I was not really aware of the works of Lisa Bella Donna, but after finding out about the release of Systers in Synths (Medusa, collaboration with Dina Pearlman) I wanted to discover more. I think her music might be of interest to you.

We found two interesting video’s: about Lisa Bella Donna’s hidden sonic sanctuary, in which Lisa Bella Donna discusses her favorite synths (Thanks Wojciech for this tip). And another with a full concert recording of Turning Point. There is surely more to come on this artist.

Lisa Bella Donna’s hidden sonic sanctuary

Join us as we take a detailed tour of Lisa Bella Donna’s legendary home studio, Appalachian Recordings, deep in the Appalachian mountains of the eastern United States. Lisa is a longtime friend of Jamie Stillman’s since before the inception of EarthQuaker Devices in the early 90s, when they would play punk house shows together.

Lisa is a renowned recording artist, composer, sound designer, modular synthesist and educator. In this incredible episode of Show Us Your Junk, Lisa talks about her early inspirations that led her to start playing music, and eventually using electronic synthesis to craft the unique voice that she envisioned. After hearing Black Sabbath’s “Paranoid” and Wendy Carlos’s “Switched on Bach” and “Sonic Seasons,” it became clear that music was her destiny. Her stories include recording and editing commercial jingles in the 80s, selling her car to put a down payment on an Arp 2600 synthesizer, and discovering the rich characteristics of recording to 8-track tape.

While this studio packs in a ton of rare gear, Lisa claims she doesn’t consider herself a collector. “My choices are very utilitarian; pretty much everything in here is here for a purpose, and it’s part of the big picture – the great stream of what my albums become,” she says. Some of her staple instruments include the ARP 2600, ARP Odyssey, ARP Omni, Mini Moog, and Fender Rhodes. EQD pedals she frequently uses include the Rainbow Machine, Arpanoid, and Grand Orbiter, but her favorite EQD pedal is the Avalanche Run. She loves it so much that she had a custom rack mount version built, which is patched directly to her main console. “It’s one of my favorite reverbs still – one of my most used for sure.” Lisa has an interesting perspective when it comes to connecting music to visual concepts in nature and her environment. “When I compose music, I see it just as much as I hear it. I look at my arrangements as landscapes or deep woods mountain paths with all the textures and colors of the elements that surround it,” she says. This all makes sense when you see the picturesque plot of land in which she chose to settle down to build her studio and raise her daughter.

  • Shot by Chris Tran, Jeff France, David Whited, Dannesh Moosa
  • Edited by David Whited
  • Additional footage shot by Tristan Whitney Weary
  • Music by Lisa Bella Donna, EYE, Deadsea

Lisa Bella Donna – Turning Point (Full concert recording)

A special, exclusive in studio concert. Commissioned in celebration for the post premiere release of “Sisters with Transistors” by Metrograph Films.

Enjoy an evening of all new compositions performed & realized live. This is a rare glimpse into the world & private studio of Lisa’s muse. Full length album of this concert available at Lisa Bella Donna’s bandcamp page.

Lisa Bella Donna – Turning Point 1. An Omen Bird’s Departure 2. Turning Point 3. Autopsy

All compositions written, arranged, realized by Lisa Bella Donna Filmed, recorded, and mixed April 23, 2021 at Appalachian Recording