Song You Need: Ichiko Aoba’s grounded space odyssey

“Space Orphans” is an ethereal folk song with an earthly message.

May 23, 2023
Song You Need: Ichiko Aoba’s grounded space odyssey Ichiko Aoba. Photo by Kodai Kobayashi.  

The FADER’s “Songs You Need” are the tracks we can’t stop playing. Check back every day for new music and follow along on our Spotify playlist.


Ichiko Aoba is a master of quiet beauty, crafting crystalline melodies that float over subtle yet sumptuous arrangements. Her new song “Space Orphan” is an ethereal odyssey, helped along by the swelling stringscapes of Phonolite. But Ichiko’s intimate, breathy vocals and gentle acoustic guitar arpeggios are the song’s core, keeping the track soundly within the earth’s orbit.

“Space Orphans” is part of a new Brian Eno EarthPercent initiative called “The Earth As Your Co-writer,” an attempt to unite the music industry in the fight against climate change. But its earthly concerns are rooted elsewhere as well. The song was initially shared in March 2022 as an acoustic demo in response to the conflict in Ukraine, a bare-bones sketch of the new version but no less powerful for its lack of adornment. In a statement accompanying the song’s studio rendition, Aoba dedicates the track “[t]o all of you who are stuck in a war you never asked for. To all of you who are all alone in a place that seems safe. To all of the orphans who carry a lingering loneliness inside them. I hope this song reaches the child inside of you.”


Listen to both takes of “Space Orphans” and Aoba’s 2023 touring schedule below. More dates will be announced soon, according to a press release.

Ichiko Aoba 2023 tour dates

June 6 - Sydney, AU - City Recital Hall
June 7–8 - Melbourne, AU - Rising Festival

August 19 - Edinburgh, UK - Edinburgh International Festival


September 28 - Los Angeles, CA - Walt Disney Concert Hall ^
October 1 - Mexico City, MX - Foro Indie Rocks!
October 3 - Austin, TX - Paramount Theatre
October 5 - New York, NY - Radio City Music Hall ^

November 8 - Paris, FR - Pitchfork Festival Paris +

^ with Japanese Breakfast
+ with Weyes Blood

Song You Need: Ichiko Aoba’s grounded space odyssey