Said the Guests: Irina Troitskaya
by Sean
Please note: MP3s are only kept online for a short time, and if this entry is from more than a couple of weeks ago, the music probably won't be available to download any more.


If I lived in Russia, I would probably be a thief. Only - and I do mean this, only - because if I were sitting beside Irina Troitskaya on the Moscow subway, I suspect I would be unable to halt my compulsion to "borrow" one of her moleskine notebooks. For more than a year I've been watching them fill up on her flickr stream, and today the Russia I imagine is inhabited with her creations: full of feathers, light, animals and melancholy. The only thing that would stop me from nicking her creations is the knowledge that I'm already carrying them around with me, rolling like marbles in my head, or pressed into the back of my eyes like block-cuts.

I invited Irina to choose three favourite songs, and to make pictures for them. Here they are. I think you'll be as smitten as I was. Please tell her what you think.

Antony and the Johnsons - "Bird Gurl"

Irina Troitskaya - "Bird Gurl" (click for full size)
(buy I Am A Bird Now)

The Decemberists - "The Crane Wife 1 and 2"
Irina Troitskaya - "The Crane Wife" (click for full size)
(buy the Decemberists' Crane Wife)

Leonid Fedorov - "The Lamp"
Irina Troitskaya - "Red Lamp" (click for full size)
(more Fedorov)

[Irina Troitskaya was born and raised in Izhevsk, Russia - city of dead ends, sad electronic music and Finno-Ugric cultural roots. Her love of drawing led her to the Udmurt State University, where she studied arts for about five years. But it gave her nothing but weariness. For the first time in her life, drawing became an abhorrence. On graduating from university Irina quit drawing and worked for a couple of years as a TV journalist. She was a presenter of TV programs about artists and the culture of her native city. In the summer of 2003 she decided it was time for a change, packed up, and took a chance in Moscow. Since then she works and resides in the capital of Russia. She is a free-lance illustrator by day and an artist by night. "Life's too short to be someone you don't want to." (homepage, flickr)]

(Previous guest-blogs: artist Eleanor Meredith, artist Keith Greiman, artist Matthew Feyld, The Weakerthans, Parenthetical Girls, artist Daria Tessler, Clem Snide, Marcello Carlin, Beirut, Jonathan Lethem, Will Butler (Arcade Fire), Al Kratina, Eugene Mirman, artist Dave Bailey, Agent Simple, artist Keith Andrew Shore, Owen Ashworth (Casiotone for the Painfully Alone), artist Kit Malo with Alden Penner (The Unicorns) 1 2, artist Rachell Sumpter, artist Katy Horan 1 2, David Barclay (The Diskettes), artist Drew Heffron, Carl Wilson, artist Tim Moore, Michael Nau (Page France), Devin Davis, Will Sheff (Okkervil River), Edward Droste (Grizzly Bear), Hello Saferide, Damon Krukowski (Damon & Naomi), Brian Michael Roff, Howard Bilerman (producer: Silver Mt. Zion, Arcade Fire, etc.). There are many more to come.)

Posted by Sean at March 21, 2007 8:24 AM

I love it!
the illustrations capture so much emotion and yet remain completely mysterious.


(Plus great song choice)

Posted by R at March 21, 2007 10:07 AM

The end of the Leonid Fedorov song is amazing. Someone's trying to scrabble their way out of my head and I think I love it.

The illustrations are magnificent (Oh! The crane wife!). Just minutes ago, my dreams of russia were darkly inspired by bulgakov. But this... Feed us more!

(typo in the flickr link, btw.)

Posted by Adam at March 21, 2007 10:40 AM

Their faces are so lost, so human. . . absolutely wonderful. Here's hoping your talent takes you far. And your quote is completely and utterly true: "Life's too short to be someone you don't want to."

Posted by Sean at March 21, 2007 8:03 PM

thank you for sharing irina with us! her artwork is incredibly enchanting.

Posted by sheryl at March 22, 2007 11:01 AM

ah! these are so nice.

Posted by Dylan at March 22, 2007 2:06 PM

Post a comment

(Please be patient, it can be slow.)
about said the gramophone
This is a daily sampler of really good songs. All tracks are posted out of love. Please go out and buy the records.

To hear a song in your browser, click the and it will begin playing. All songs are also available to download: just right-click the link and choose 'Save as...'

All songs are removed within a few weeks of posting.

Said the Gramophone launched in March 2003, and added songs in November of that year. It was one of the world's first mp3blogs.

If you would like to say hello, find out our mailing addresses or invite us to shows, please get in touch:
Montreal, Canada: Sean
Toronto, Canada: Emma
Montreal, Canada: Jeff
Montreal, Canada: Mitz

Please don't send us emails with tons of huge attachments; if emailing a bunch of mp3s etc, send us a link to download them. We are not interested in streaming widgets like soundcloud: Said the Gramophone posts are always accompanied by MP3s.

If you are the copyright holder of any song posted here, please contact us if you would like the song taken down early. Please do not direct link to any of these tracks. Please love and wonder.

"And I shall watch the ferry-boats / and they'll get high on a bluer ocean / against tomorrow's sky / and I will never grow so old again."
about the authors
Sean Michaels is the founder of Said the Gramophone. He is a writer, critic and author of the theremin novel Us Conductors. Follow him on Twitter or reach him by email here. Click here to browse his posts.

Emma Healey writes poems and essays in Toronto. She joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. This is her website and email her here.

Jeff Miller is a Montreal-based writer and zinemaker. He is the author of Ghost Pine: All Stories True and a bunch of other stories. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Say hello on Twitter or email.

Mitz Takahashi is originally from Osaka, Japan who now lives and works as a furniture designer/maker in Montreal. English is not his first language so please forgive his glamour grammar mistakes. He is trying. He joined Said the Gramophone in 2015. Reach him by email here.

Site design and header typography by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet. The header graphic is randomized: this one is by Neale McDavitt-Van Fleet.
Dan Beirne wrote regularly for Said the Gramophone from August 2004 to December 2014. He is an actor and writer living in Toronto. Any claim he makes about his life on here is probably untrue. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.

Jordan Himelfarb wrote for Said the Gramophone from November 2004 to March 2012. He lives in Toronto. He is an opinion editor at the Toronto Star. Click here to browse his posts. Email him here.
our patrons
Said the Gramophone does not take advertising. We are supported by the incredible generosity of our readers. These were our donors in 2013.
watch StG's wonderful video contest winners

our favourite blogs
(◊ means they write about music)

Back to the World
La Blogothèque
Weird Canada
Destination: Out
Endless Banquet
A Grammar (Nitsuh Abebe)
Ill Doctrine
A London Salmagundi
Words and Music
Petites planétes
Gorilla vs Bear
Silent Shout
Clouds of Evil
The Dolby Apposition
Awesome Tapes from Africa
Matana Roberts
Pitchfork Reviews Reviews
i like you [podcast]
Nicola Meighan
radiolab [podcast]
CKUT Music
plethoric pundrigrions
Wattled Smoky Honeyeater
The Clear-Minded Creative
Torture Garden
Passion of the Weiss
Juan and Only
Horses Think
White Hotel
Then Play Long (Marcello Carlin)
Uno Moralez
Coming Up For Air (Matt Forsythe)
my love for you is a stampede of horses
It's Nice That
Song, by Toad
In Focus
WTF [podcast]
The Rest is Noise (Alex Ross)
My Daguerreotype Boyfriend
The Hood Internet

things we like in Montreal
st-viateur bagel
café olimpico
Euro-Deli Batory
le pick up
kem coba
le couteau
au pied de cochon
mamie clafoutis
tourtière australienne
chez boris
alati caserta
vices & versa
+ paltoquet, cocoa locale, idée fixe, patati patata, the sparrow, pho tay ho, qin hua dumplings, caffé italia, hung phat banh mi, caffé san simeon, meu-meu, pho lien, romodos, patisserie guillaume, patisserie rhubarbe, kazu, lallouz, maison du nord, cuisine szechuan &c

drawn + quarterly
+ bottines &c

casa + sala + the hotel
blue skies turn black
montreal improv theatre
passovah productions
le cagibi
cinema du parc
pop pmontreal
yoga teacher Thea Metcalfe

Cult Montreal
The Believer
The Morning News
The Skinny