As the music industry continuously evolves, pushing boundaries and challenging conventions, artists like MICHAEL PETER OLSEN emerge to redefine the very essence of their chosen instruments. With an impressive career spanning nearly three decades, Olsen has had mainstream exposure through collaborations with renowned artists like Drake, Ed Sheeran, Arcade Fire, and Sharon Van Etten and developed multifaceted talents as a player, producer, composer, and Grammy-Nominated songwriter. However, it is his electric cello-based solo project, which debuted in a grimy basement club in Berlin in 2019, and his 2021 full-length Yearning Flow that truly showcased his desire to subvert expectations of what a cello can be. On his upcoming LP Narrative of a Nervous System, set to be released October 27th, 2023 via Hand Drawn Dracula records, Olsen continues his exploration of post-modernist styles, digging deeper through the possibilities of what the cello can do in the 21st century.

Growing up in a British Columbia suburb, Olsen was immersed in classical music due to his parents’ careers as musicians. Despite dedicating over 15 years to studying and performing classical pieces, he confesses, “I never really felt very connected to that music, not that it didn’t have its moments. It was a way to get out of the suburbs for me.” Though it “continually made me feel like I wasn’t good enough, it also served as a social gateway to kids I could relate to, so I kept at it.” His suburban escape was complete when he started music at the University of Toronto and fell into the soon-to-be world-renowned Canadian indie rock scene of the mid-1990s and early 2000s, playing in bands like Hidden Cameras, Jim Guthrie, Constantines, and Arcade Fire.

“As soon as I started playing in bands, I wanted to use the instrument differently,” Olsen reflects, emphasizing his desire to break away from conventional cello playing. “However, at the time, there were limited examples to draw inspiration from.” Undeterred, he embarked on a journey of sonic exploration, seeking to deconstruct and redefine the cello’s role in contemporary music.

With the release of his second full-length Narrative of a Nervous System, Olsen taps into the prevailing sense of disconnection in modern society, accentuated by the recent pandemic. The record delves into the increasing divisions between the mind and body, metaphorically capturing the struggles many individuals face with their mental health. Olsen aims to bridge this disconnect through his music and accompanying art and videos, creating a powerful fusion of sonic and visual elements.

While the album is instrumental and conceptually driven, Olsen remains committed to making the music accessible and relatable. Compared to his previous work, Narrative of a Nervous System features shorter, more melodic instrumental pieces. Olsen’s vision is further realized by including special guests Owen Pallett, Màiri Chaimbeul, alaska B, and Zoon, each representing older music traditions. Celtic, European, North American Indigenous, and Traditional Chinese are explored and stretched, offering a modern perspective on ancient intuitively based traditions.

“My production style has always been about Real vs. Fake, presenting the apparent reality of something, revealing it to be false, and then presenting the actual reality as pure fantasy. I love the simulacrum concept, that the copy is more real than real.” Olsen weaves these subversive elements into the album’s sound, challenging listeners’ expectations as to what they are hearing while still maintaining an immersive musical experience.

While Michael Peter Olsen dismantles the preconceived notions surrounding the cello, he continues to create evocative, emotional music. With its release on October 27th, 2023 via Hand Drawn Dracula Records, Narrative of a Nervous System invites listeners to explore the disconnections between mind and body and offers a transformative musical journey that resonates with both the modern world and ancient traditions.

“gush of honeyed ecstasy as a great mid-period Cocteau Twins track” – “a glorious rush of beauty and sadness. In the right setting, this one is tough to listen to without tears” – PASTE MAGAZINE

THE BEST NEW AMBIENT. [Yearning Flow] a collection of seven compositions that are equally stirring and static” – BANDCAMP

“evocative, experimental, and emotional ” – AMERICAN SONGWRITER

“ambient, glacial piece with hints of electronic influences” – CMU APPROVED

“I reject the idea that there can’t be incredible beauty in the most mundane of things” – 15 QUESTIONS MAGAZINE

“Michael Peter Olsen’s gorgeous sophomore full-length Narrative of a Nervous System has become one of my most played and well-loved albums of 2023″ – DOMINIONATED

“Program #4809, New Releases, Oct 2023 (First aired 10/31/2023)” – NEW SOUNDS


PHOTO by Jay Lolli
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PHOTO by Braden Sitter
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PHOTO by Trudy Elmore
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PHOTO by Dorota Dziong
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Narrative Of A Nervous System

1. So Far So Good
2. Biorhythms (ft. Zoon)
3. Terms Of Desertion
4. Murmurs
(ft. Mairi Chaimbeul)
5. Muscle Milk
6. Sweet Meet
(ft. Owen Pallett)
7. Feel To Heal
8. Sweat Equity (ft. alaska B)
9. It’s Complicated

digital bonus:
10. Pronoia
11. NightBikes

HDD108  · RELEASE DATE: October 27, 2023

Limited Edition of 300 Worldwide on 180g Blood Red in Ultra Clear Vinyl, Satin Finish Gatefold Jacket, Poly-Lined Inner Sleeve.

Produced, Recorded and Mixed by Michael Peter Olsen
Mastered by David Travers-Smith
Gatefold cello anatomy illustration by Ian Sullivan Cant
Album artwork and design by James Mejia

All tracks Michael Peter Olsen on Electric Cello
Zoon on Electric Guitar, Voice, Frame Drum on “Biorhythms”
Mairi Chaimbeul on Harp on “Murmurs”
Owen Pallett on Violin, Viola, Violoncello de Spalla on “Sweet Meet”
alaska B on Drums, Percussion, Synths on “Sweat Equity”


Yearning Flow

1. Goals
3. MoonMist
4. 7 Days
5. Ours
6. Cloud Parade

HDD083  · RELEASE DATE: January 15, 2021

Limited Edition embossed jacket & color in color (white / transparent) vinyl.

All songs : Michael Peter Olsen – Electric Cello, Acoustic Cello
MoonMist : Chris Evans – Synth Guitar
7 Days : Todor Kobakov – Modular Synth
Ours : Brandon Lim – Bass Guitar
Cloud Parade : Merival – Voice

Recorded in Toronto, Ontario
Produced and mixed by Michael Peter Olsen
Mastered by David Travers-Smith
Design by James Mejia



1. Mayday

HDD081  · RELEASE DATE: February 28, 2020

Written and Produced by Michael Peter Olsen
Mastered by David Travers-Smith
Rendering by Trudy Elmore
Design by James Mejia


FlimFlam ft. I am Robot and Proud

1. FlimFlam (ft. I am Robot and Proud)

HDD095  · RELEASE DATE: August 13, 2021

Recorded by Shaw-Han Liem
Mixed by Michael Peter Olsen
Mastered by David Travers Smith
Art by Shaw-Han Liem


Bledda ft. SUV

1. Bledda (ft. SUV)

HDD095  · RELEASE DATE: December 17, 2021

Produced by Michael Peter Olsen & SUV
Mixed by Michael Peter Olsen
Mastered by David Travers Smith
Art by Derek McKeon


Falling Forward

1. Falling Forward

HDD081  · RELEASE DATE: September 25, 2020

Written and Produced by Michael Peter Olsen
Mastered by David Travers-Smith
Falling Forward Art by Dorota Dziong

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