- December 21, 2023: Online release
- January 13, 2024: Live performance and cassette tape release at UNIT/PITT
Sound of the Sun, Volume II is here to accompany you through the darkest day of the year. Created for the Winter Solstice of 2024, this compilation features an eclectic mix of tracks responding to this notable time of the year in the Northern Hemisphere—a time of slowness and sleep which simultaneously harbours the promise of an increase in light and the renewed progression towards brighter days. Building on our first iteration of this project which launched with the Summer Solstice of June of 2023, a new slate of artists have responded to these planetary movements on the shortest day of the year through song, storytelling, and experimental audio recordings in this second instalment of the Sound of the Sun project. Stay tuned for our event on January 13th at UNIT/PITT with live performances and the release of the Sound of the Sun, Volume II limited-edition cassette tapes.
Curated by Catherine de Montreuil and Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes.
Album artwork and design by Marisa Kriangwiwat Holmes. All tracks were recorded by the individual artists except for the following, which were recorded with additional help from CHOMS in Vancouver, BC:
- Tracks 1 + 5 are partially recorded by Nick Short
- Tracks 3 + 8 have additional mixing by Nick Short
Thank you to CHOMS community recording and production studio, and the Canada Council’s Explore and Create: Concept to Realization program for making this project possible.
About the Artists + Tracks:
ABOUT THE TRACK: Cosmic Goblets is a solar-specific track created with gleaned materials and instruments forged in fire, transformed in some way through interactions with the sun, played and recorded live. These tonal vibrations are layered over a grounding of solar oscillation data captured by the Michelson Doppler Imager and processed into audio by A. Kosovichev. Recorded outside with the summer sun on August 13, 2023. Mixed by Shyla Seller and Jenn Pearson in August and September 2023. Solar audio clips downloadable from Audio and Ringtones | NASA.
- Microtonal drone: Crystal goblets filled with solar dyes extracted from dandelion, cat’s ear, sunflower & fireweed. Crystal & brass singing bowls.
- Percussion: Plant seeds inside dried Japanese knotweed stems, bronze-cast bells.
- Ambient: Crows, bushtits, hummingbirds, water, sirens
BIO: In the Are is Shyla Seller and Jenn Pearson. They have a deep appreciation for the subtleties of microtonal sounds, vibrations, and collaborating with their environs. Shyla Seller is an archivist, editor and sometimes musician. Jenn Pearson is a haircutter, an artist, a wanderer and a gleaner. They live on the unceded ancestral territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), Sḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish), and səlilwətaɬ (Tsleil-Waututh) Nations.
ABOUT THE TRACK: listen to me (inhale exhale). a mix of sound collage, soundbath, and absurd meditation. This work is informed by the artist’s dance and somatic practices, guiding the listener to tune into their own sensations, breath, and embodiment in a non-linear, comedic, and existential exploration of ideas of wellness as they relate to sunshine and warmth.
BIO: goddaughter is the auditory project of Kait Ramsden, a queer woman of settler descent who makes dance, sound, and video art on the unceded territories of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh, and Sel̓íl̓witulh Nations. She works as a contemporary choreographer, dancer, and teacher and has expanded her practice into sound art and electronic music under the moniker goddaughter.
Spiral Remix – Goodbye to Everything
ABOUT THE TRACK: Farewell to Everything is a ritual for saying goodbye. It is the decision to never give up even in futility. It is a faint message from a future where The Earth can no longer sustain biological life. All that is left is AI, the orphan of humanity. “Farewell to Everything” is a love song for what once was and what could have been, created from the last remaining recordings of a human voice.
BIO: Spiral Remix is the experimental pop project of Montreal based musician, Claire Newton.
ABOUT THE TRACK: The Light Goes Out was created in reverence to both composer John Oswald’s Plunderphonics and a borrowed Korg Minilogue XD. It is the sound of six Sun songs collapsing upon themselves, leaving the cold droning void of space in its wake.
BIO: J Ward is an interdisciplinary artist and designer. He has exhibited in Canada & The US, programmed/curated exhibitions and screenings, has hosted several deejay residencies and writes the music substack SERMONS!. He has lived between Texas and Vancouver for many years—the former being sunny 287 days of the year, the latter being sunny for 30.
ABOUT THE TRACK: The Sun Frowns/Ang Adlaw Gakusmod centres around Tiffany Muñoz’s interest in sound healing arts techniques, featuring a specialized 126.22Hz tuning fork, tuned to the frequency of the sun, that plays as a continuous tone in the background. Orbiting around this frequency is a library of sounds she produced and collected—field recordings timed to the Solstice, spoken word, guitar, vintage sound effects records and a 1984 cassette recorded live at Vancouver’s Holy Rosary Cathedral (a meaningful relic of the church she grew up attending with her mother). During recording sessions, she used a tape modulator to sample and manipulate the warped condition of the aged choral performances. Altogether these layers form a meditation on connection and unity, outside apparent divisions of space and time, while contemplating cyclical energies and vibrational portals—from isolated transformations to cynical reverie.
This piece contains collaborations with her cousin in Oton, Philippines, Mary Rose Panique, Victoria based musician, Sadie Olchewski, plus contributions from Vancouver based musician, Jake Goodman.
*Ang Adlaw Gakusmod is the Hiligaynon Filipino language translation of the track’s title
BIO: Tiffany Muñoz is a mixed race artist of Filipina/x (Visayan) and European (Scottish/English) settler descent based on the unceded territories of the Musqueam (xʷməθkʷəy̓əm), Squamish (Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw), and Tsleil-Waututh (səl̓ilw̓ətaʔɬ) nations (Vancouver, BC). Her hybrid practice of analog and digital mediums dissects multi-layered narratives and meanings related to diasporic cultural identity and the esoteric. Across Muñoz’s visual and sound work is a complex network of interconnections reflecting a belief that matter, psychological processes and the metaphysical are constantly informing each other and intertwined. She holds a BFA from Emily Carr University.
ABOUT THE TRACK: Today mixes elements of deep electronic sound and orchestral music composition. It is made with sounds recorded directly from nature, along with newly created sounds produced with electronic media; composing and mixing them into sound collage.
BIO: Aila is a fourth-year student in Emily Carr University of Art + Design, majoring in New Media and Sound Art.
ABOUT THE TRACK: Inspired by the slavic “Szczodre Gody”, a traditional celebration of winter solstice and a welcoming of light. This amorphous tune alongside distortions of her voice features Polish winter birds: rooks, great tits and sparrows put through various plugins and vocoders – blurring the lines between nature and nurture and letting them coexist and intertwine both in harmony and dissonance.
BIO: May Flower is the music project of Maja Koperska. Maja is a queer singer-songwriter and illustrator from Poland, currently working in London, England. Her work fuses electronic music with folk, and seeks inspiration from nature.
ABOUT THE TRACK: This work combines bass clarinet, voice, electronics, and field recordings utilizing the Soma Ether, an “anti-radio”. The quality of the signals from the Ether is heavily influenced by location, time of day, and how sunny it is, as well as many other minute factors. It is sensitive to radiation and electromagnetic signals. Egress is the result of capturing new sound materials in relation to location as well as the way the artist “tunes” the Ether, filtering it through their body and through plants, used like antennae, in an approach akin to a sonic gardening practice. The track is defined not in minutes, but by those moments when the sun hits your window just right, or the length of daylight special to the congregation of roosting crows before sunset.
BIO: Olivia Valenza is an artist currently based on unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh peoples. Her compositional practice is rooted in the development of scores that can shift ways of listening, and is rooted to an “internal acoustic”—sounds that arise from places of memory and experience, and impressions left in the body. Her practice often involves improvisation and score-making; dedicated to finding ways to utilise scores in order to better listen to these internal acoustics, to each other, and to the world around us, where music is tied to ways of being.
ABOUT THE TRACK: Old Soul is the result of Hank Bull’s process of “full body piano”—a spontaneous, freely improvised method of piano-playing which involves going inside the instrument. By scraping strings, striking the harmonics, and using mallets, pie plates, guitar picks, and so on, these extended techniques produce unearthly sounds. Like a piano qi gong, the process is ultimately about focussing the body-mind to liberate the power of sound—in this case, the sound of the sun. Vocal layers are added to the track to build an acoustic “sunscape”.
BIO: Hank Bull was born in 1949 in Moh’kins’tsis/Calgary and grew up in Toronto and small towns in southern Ontario. After travels in Europe in 1968, he studied drawing and photography in Toronto under Robert Markle and Nobuo Kuobota. In 1973, he moved to unceded territories of Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil Waututh peoples (Vancouver) to join the newly formed artist-run centre Western Front. In this interdisciplinary setting, he was exposed to mail art, poetry, ceramics, improvised music and video. He produced a weekly radio broadcast, cabaret performances, shadow theatre and telecommunications projects. During the 1980s he travelled in Asia, Africa and Europe, organized international exchanges and helped to develop a Canadian network of artist-run centres. He has filled a variety of roles as artist, curator, writer, organizer and administrator. Throughout his career, he has continued an individual practice of painting, music, photography, video, sound and sculpture. The piano has been a constant throughout. He lives at the Western Front and spends a fair amount of time in swiya, territory of shíshálh Nation, as a member of the Storm Bay Art and Conservation Society.
ABOUT THE TRACK: In a queer retelling of the beautiful and bizarre folktale Daughter of the Sun, Aaron Oliver explores human’s relationship to the sun—the way we are drawn to it, and the power it holds over our lives. After astrologers predict that a new princess will bear the child of the Sun, her parents lock in in a tower with windows so high a sunbeam cannot reach her. But when she grows into an adult, she climbs to the window. The Sun’s warmth touches her for the first time—they fall in love and she becomes pregnant. A story of neighbouring kingdoms, forbidden love, exile, and “happily ever after” ensues.
BIO: Aaron Oliver is a storyteller and prop maker based in Northwest London, England, spinning tales of love, queerness, and the beauty of people. Drawing from his experience as a bi trans man, Aaron dabbles both in ancient myths and legends, unlocking the queer subtext buried within—and in original tales, taking inspiration from these traditional narratives to tell stories which often go unrepresented in the genre. Aaron performs in a large variety of venues, from libraries to theaters, community centers to cabarets, and is passionate about connecting people to storytelling now the same way they were when these stories were written.