For every musician who tastes significant success, there are countless others who fall through
the cracks: artists whose dreams of carving a career out of their passion were dashed, despite
the quality, inventiveness and imaginative nature of the music they made. Most never get to
see the music they slaved over get released, or a new generation of listeners appreciate the
demos they worked so hard on for an extended period of time.
Mila Anatoli is one such artist. Had it not been for Spacetalk’s Danny McLewin grabbing one of
only 10 acetates pressed of her early 1980s demo recordings from a record dealer in New
Jersey, her remarkable story and impressively off-kilter music would never have seen the
light of day.
Yet Anatoli deserves her moment in the spotlight and a chance to tell her tale. Despite the
hand-written information on McLewin’s acetate being almost 40 years out of date, Spacetalk
managed to find to find her – Mila had married and changed her name some years ago making
the search significantly harder.
The small amount of information the acetate provided led the search to celebrated jazz
producer and photographer Hank O’Neal who had hung out with Mila back in the early 80s
New York. He regularly took her to events and used his contacts to offer introductions to a
mixture of local heroes and global music stars. Through O’Neal, Anatoli met Arthur Russell,
Astrid Gilberto, Michael Moriaty and photographers Bert Stern and Berenice Abbot. At one
point, O’Neal even took Anatoli to a downtown studio to watch The Clash making a recording
with Allen Ginsberg.
Amazingly Hank still had many photographs of Mila taken during their time as friends in NYC
and the images used on this new release have all been taken from Hank’s archive.
Completing the reissue package alongside the original songs Danny McLewin in his Skyrager
guise and Jonny Rock have added their editing skills to two of the tracks.