Greylists - Colleen 'Cosmo' Murphy

Lauren Murada
March 25, 2021

This piece is part of the Greylists series: communities sharing the music that brings them together.

Over the past 30 years Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy has been dedicated to connecting people with music. From her events like Classic Album Sundays and Lucky Cloud Loft Party, to her Cosmodelica and Balearic Breakfast radio shows, Murphy has always said that music is the common language that brings people together. “You can be from different walks of life and have nothing else in common except for this shared passion and this one particular song or album,” she said in her bio.

Murphy’s musical journey began in New York in the `90s when she hosted  house and disco radio shows on WNYU and spent her nights dancing at The Loft. Started as a private party in 1970 hosted by David Mancuso, The Loft became a haven for music lovers, inspiring people like Frankie Knuckles and Larry Levan to start their own parties. Twenty years later Murphy found herself as a regular at the party. It started her love of audiophile systems. “It completely transformed my life,” she said. Murphy eventually became Mancuso’s protégé, filling in for him and even musically hosting The Loft by herself. “She is very devoted and very pure about the music,” Mancuso told Time Out New York in 2000. “She’s one of the only people I would trust, both with the music and with the equipment, to fill in for me.”

Murphy moved to London in 1999 and brought the sound of the NY underground with her. She co-founded the Lucky Cloud Loft Party in the early 2000s with Mancuso and a team of others, including dance music historian Tim Lawrence. They invested in a state-of-the-art audiophile sound system modelled on Mancuso’s own and threw quarterly events that were strictly vinyl affairs. 

Just over a decade ago, Murphy started what has become her flagship event, Classic Album Sundays. Started as a Sunday afternoon event in London to celebrate iconic, genre-hopping records on a high-end sound system, CAS quickly erupted worldwide, and helped to pioneer the audiophile and listening bar movements, as well as the vinyl renaissance. Murphy said that the communal experience of Classic Album Sundays hit a cultural nerve. The key to Classic Album Sundays’ success is the special experience of hearing an album on a hi-fi sound system and discovering previously unheard details.  “It was to redress the way we listen to music in the 21st century – encouraging people to take the time out to savour an entire album, uninterrupted, and without diverting their attention to the noise of modern life.”

There are now CAS events across Europe, USA, Asia, and Australia which have featured esteemed guests including Nick Mason of Pink Floyd, Jarvis Cocker, Thurston Moore, Nile Rodgers, and Sister Sledge

Colleen carries the torch of her own varied musical history with her unique musical mixes. In addition to her Classic Album Sundays show on Gilles Peterson’s Worldwide FM, she hosts Cosmodelica, a radio show showcasing the diversity of dance music, from psychedelic rock to jazz funk to disco to house. The show has branched out to live shows at festivals like Dekmantel and the Worldwide Festival, as well as slots at the Giant Steps party and Boiler Room. She has continued to innovate through the 2020 lockdown with her Balearic Breakfast request show. The weekly show pushes the boundaries of what is considered ‘Balearic,’ looking at sounds beyond the poolsides of Ibiza. 2020 also saw Murphy working on production and remixes with releases for Ròisìn Murphy and Mildlife.

It’s only fitting that with a musical history so diverse, Murphy’s Greylist selections represent her eclectic tastes.

1. “Henry’s Spacewalk,” Mike Salta & Mortale

2. “For Real,” Flowers

3. “Milles Away,” Linkwood Family

4. “Mein Little Pony Kampf,” Rheinzand

5. “Vapour (Cosmodelica Remix),” Mildlife

6. “East-West,” The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

7. “Haunted House,” Lee Oskar

You can hear Colleen ‘Cosmo’ Murphy doing her thing at the Cosmodelica House Party on March 20 from 8pm to 1am GMT via Mixcloud Live. You can hear Balearic Breakfast every Tuesday from 10am to 12pm GMT on Worldwide FM or Mixcloud Live.

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