Five Favourites: Sound Of Ceres

New York-based audiovisual project Sound of Ceres create otherworldly, immersive visuals to accompany their celestial soundscapes. With new album, Emerald Sea, shimmering dreamscapes tell the story of how the universe comes to know itself. Written in three acts, it follows two deities who trail each other through the furthest reaches of experience, featuring poignant narration from Marina Abramović throughout. A truly captivating experience that’ll enliven the senses with its majestic cinematic splendour and orchestral grandeur.

We spoke to Sound Of Ceres – vocalist, lyricist and costumer K, songwriter and producer Ryan, songwriter and musician Derrick and costumer and light designer Jacob – about the five videos that have inspired their visuals and fed into their unique, innovative ideas for Emerald Sea. Have a read about their choices below and then watch the beautifully haunting video for album track ‘Arm Of Golden Flame‘ at the bottom of this feature.

The Smashing Pumpkins – ‘Tonight, Tonight’
This video, directed by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, takes me into my own early 1900s Lumière brothers fantasy. Turn of the century times when La Fée Electricité (Loïe Fuller) wore handmade dresses, seen dancing in light projections when harnessable electricity first presented itself. The handmade set pieces, opacity fades, physical world one can immerse themselves into makes this video transportive to me.
– K

Björk – ‘Hidden Place’
The visuals for ‘Hidden Place’, directed by Inez van Lamsweerde & Vinoodh Matadin and M/M (Paris), made me realise that a music video doesn’t need a million cuts to be interesting. This is one entrancing camera shot the whole time, and has been the single biggest influence on my own video/visualiser work, which usually features a simple visual composition that moves or changes slowly over the entire length of the song.
– Ryan

Björk – ‘Isobel’
Directed by Michel Gondry, this is a synesthetic masterpiece. In my opinion, Gondry pulled off one of the most ambitious things a music video director can do: create a true visual parallel to the music that is equally dynamic and agile as their imagination. I love the surreal compositions (and visual effects) that blend nature and flowing water with Björk. I also love the black and white noir texture throughout.
– Derrick

Smoke City – ‘Underwater Love
Directed by Tim Macmillan and John Lynch, this is one of my favourites. The colours and contrast are perfect in a way that you can only get from actual film stock. The whole video is essentially just playing with time: a lot of delightful water shots played in reverse, and just when you start to wonder if all this backwards, Jean Cocteau-like stuff is able to carry a whole video, they throw in some really stunning, ghostly ‘time slice photography’. This video came out two years before everyone would see this method used in the first Matrix movie, and IMO, ‘Underwater Love’ uses it to much prettier effect. The whole thing is just sparkling and sexy and fun. Serious eye candy!
– Jacob

Virgina Astley – ‘Waiting To Fall’
Here, Virginia Astley performs ‘Waiting to Fall’ for an appearance on BBC2. This was filmed at the Coventry Electric Wharf in 1982, where the beautifully weightless song somehow fits perfectly into the backdrop of gleaming industrial (moving!) machinery.
– Ryan

Massive thanks to Sound Of Ceres for sharing their Five Favourites with us!

Emerald Sea, the immersive new album from Sound Of Ceres, is out now via Joyful Noise Watch the beautifully haunting video for ‘Arm Of Golden Flame’ here:

Photo Credit: Todd Eckert

ALBUM: Bodega – ‘Broken Equipment’

Sardonic New York art-punk collective BODEGA have an insatiable appetite for philosophy, and with their latest LP Broken Equipment, they have interrogated their own identities – and the external technological influences that shape the band – with self-aware pretentious wit, techno-scepticism and scathing social commentary. The result is a wordy concept album of sorts set in NYC; a collection of cynical anti-establishment post-punk.

Following the dissolution of their previous band Bodega Bay and BODEGA’s formation in 2016, Ben Hozie and Nikki Belfiglio’s satirical musings – like those pondered on their 2018 debut Endless Scroll and 2019 extended play Shiny New Model – never shy away from self-critique. Opening their sophomore album with a dance-punk ode to identity, Hozie tries desperately to understand himself and the constant challenges NYC flings his way on ‘Thrown’. “My molecules change yet I remain / I weave and unweave my image.”

Atop an infectious twangy bassline courtesy of philosophy professor (and ‘de facto’ leader of BODEGA’s philosophy book club) Adam See, and Tai Lee’s percussive strikes, Hozie sneers at NYC’s culture of never-ending productivity in ‘Doer’, spitting out a Daft Punk-esque mantra that the city is maybe making him “bitter, harder, fatter, stressed out!” BODEGA’s sarcastic humour shines throughout their anthemic Beastie Boys/Run-DMC-style throwback (“Innovation waits for no man / Unless I lose my dongle!”), providing us with a New York slice of relatable satire.

Belfiglio takes on lead vocals for ‘Territorial Call of the Female’, dissecting female competition “because you know when the man is around / that’s when I’m putting you down.” Alternating between snarky and sweet with ease, Belfiglio’s expressionist vocalisation is complimented by Daniel Ryan’s angular new wave lead guitar lines and tone (referred to as the “insectoid” sound). This melodic sensibility continues on ‘NYC (disambiguation)’ with BODEGA taking a softer direction that is often at odds with their lyrical anger and disappointment; an honest look at NYC’s history.

Released in multiple languages prior to the LP’s release, ‘Statuette on the Console’ is another Belfiglio-sung highlight that ponders “anyone who puts their reality on your back and forces you to carry it around,” followed by the hip hop bounce of ‘C.I.R.P.’; Belfiglio and Hozie tag-teaming lyrics and wrestling media elitism whilst See, Lee, and Ryan provide ringside support with pulsating bass grooves, driving beats, and propulsive riffs.

The Cult-like love song ‘Pillar on the Bridge of You’ and The Velvet Underground inspired ‘All Past Lovers’ continue Hozie and Belfiglio’s journey of self-discovery in NYC, tackling relationships new and old, whilst ‘How Can I Help Ya?’, ‘No Blade of Grass’, and ‘Seneca The Stoic’ allow BODEGA to show off their rock and roll chops; Ryan shredding his way through the band’s ceaseless punk energy. But it is Broken Equipment’s closer, ‘After Jane’, that will leave a lasting impression.

Picking up the acoustic guitar, Hozie reflects honestly on his relationship with his mother for the album’s heartfelt final track; an emotionally raw realisation that after her death, her grace and pain now reside within him – “I’m channeling your hurt when I sing my songs” – It’s a sombre ending to an otherwise biting social satire, told through the ethos of punk rock.

BODEGA is a philosophical project and Broken Equipment is their latest thesis; an analysis of the changes occurring around us at an accelerated pace that directly inform our life experiences. Perhaps we’re the broken equipment.

Follow Bodega on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Pooneh Ghana

Ken Wynne

Track Of The Day: Momma – ‘Medicine’

A melodic reflection on the power of romantic infatuation, New York City four-piece Momma have shared their latest single ‘Medicine’. Released via Polyvinyl Record Co. & Lucky Number (Dream Wife, Sunflower Bean and Hinds), the track is an aural headrush centered around the passionate emotions that come with an all-consuming crush, full of hazy vocals and infectious guitar riffs.

Formed of Etta Friedman (guitars/vocals), Allegra Weingarten (guitars/vocals), Aron Kobayashi Ritch (bass) and Zach Capitti Fenton (drums), Momma create sounds inspired by the 90s pop and alternative scenes. Blending soft dual vocals with grunge-tinged guitars, the band seamlessly craft heady, swirling anthems focused on their observations on life and love, with new single ‘Medicine’ being a delightful combination of both.

Produced and mixed by bassist Aron Kobayashi Ritch, the single was written during a time when most of the band members were free from heartbreak. “We wanted to write about that feeling of just being addicted to someone and how someone else’s company can really feel like a drug,” the band explain, capturing this rapturous feeling via yearning lyrics and strung out riffs. The carefree accompanying visuals for the track, shot on VHS-C and directed by Hailey Heaton, reflect this heady optimism too.

Listen to ‘Medicine’ below.

Follow Momma on bandcamp, Spotify, Twitter, Instagram & Facebook

Photo Credit: Cooper Winterson

Kate Crudgington

Track Of The Day: My Idea – ‘Stay Away Still’ / ‘That’s My Idea’

Ahead of the release of their debut EP at the end of this month, New York-based indie-pop duo Nate Amos and Lily Konigsberg – aka My Idea – have now shared the first taster of the collection in the form of two singles, ‘Stay Away Still‘ and ‘That’s My Idea‘.

Kicking off to a quick start, ‘Stay Away Still‘ launches with an upbeat drum line that lays out the rhythm ahead of a rush of guitar and vocals. The tongue-in-cheek lyrics juxtapose laughter and pain in a way that’s smart and relatable, nailing a light-hearted approach to depression and existence that fuels millennial humour.

The vocals are cleverly layered. The chirpy melody is complemented by deep, almost deadpan responses beneath. At times, the two vocal lines bounce off each other like a conversation contained within one song. At others, they conflict but in a way that feels like they come from the same place – as if one is speech while the other is echoing what you actually wanted to say. Although the words are often repeated, the way the lyrics twist around each other shapes the song with a driving momentum. The strings are lovely and light, and – with this sense of brightness particularly in the solo that continues through the following verses – a real boost is given to the music.

‘Stay Away Still’ builds gradually, with new layers being introduced throughout. Finally, it swells to a big bouncy climax that comes to an abrupt stop leaving you eager for more and grateful that this song has dropped as part of My Idea’s special two-in-one release.

The second single released as a teaser ahead of My Idea’s upcoming EP is ‘That’s My Idea‘. Shorter and softer than the accompanying ‘Stay Away Still’, it offers a clear idea of what to expect from the band in its less-than-ninety second run time.

Combining provocative lyrics – which if they were written down you might imagine were a challenge or even aggressive – with an ominously gentle delivery, the vocals are breathy, but not for lack of lung power. Instead, that softness feels like a very purposeful choice that lends a human element to the track and adds an impressive weight to the words themselves. Delivering phrases like “that’s my idea,/ talking to me like it was yours the whole time/ makes me want to fight you” with such delicacy tells an entirely different story than if they were belted out. Arguably, one that’s more powerful. The words seem to come from someone just finding the strength to stand up for themselves, not quite ready to yell but tired of being spoken over.

The light, high vocals are blended with bubbly guitar that has fun with the notes and creates a pleasantly textured foundation for the track. Fleeting with a memorably sly sweetness, ‘That’s My Idea’ makes for another fantastic appetiser before the EP brings the main course.

That’s My Idea, the debut EP from My Idea, is set for release 30th July via Hardly Art.

Kirstie Summers

Photo Credit: Michael Wolever