Track By Track Guide: Ursa Major Moving Group

Photo by Hermione Russell.

Our ‘Track By Track’ guide sheds light on the stories behind some of our favourite artists’ music.

Ursa Major Moving Group is taking us on a sonic journey through her debut solo album. Each track contains its unique soundscape created by her knack for effortlessly moving between delicate folk, stirring indie rock, flamboyant chamber pop and angular post-punk styles. This album offers something for everyone, from the rousing and anthemic lead single to steady-driving guitar-led ballads. As an artist, her debut solo album reveals her growth, evolution, and passion for creating music that speaks to her experiences.

The music is terrifyingly honest and completely untethered. It’s evident that she’s a die-hard Dylan fan in her storytelling. Complex themes are explored, including childhood alienation (she was a school refuser), gay sexuality and her identity. These themes are all reflected in a multi-hued blend of styles that recall artists like The Pixies, Talking Heads, Joni Mitchell, Arthur Russell and Julia Holter.

We’re delighted to have Ursula guide us through her upcoming album track by track. It explores her journey as an artist, and each track has its own story to tell. We’re excited for everyone to hear the album and embark on this musical journey with her.

Without further ado, over to Ursula..

This album deals with cycles and thresholds. The songs are a collection of formative moments in the life of the same soul, as it tries again and again to know itself. In each story, we hear the same voice speaking from a different ‘co-ordinate on the grid of time’, as Jeanette Winterson might say. With that entanglement in mind, let’s delve…

Reverse Invisible

“I was calm, I was a new-born rose”

It was logical to begin with a birth. Reverse Invisible is the little foetus that grows itself from its mother’s blood. It’s perhaps an outlier on the album in the sense that it’s the only song that wasn’t written under the same conditions as all the others, between 2019 and 2020. The birth of the song predates that time by a long way. Lyrical content aside, it also symbolises a birth in itself, being the first complete set of music and lyrics I was ever happy with writing. So there is a preoccupation with finding form here…and with making sense of the inescapability, in this life, of being material.

Welcome To The Noosphere

“February forever, I’m wrestling with desire for a scene”

This is an ode to synchronicity and an inquiry into the colonisation of time. When I was a teenager, I visited my grandmother in Morocco and we went to the Atlas Mountains. I was obsessed with a Bob Dylan song ‘Shelter From The Storm’ at the time and spent the whole trip writing my version of that song, with loads and loads and loads of verses. I understand Welcome To The Noosphere as a matured version of that early Dylan rip-off I wrote in the mountains. Originally it had loads of verses and a more familiar structure. The essential development from that basic Dylanesque CFCG chord progression is the moment when the song plummets into a vortex and there’s a rupture in the imagined certainty of desire. For me, that’s the moment when linearity loses its grip.

Boundaries (For Linda)

“Is there a glitch on the pathway to peace?”

This is me standing in my mother’s workshop, choking on dust and plaster, putting my hand on an unfamiliar chord shape and using it to write the whole tune, then and there. I was listening a lot to Joni Mitchell’s For The Roses, Hejira and Court and Spark and also thinking about things I’d read by Audre Lorde and James Baldwin. Most of these songs were written during peak lockdown in Spring 2020 and lyrically, I can really hear this towards the end of this song.


In a collection of essays, science fiction writer Ursula Le Guin once wrote about the menopause as a second coming of age; of the incredible capacity for certain wisdoms that this rite of passage enables. That greatly inspired this song. I am sitting in my mother’s kitchen in the early hours of the morning, looking out of the glass-paned door, as this song, too, comes out almost fully-formed. From a deep yin space and imbued with the domestic sphere, Baby is about giving birth to yourself.

Goodbye George

“Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye George,
We are a whole though they make you my enemy
Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye George,
We are a soul, you’re my measure, my energy”

This song feels a strong kinship with Céline Sciamma’s 2011 film, Tomboy.
When I was a child I loved Enid Blyton’s Famous Five books. In primary school, I called myself George after the tomboy main character. Goodbye George charts the heartbreak and horror of having to become more ‘feminine’ as secondary school beckons.

Says Diane

“Come coil, come shiver, come shape my divine”

Says Diane is the image at the centre of this album. In an underneath kind of way, this song is why the album exists. I came across an article in a Jungian journal about the individuation story of a woman who was prescribed conversion therapy during a particularly excruciating moment in her journey. I had the majority of the music written before Diane’s story found its way into the composition. The way the story and the music quickly revealed their need for one another held a kind of power that felt very significant to accommodate.

She Pixelates

“Night turns into day, virtually,
As we try to relate
Light freezes the frame,
I’m cursing the screen,
As she pixelates”

Breaking up over skype with bad internet connection. The inevitability of demise without resolution. I have very fond memories of building this up in the studio with Capitol K after our main 3-day tracking session. I think the piano overdubs and ambient section really bring out the soul of this break-up song; the sense of ambivalence: ‘I’m tired, I’m over this’…

Requiem For A Customer

“I’ll take the wind out of your sales”

I had this song title before anything else. It reminds me of when I began to notice how the announcements on the London Overground trains started referring to the public as ‘customers’ instead of ‘passengers’. I found it to be a really subtle but direct form of brainwash. In a way, this song is for Mark Fisher, who once said: “Capital is an abstract parasite, an insatiable vampire and zombie maker; but the living flesh it converts into dead labour is ours, and the zombies it makes are us.”

CF Smith

Permeating your ears with good music.

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