Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Edgar's Paintings

Im having one of those wired nights where I review all my photos from my life...And came across a few of these paintings by Edgar Cuarezma from when we were dating. #Girlfriend=freemodel. I have been very lucky to have had relationships with such fine artists in my life. I wish Edgar's site was still up. He now has a baby and a wonderful wife who is also an incredible artist, Aemi Kato. He is an artesian baker in Spain at the moment. I suppose this was only 6 or 7 years ago now.....

Anyhow, heres to sharing your friends brilliance.


Wednesday, June 29, 2016

22 tracks for WILDBEAST!

Wildbeast! photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis

I have officially narrowed down my songs to 22 tracks for the new double album “Wild Beast!”

They are currently in adding mode...meaning, I am combining a lot of songs, editing and smoothing out sections as they slowly polish. I started with some 200 songs/snippets/textures and having been deleting and combining throughout the last couple of months.. So these are the strong and the mighty that remain.

WILD BEAST (A Witness To Beauty)
Words and Music by Hope Littwin

   1.     When It was over + Oh trampled Hearts
   2.     Tell Me What I Want to Hear + Slippery Girl
   3.     Bloody Mary, Bloody Mary
   4.     Boys Who Don’t Say “I Love You”
   5.     Beast Mode + Every Bullet I Doge Hits Me
   6.     Where Are you Now + Whose Gonna tame My Heart?
   7.     Black Eyed Raven + Runaway Cryin
   8.     White Flag
   9.     You Can Be My Drug until The Sun Comes Up
  10.  A River Doesn’t Struggle + Was It Always This Easy + In The Stillness Of The Water
  11.   You Underestimate My Capacity To Love
  12.   The Truth Is, I Chose You
  13.  I’m Not The Belle
  14.  Who Needs Me Now?
  15.  Concentration
  16.  Your Afraid I’ll Take It With Me When I Go
  17.  Forget your Misfortune + Choose Love
  18.   Not Loving You + Baby Make A place in your Heart For Me
  19.  Im Such A Fool for Love + One Day At A Time
  20.  Mr. Man With The Manipulative Mind + Oh no! Not Love!
  21.   Holding My Breath For What?
  22. It's You

GUEST ARTISTS! So Far signed up are:
John Nadel on Bass
Miranda Jean Sprague on back up vocals
Bryant Smith on Trombone
Jeremy Seeman on Cello
Dani Rabin on Lead Guitar
Stephanie Peilok on Violin

The Recording studio at Tribeca Flashpoint is booked for the first two weeks of August with Caleb Gray signed on again as recording engineer (woot!)

It has been very scary to write these songs. Admittedly most of them were written while crying in my guitar practice sessions…. they were extremely cathartic…. But it has been pretty gut wrenching to face my feelings of emptiness, loneliness, betrayal, anger of the past six months or so. It’s a lot-but that’s why we make art and stories-give all that a place to go…

Ironically my study of the inner beast and the beast nature represented in our mythologies have lead me to read A LOT of Zen Buddhist literature…Most specifically the work of Robina Courtin. More on that soon (that’s a whole other blog)

I do have a sense that this tumultuous transition period is coming to an end and the natural order of fall with school starting and a new life with new job and new friends is opening a beautiful, completely unknown future. It feels hopeful, it feels like light and I’m ready to tie this up with a bow (album) and release it <3 o:p="">

Ive got teeshirts coming for Wildbeast thanks to Alan Lerner and Aemivore! I am definitely considering touring this album (along with HUSK) although I’m still unsure of the timeline on that. More to come!


In other news, I've been working on a brass quintet for Gaudete Brass (to be preimiered at the EAR Taxi Festival), am commissioned to write for Quince Contemporary Vocal Ensemble and for Alma Dance Theater’s upcoming Work, "CASK" an evening Length Dance, retelling Edgar Allan Poe's "Cask of Amontillado" So that is all keeping me very busy.

More news… I decided to get a waitressing gig and stop playing so much at Potbelly. I had been feeling really stuck with my guitar playing so I started taking some extra lessons (started up Bass lessons as well!) to shake me out of my stuckness. I’ve been working 14 hour days Friday through Sunday at the restaurant, crashing on Mondays, and working my songs and taking lessons Tuesday through Thursday. I would much rather work an unmusical gig for big money than play music on autopilot (reinforcing bad habits/unawareness) for little money, you know?

As some of you may know, I have had my eye on India with the intention of studying Indian Classical Music there for a good chunk of time. Well...I recently performed at Salonathon, an event curated by a group of wonderful artists/musicians, one of whom is an Indian Classical singer herself and put me in touch with her teacher here in Chicago. So, now that I have a connection, I have decided to apply for a Fulbright scholarship through Columbia College to study Music in India next year. Let the games begin.



Saturday, March 19, 2016

"Wild Beast!" + "A Witness To Beauty"... Completing the Triptych (coming August 2016)

HUSK is a week old! My album is now officially out on Cdbaby and Spotify! Soon to hit Amazon!

So, naturally, I am in deep with my 134 voice memos from songs written in between songwriting and production for HUSK. A lot of upheaval means a lot of songs. And thats what I got.

Production was actually pretty uncomfortable for me because the part I'm best at is over...So I continued to write songs to quench the creation thirst that runs rampant....thus the 134 voice memos to now wade through.

flash forward:

These last two days, post the last of my shows/release of the album/final breakup/birthday celebrations etc has been something like this....Wake up: try not to think thoughts, drink decaf coffee (so as not to agitate inner beast) while walking on the lake.  Come home-try not to let my thoughts go to anger or heartache. Ease my body into something comfortable-nap/bath/clean some mundane, random object in my house. Make a call to cancel whatever plan I had that hour that now seems too overwhelming/pointless. Repeat X3 or until about 5pm at which point I sit with my music and start to navigate.

While walking, I am often listening to various playlists that encompass sounds, materials, textures that I'm considering/fawning over. I consider my typical emotions at different times of the day, how sounds and different daylights effect me and how my mood transfers to said sounds and how I hear and receive them.

I build up some anxiety in anticipation of creating, then go through some mantras, listen to some guided mediations, take a bath, relax, cook, lose thought.... Consider why, in this body, in this life, anxiety rushes into the open spaces...when I leave open spaces....(never empty-but open) why it bursts in with some purpose-veiled distraction...

side note: 

I have a new goal for myself.... to only create in moments of ease-or when I'm not agitated (this is a huge goal because I am nearly never comfortable). Just to see if the results are more pleasing. So I will now meditate until I reach that state-then begin and only go for as long as I can stay, honestly,  in that state. Its bizarre but often I must reset my mind every 5 minutes or so as not to let my thoughts runaway down some horrifying path. (often to feelings of betrayal or just plain sadness-my personal beast)

So! To the point!

"Wild Beast!" and "A Witness To Beauty" Is something of a double album completing the triptych that HUSK began. 

(the urgent timing of these is a combination of the intense feeling that they must be done by summer otherwise they (their essence-muses-wherever songs come from) will disappear into the ether, never to return....... and that I begin grad school in the Fall, so these songs need to get done and out before I start a very intense study of Music Composition for the screen at Columbia College)


With "Wild Beast!" I will be exploring the violent nature/emotions that desire awakens. The aggressive needs-the completely terrifying beast that takes hold of you and drags you by the collar through humiliating altercations whilst you are constantly reminded by the beast itself that you have no control over your emotions until further notice.... Until he/she, hopefully, drops you in pursuit of a new victim...

Emotions like a Chinese finger trap that feed themselves into greater and greater hysteria.

On a scholastic note...I was deeply inspired by the setting and themes of nordic mytholgy- specifically Odin and his Ravens: Huginn (thought) and Muninn (memory). (ravens had been following me around all winter-these are very intense creature to have watching/swooping/circling you)

In Norse myths, the Gods play both sides. Odin and Loki grant favors/victory to the honorable and dishonorable...just to...i dunno...mimic the brutality of nature? For a culture in which a man's survival  is based completely on his honor and the validity of his word, this is extremely traumatizing/amazing.

Anyway I love the wild feeling of those times, the stark setting, the necessity for a strong survival instinct and the culture's connection with nature and the BEASTS OF MYTHOLOGY.

My friends and I have been recently discussing the feeling of having a beast inside that is mostly guarded and sometimes dormant but very much at the edge of his/her seat-with fantasies of wrath and destruction in the name of self protection (all lies)... This album is lighting that up. Think lamps not fires.

Orchestration and texture wise, I plan to play with electronics and explore more of my blues influence.


"A Witness To Beauty"  will explore more of my jazz roots, I'm still split in some dichotomy of my musical influences...I'm sure they seep into one another from an outsiders perspective, but from the inside of my brain/guts they still need separate canvases.

It occurred to me, suddenly, while taking time to walk through the Columbia Contemporary Photography Museum before my grad school meet and greet, that maybe We stay busy because we are horrified at the grandness of our life. I
 realized in that moment, that when I don't have my hands in something beautiful, I'm terrified for my life.

Thus, this exploration begins!

*these are my musings during the creation process-everything maybe completely change.

All photos by the one, the only... Matthew Gregory Hollis
I am feeling this one as the Wild Beast! cover

Friday, March 11, 2016

HUSK release

         Whoa. Big gratitude.

HUSK, my first album of original songs is out for the world today!

Click here to purchase and write a review! 

I have been performing, writing, and recording for more than ten years, yet this is my debut album. HUSK is an intensely personal, post-apocalyptic emotional transformation, which closely mirrors the transformation/life cycle of a moth.

A. Ravenous Larvae:
       1.  Apocalyptic State of Mind
       2. Persistent Hum of Desire
       3. I'm Always Losing Myself (In Someone Else)

B. Cocoon:
        4. Find My Hand In The Dark
        5. Bombyx
        6. Desire, Desire, Desire

C. Bashing Against the Light Until Certain Death
         7. I'm Still In Love With You
         8. Your Inconvenient Love
         9. Maybe It's The End of Love
        10. Now That We're Not in Love

HUSK: (n) The hardened protective layers that shelter a gelatinous being for the duration of his/her metamorphosis.
              (adj) A quality of vocal production that is granulated, raw and worn from excessive misadventures.

MOTH: (n) Nature's most incredible metamorphosizer.
              (n) A winged, nocturnal messenger from the spirit world that navigates not by sight but by inner knowing.

I wrote these songs in a folk/country style to pay homage to my musical roots. Please enjoy as you partake in this shared journey.


All songs written by Hope Littwin.

Guitar, Vocals: Hope Littwin
Drums: Alex Atchley
Bass: Matthew Salvatore Coglianese
Violin: Mallory Linehan

Recorded by James Teitelbaum at Tribeca Flashpoint.

Overdubs and tracks 9 and 10 recorded by Caleb Gray

Mixed by Caleb Gray and Robert Littwin

Produced by: Hope and Robert Littwin


My Brother!

Many of you know my brother, Robert Littwin and have benefited from his enthusiasm, encouragement and support of Chicago's arts community. The world is undoubtedly a better place because of him and it is because of his support and encouragement that this album has become a reality. He has been the most patient, the most loyal and the most encouraging voice through this journey. I won the genealogical lottery by being born his little sister.

My Band!

Alex Atchley: Devoted, inventive, attentive, always going the extra mile to make subtle shifts in arrangements to serve the music. Always introducing me to new artists and new possibilities
Matthew Coglianese: A funky bassist with a heart of gold, a stand up human and musician who is always down to experiment and expand.
Mallory Linehan: A goddess. An incredible violinist and artist that can style hop like no other. A sharp mind, always positive, and always playful

Caleb Gray: Devoted engineer and trustworthy friend, dedicated a huge amount of time and expertise to making these tracks extra special. 

James Teitelbaum: An incredibly encouraging voice and a stellar engineer with a heart of gold and a sharp ear who organized the studio time and made the space and equiptment resources possible. You are a true blue.

Tina Radler: filmaker extraordinaire who reimagined these songs into film. My Viennese soul sister.

Matthew Gregory Hollis: Photographer. Genius. Album cover artist. He makes it seem so easy.

My first guitar teacher Scott Emmons who gave me Joni Mitchell's entire library at my second lesson and encouraged me to start writing songs. A mentor and a friend for life.

Keith and Katy Morrison and Manuel Garrido Lecca for letting me cut my teeth in the studio as a teen and being voices of encouragement.

My Parents Helen Bordon, Nestor Bordon and Michael Littwin for their steadfast support and encouragement

Friday, February 5, 2016

HUSK in its final stages

photo by Matthew Gregory Hollis.


HUSK is in its final stages! Big thanks to Caleb Gray and James Teitelbaum at Tribeca Flashpoint and to my brother Robert Littwin for engineering and mixing sessions with me these last few months. Additional big thanks and gooey love to my musicians Alex Atchley (drums), Matthew Coglianese (Bass) and Mallory Linehan (violin) for their incredible work in the studio and last but NOT least, Matthew Gregory Hollis for capturing in picture, the feeling and "it isness" the album in his incredible shots. (one of which is the photo in this post which I am considering for the album cover)

I am hoping to release this album on my birthday 3/11 so I can have a big party for all the things..... I want an excuse to have a Vietnamese food and karaoke party at this hole in the wall place near my house... #dreams

I am thinking of releasing the full album online in a "pay what you can" scenario. Not sure how that works yet but I am open to suggestions if you know better than me! (you probably do)

I also have three music videos created and edited and ready to go (just waiting on final audio mixes to release) envisioned and created by my Viennese friend and filmmaker Tina Radler. Very excited to share those soon as well!

I have lots of thoughts on what this album has meant to me to make. The thing that keeps coming to mind is that this is only the beginning.  I am almost hesitant to keep discussing my thoughts behind the work and just keep moving forward and making new songs...speaking of which...

I have already started on my second album tentatively titled "Wild Beast" which captures the movements of my internal beast. That extreme desire and wanting for something.... like animalistic craving...that really carnivorous human state that can never be satisfied just from the nature of those feelings and how they work.....That intense longing for something outside of your self that you want to consume and merge with but it cannot be given to you....

HUSK paved the way for WILD BEAST. Each album is a crystalized/fossilized moment of a violent stage in development/metamorphosis. It feels to me that HUSK is the first in a triptych of albums/works... Perhaps that is part of my hesitancy in discussing its it-isness in too much detail at this point. HUSK is somehow missing its two limbs which are coming together hard and fast! Songwriting has been fast and furious these last few months and it continues build momentum.

I am loving the explosion of creativity and support in my life right now and though times are emotionally challenging, I am feeling on top of the world and rich beyond measure thanks to my team.

Can't wait to share the finalized form of HUSK and soon after, the scratch tracks of WILD BEAST.

In the mean time here is a drawing I commissioned from artist Aemi Kato, capturing the it-isness of WILD BEAST.