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

Track Of The Day: HAVVK – ‘Automatic’

Having been huge fans of HAVVK since they headlined our first gig at The Finsbury back in 2016, we’re super excited to hear that they will be releasing their greatly anticipated second album this Autumn. With support from the likes of Radio X, BBC 6Music and Wonderland Magazine under their belts, the Dublin-based trio have now shared a poignant new single to accompany the album announcement.

Propelled by a gritty, swirling energy, ‘Automatic’ looks back on memories of emotion-filled teenage years. Starting out by creating a gentle, sparkling atmosphere, the track builds with an angst-fuelled drive as the subtle, soaring power of Julie Hough’s distinctive celestial vocals flow. Rippling with frenzied, reverb-strewn hooks alongside a twinkling ethereal majesty reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, the track showcases HAVVK’s utterly unique knack for creating beautifully captivating soundscapes interwoven with a raging, grunge-fuelled scuzz. An exquisitely cathartic sonic fusion.

Of the track, Julie explains:

“‘Automatic’ is about cherishing childhood friendships and the way that they evolve. It’s about snapshots that will always be imprinted in our minds – for me it’s hours talking on the landline, swapping clothes, burning CDs, mitching school or going to gigs for the first time. It’s about the fuzzy feeling of nostalgia when you slip back into a conversation with an old friend as if you saw each other yesterday. But it’s also about being afraid to lose that feeling; being anxious that those memories might burnaway and having to be open to growing together even as your paths change.”

Recorded at Belfast’s Start Together Studios with GIHE fave Rocky O’Reilly, Levelling – the upcoming album from HAVVK – is set for release on 17th September via Veta Records.

Mari Lane

Photo Credit: James Byrne

Track Of The Day: Talking Violet – ‘Caterpillar’ / ‘Superego’

After taking listeners on an audible odyssey with their ethereal extended play, 2018’s Round Dreams – and following last year’s singles, ‘Bloom’ and ‘Indigo’ – Ontario four-piece Talking Violet have returned with ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’; two solid tracks of dreamy distortion and angsty lyricism which secure the band’s place as alt-rock scientists of dream-pop.

Self-described as “the loudest sleepy band you’ve ever heard”, Talking Violet have wasted no time pushing the boundaries of alternative rock with a cacophony of sonically sound elements; slowing down only to gaze at their guitar pedals. In their laboratory/studio, the Canadian quartet have cultivated their sound, crafting shimmering soundscapes that transcend genre.

First, guitarist Jay Turnbull provides lead vocals on the anxiety-driven ‘Caterpillar’, a hopeful song of self-discovery, and an ode to those of us that feel unsure of ourselves and the journey ahead: “It describes going through a time in my life where I was dealing with intense daily anxiety and felt unsure of how I was going to achieve the goals I set for myself.” From Jay’s strummed guitar melodies to the hazily picked shoe-gaze tones of guitarist Jill Goyeau, ‘Caterpillar’ is seething with emotion; further elevated by bassist Nate Blackton and Jill’s vocal harmonisation.

Next, Talking Violet tackle unhealthy friendships with ‘Superego’; a brooding performance from Jay, who reflects upon his own hesitation to end a close friendship, and accept that it was time to move forward. Jay’s haunting lyrics (“So if you stop and ask why I’m not around / Hope it doesn’t take long to figure it out”) are juxtaposed against a fuzzy soft/loud/soft dynamic reminiscent of The Smashing Pumpkins, building to a crescendo of distorted guitars, pulsating basslines, and Jeremie Brousseau’s crashing percussion.

Through the experimental use of guitar effects, Talking Violet have developed a dense, atmospheric sound that captures the feeling of dreams. So, grab your dream-pop mixtape, add ‘Caterpillar’ and ‘Superego’ to the tracklist, close your eyes, and press play.

Ken Wynne

Photo Credit: Kamryn Cusumano

LISTEN: Softcult – ‘Another Bish’

A 90s inspired guitar tune that defies the feeling of being overlooked and underestimated, Canadian duo Softcult have shared their debut single ‘Another Bish’. Informed by their love of Bikini Kill and Smashing Pumpkins, the band blend atmospheric guitars, energetic percussion and bittersweet vocals to create their hazy, antagonistic sounds.

Formed of Ontario-based twins Phoenix and Mercedes Arn Horn, Softcult cut their teeth playing live shows in their local town of Kitchener before moving on to bigger audiences on the North American tour circuit. Their experiences of playing and working within a male-dominated industry formed the foundation for their current sound, which is born from the desire to resist and relieve the pressures of existing in a patriarchal world.

‘Another Bish’ is an ultra cool example of what their resistance sounds like. Despite its confident delivery, the track aches with subdued anger, as the band say “even the baddest bish probably has a little bit of self doubt” at some points. With lyrics like “It feels like I’ve been pulling teeth / just trying to break off from your leash,” the duo reveal their desire to break free from the restrictions that they’ve encountered so far, whether that’s internally or externally.

Watch the self-directed video for ‘Another Bish’ below.

Follow Softcult on Spotify, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter for more updates.

Kate Crudgington