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Soft Animal, by Nicole Morning

Soft Animal, by Nicole Morning

Hello America Stereo Cassette

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"The first time I heard Nicole Morning's work I knew I had to put out a record of hers. Late one night earlier this year I opened an email from Nicole with an audio version of one of her stories and I played it over and over again, then forwarded it to a couple close friends, and immediately got in touch with her and asked to do a record in one of those excited, unprofessional "Where you been all my life?" moments.

Nicole's work hit me in a spectacularly profound way. THIS was the kind of work I started the label for. THIS was what I wanted to put out into the world. THIS was exactly the kind of audio literary stuff that ran contrary to the supreme bullshit of "spoken word," a term and genre I hate like a horse hates horseflies, like a punk hates Phish, like oil hates water.

Nicole's stories and poems are hard and graceful, flawless and troubled. Her writing is modern and relatable, unpretentious but deeply refined. Her voice is unique and human; a voice made for this form. You want to listen to this on long drives. You want to listen to this when you're supposed to be working. You want to listen this. I'm telling you right now. You do.

People ask me all the time how they can get me to put out an album of their writing or one of their books on tape. I tell them, "Be Nicole Morning." No, I don't say that, but I say that in different words. I tell them they should write and record something like Nicole's work, which is both devastating and illuminating. Then I send them a link to Nicole's short piece "Looking" and I say, "Listen to this because it is perfect." If they like it then I know they're my kind of people. If not, then maybe my label isn't a good fit for them. I'm not saying people who don't like Nicole's work have bad taste but ... actually maybe I am. If you don't like Nicole's work you might have bad taste. Sorry to be that asshole but it comes with the job.

Running this record label I've met (in person, I mean) maybe a quarter of the people I've released work by. Nicole and I haven't been in a room together (due of course to the virus) but I feel as if we have. We've gotten to know each other over email on late nights while Elizabeth and I were putting together the layout and exporting the files for Soft Animal. We've written long letters talking about books we like and about the work we do and the work we want to do, and maybe most of all I've spent a lot of time with Nicole's stories and poems, both in audio form and on paper. I've recommended them to countless friends. I've listened to them before writing to try to capture some of their might, emotional resonance, and skill with the language. I've spent a lot of time in the world of her work and it is a rewarding place to be. Nicole Morning of Denver, Colorado is one of my favorite writers and she should be one of yours too." -Adam Gnade
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