fuel 04:31
There's no rest for the crickets for the crickets are like the troubled sea they've been carrying my troubles, all that trouble's carried me in my rocking chair out front with a book across my knees in my land-locked paradise men don't fall far from the trees i heard a symphony last night, summer's owls and cicadas i heard the ground vibrate, humming like electric wires humming like the end is nigh and the night is full or errors. humming hopeful little lies grown into trembling adult tremors and i swear it's getting better. and i swear it's getting better. so, the nails in the attic are patiently waiting to draw blood i hear the snakes coming up from the basement i am just waiting for the river to flood for a life-sized tornado in a mid-sized paper cup for the atlantic ocean in my infinity tub simon says nothing of relevance, he says „put your hands up“ he keeps huffing and puffing and oh, simon can blow us but simon can't blow this house down nor blow this house up. and i swear it's getting better to hell with this town to hell with this weather. humanity's my ultimate problematic favorite i am sobbing and i savor it, it's fogging up my brainy bits it logs into my private shit and just shrug and run with it it's wanted for assault but wait, i am running low on battery. leave the motor running when you pick me up tonight throw a pebble at the window, second one from the right they say ladies don't do what i do. well, i am glad they don't. I hope they're busy getting shit done - if not with you, then on their own. I was already screaming internally before i came into this world they gave me a body of water, i gave them a body of work. and i'm your girl, but remember i am my girl as well when this is all over we'll build things back up ourselves and don't get me wrong but you should get me a drink because sometimes i crack up and then i crumble and then i fuck up, i am a bad example and then i fall apart and i need fuel to think. at the end of the road where this town ends but people don't.
8.
Mistakeism 01:54
i'm gonna be the girl in the box the magician's assistant dismembered every night by a bunch of foul tricks I'm thinking next year in the presidential election maybe i can vote for the mighty rat king! i connect the bullet holes and see no picture way too many bullet holes to begin with got an elaborate plan not to belong anywhere but i am stuck in a shoe box at the end of the street. so, my new religion is strict mistakeism a rule book of close calls and near misses in a month or two i could be the high priestess but i'll be gone, watching things burn from a distance i got here wearing a coat made from other people's fingers i'll exit wearing nothing but my own soft shell maybe i could be a hermit or a snail if i want to as long as i look like a gazelle got stuck on a guilt trip on board of a friend ship i forgot who i was floating down the canal as an ice berg breaking into smaller and smaller pieces i am aging as an act of rebellion taking up space is my first million i am collecting your unpopular opinions got them locked away to protect the civilians it's not my job to proof i am resilient. i was sold night terrors as light errors terrified of settling down and sleeping tell me i'm not the only one always checking twice if the sleeping ones are still breathing wouldn't hold my breath I won't choke on being broke with a cracked heart and a shattered jaw bone gotta be an escape artist to break the glass ceiling if it's really all six sides of the aquarium. It might be all six sides of the aquarium. I think it's all six sides of the aquarium.
9.
Clutter 04:27
where does your road rage go when there are no streets? your sunday best is my worst case scenario clutter the floor with love, come on, cover it let there be no space for this hatred to crash. so, everything outside these four walls is just as unpredictable as what we got but still, most of the time you're the one carrying the guns and we are not. and time flies when you're a regular person doing nothing in particular except a jump to the left and then a step to the right and then a step to the right let's do the time warp again turn on the lights where it hurts. It hurts everywhere. and i lean against the door like a tired church steeple swallowing the sparrow, one of many that had flown from my tongue that spring out onto 7th avenue, singing and maybe we just woke up from a strange dream with our foremothers saying our love is bursting at the seams who are we to keep it in? turn on the lights where it hurts. And it hurts everywhere. and we march steadily, steadily, down main street.
10.
i got the eye on the prize, it says 9,99 i am searching for cash in my pockets but i'm running out of time i am late for the deadline i'll be late for dying i'll be late to my own funeral i'll get a medal for trying i got a weapon! I got a tool and it's a weapon! i got a weapon, i got the keys to my house and my heart between my knuckles learned this from a book when i was twelve it said, „it's gonna be ugly out there girl, be prepared.“ In the harbor they are hanging up dead fish by the gills you put the heater in the hallway to chase out the chills winters by the mountains won't work without vitamin pills only winters by the seaside will i am one sixteenth siren on my father's side still it's all my fault when ships collide but i upload my mellow melancholia straight into the raincloud and let it rain down and all my sisters have been called liars and all my sisters have been called hysterical and all my sisters are too angry, they say that's right, they're furious and they're coming your way. turns out the scars on their arms make them look striped like tigers they show their teeth to the world like world class fighters some of my best friends are windows they open up and i see right through them and i climb through their frames and fall three stories to the pavement some of my enemies are steel doors they open up and i see right through them and i walk out on the fire escape and run because i'm always behind on payments to a hollow body with a fresh haircut and a closet full of clean suits made of teflon and lube you aced the psychopath test, congratulations! we've been defining success in a peculiar fashion. and all my sisters have been called liars and all my sisters have been called hysterical and all my sisters are way too angry, they say that's right, they're furious and they're coming your way. and maybe we can't zip it but we can zip ourselves up up up up up.
11.
Hate Cake 03:00
i can give you a problem if you need one and a solution, it's easy. you need to sacrifice something, baby come on, eat your hate cake, gobble up the whole plate, happy birthday. you're so angry because we're close to the outlet or out of the closet or still sitting cross-legged by the dinner table at 31, 32, 33, 34, 35 because we're happily married or long dead and buried because it's unbearable we're still having fun. we just dodged a bullet, dislodged and hooded dirty and bookish, grieving and crooked awake and good looking, foul-mouthed, fuck it. You say we're obnoxious, our jack doesn't do boxes i'll write it in cross stitch for the archive of foxes. cool story, babe, now make me a sand castle unburn the witches make the fire stop faster if you turn women into shapes like i learned from men when i was younger take a long hard look at ourselves, our hunger brought us here my prefrontal cortex is a plughole vortex this stumbling fortress enters rigor mortis pulled me out here with forceps, a living breathing corpus they shot us right through the heart. oh my, how we all did our part now by the abyss mall fountain i am slowly drowning eating a donut, puking through the hole things got a bit out of control but we'll make a new glass coffin for snow white, this time it's tinted. I value my privacy, it's almost vintage from the comfort of your own home you can watch the world fall into pieces i can give you a problem if you need one and a solution, it's easy you need to sacrifice something, baby come on, eat the hate cake, gobble up the whole plate, happy birthday.
12.
Nocturnal 02:32
making a home in the corridor between the apartments on the second floor i'll cover the walls in major chords. Just let me know when you're going home. Let me know when you're leaving town. I learned to pack supplies for those who travel on i know it ain't right but that's all i can do now just let me know when you're leaving town. I dive deep down when the tide comes up got your membership card for your new club you'll never grow bitter because you'll never grow old on your way out of town you'll wear a blindfold. Is it too much to ask to stop all the clocks for the wicker basket or the pine box? any room of the house can be your cenotaph i'll send you departure through a polygraph. You can take all that's mine.
13.
Paradox 02:02
our milk carton child the apocalypse a glorified guillotine strapped to our heads some wine fueled nights we look up and get a grip but there's no string, there's no skin on our fingertips getting uncomfortable around here, it's the least i can do. i built a house in paradox just for us to break into the whole town is out in their sunday shoes to tiptoe around the fuse and we burn it all down we raise it up turn it around there's a knife fight in the street, i bring yarrow and sage i don't know how this works but so far no one's complaining i got matchsticks in my slacks, i want my cut of the empire what a time to be alive, what a time to be a liar and we burn it all down we raise it up turn it around and we burn it all down we raise it up burn it all down.

about

Squalloscope is Anna Kohlweis, who exists as a songwriter, music producer, multimedia artist, illustrator and singer based in Vienna, Austria. “Exoskeletons for Children” is her fifth full-length album after “Soft Invasions” (2012, Seayou Records) and three releases under the Paper Bird moniker.

”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.

credits

released November 17, 2017

Written, produced, recorded and mixed by Anna Kohlweis in her childhood home in Klagenfurt, as well as in various sublets and friends' apartments around Vienna.

Field recordings and various samples hidden throughout this album were recorded at Elsewhere–A Living Museum in Greensboro, North Carolina, and Paul Artspace in St. Louis, Missouri. Henry Dall-Parker is speaking on track #2; recording courtesy of the Dall-Parker family.

Artwork by Anna Kohlweis / Mastered by Florian Richling / Layout by Elvira Stein

Thank you to Aaron Dall, Elfriede & Hans Kohlweis, Klemens Kohlweis, Ceschi Ramos, Ilias Dahimene, Stevie & Norbert Dall, Renée, J.R., Henry, Madeline and Tallulah Dall-Parker, Elvira Stein, Alexander Hengl, Daniela Palma Caetano Auer, the Elsewhere community, Michael Behle & Laura Grady at Paul Artspace, Magda Grussmann, Moritz Stumvoll, Simone & Martin Dueller, Sandra Immervoll, Karl Hermann and Michaela Taschek for support, friendship and inspiration.

In memory of David Murobi and Eric Miranda.

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