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New Single: Clockshifter out October 15 

ACRAEA is a Brooklyn-based synth pop duo, consisting of co-composers Leora Mandel (vocalist), and Samn Johnson (production). Their upcoming single Clockshifter is the third from a lyrically-driven concept record telling the story of a queer sci-fi/fantasy romance in English and Hebrew. ACRAEA’s music centers warm, playful vocals and brims with custom synth timbres, field recordings & found sounds, and glittery, idiosyncratic textures. Leora and Samn met at Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan and later moved to NYC where they continued to work together and develop their sound and friendship. Outside of ACRAEA, Leora is a practicing psychotherapist based in Brooklyn and Samn a producer/teacher.  


Clockshifter is out on October 15. It continues the story (related in their first two singles) of an engineer who enters a passionate but unhealthy relationship (Limerence), and later discovers her partner is cheating by finding a stranger’s hair under his pillow. She lives in a future where she can use this morsel of genetic information to build a clone of his lover in order to find out who they are, and does so, culminating in a night out dancing with the new acquaintance (Ions). Clockshifter is the furthest out in the chronology so far. In it we meet this clone, discover her deepening romantic relationship with her creator and her talent for design, then see the two build a time machine together on a remote beachside. The full EP and complete story will be released in 2022.


Clockshifter also features saxophone and flute performances by composer/saxophonist Shelley Washington, and mixing/mastering by Christopher Botta. The wind arrangements were written by Samn, who also has a background in classical composition, and continues to compose. His composition teachers include Pulitzer Prize winning composer Julia Wolfe. In addition to her work as a therapist, Leora has a strong writing background, with a creative writing degree from SUNY Purchase. These backgrounds in academic art areas find expression in ACRAEAs music, which shows influence from contemporary poetry and classical music, alongside many other artists including: Björk, Sylvan Esso, Julia Holter, Purity Ring, FKA Twigs, Caroline Polachek, Jenny Hval, Charli XCX, Sigur Rós, Glüme, Sufjan Stevens, and Baths. 


Mandel and Johnson began sharing work as ACRAEA in 2021 (with the exception of one track released on a compilation under the moniker in 2017), but have privately made music together throughout the last decade. Leora is uniquely responsible for their lyrics, but their process is otherwise highly collaborative. Either band member may compose the initial melodies and chords in a song, which typically act as a starting point for extensive workshopping before reaching a final structure. They do almost all their own sound design, sampling found sounds, Leora’s voice, various instruments, animal noises ripped from youtube, whatever! They mold these into the electronics that are used in the tracks, alongside synthesizers and some acoustic instruments. While Johnson is principally responsible for electronic production, this process is a joint effort and the two often work together in the studio. In Clockshifter we hear a large variety of sounds including: Leora singing into a bottle, wind blowing through a harp on the beach, umbrellas opening and closing, drums made from slapping bare legs and stomachs, and more. 


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Clockshifter cover art

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ACRAEA band photo by Lindsay Skedgell 

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Short Promotional Videos

Clockshifter Lyrics:

My love opens oranges.
In the window, she holds one up,
eclipsing the sun.
Taste by taste, light slips
back in through slits of
disappearing fruit.

That lonely sun, our planet’s sol(e)
obsession, takes
interest too in my love.

Scene change: pretty static pulse 

Ilanit—she saw me stand
between two clasps:
blue stars and sand—
brought me
a medicine plant,
eaten in halves,
one for each hand.

Ilanit—the light slips back
between her clasps:
blue stars and sand—
caught me an owl on thread;
directions to
a time instead.

Ilanit, “a time instead”?
If you design,
I'll do the rest.
Clockshifter—built of salt,
hidden in sea
untill you call.

Ilanit, the light slips back;
“when the clock rises,
the island sinks.”
I'll meet you,
I'll meet you then—
directions to a time instead.

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