SUNMOONSTAR: THE GREAT BARRIER REEF
Yamaha QY70 Sequencer Natasha Home
Released / July 7, 2017
Recorded in / Melbourne, Australia
Sounds like / the soundtrack to Earth
Key tracks / Satellites, Bleaching, Giverny
Where to get it / Sounds of the Dawn
Upcoming shows / July 23 at GUTFest
The Great Barrier Reef, Sunmoonstar’s forthcoming ambient album, assembles musician Natasha Home’s observations from her home in Australia, whether sitting on the shoreline in Sydney or watching the clouds go by from her apartment in Melbourne.
Home said she wanted to combine the fantasy of her own self-invented spaces, with the natural landscape of a real place: the Great Barrier Reef, off the coast of Queensland in northeastern Australia.
“I hope this music is relaxing and inspires environmental awareness, awareness of the beauty of nature [and] awareness of ourselves in space,” she said.
The 12 sparkling tracks are captivating but also socially conscious. The album is a mental tour of the reef which, due to global warming, is currently threatened by coral bleaching, a process in which coral expel the beneficial algae living in their tissues and turn white.
“There is a very sad song, it’s called “Bleaches,” Home said. “This song for me is like walking into an empty museum, with nothing but white walls and white plinths.”
Perspective shifts in “Coral Cay,” to explore underwater, between coral polyps and weeds; each tone uncovers a new species. The fourth track on the album, “Satellites,” simulates a view of the reef as visible from outer space. It floats up to the surface again, Home said, with the final song, “Giverny,” the name of Claude Monet’s home, where he painted his famous water lilies.
Raised by a family of talented and diverse musicians, Home was playing around with microphones by 5 years old. The eponymously mashed noun “Sunmoonstar” was inspired by her mother, an audio engineer, who collected bric-a-brac, candle holders and cosmically-themed bedsheets.
“She taught me how to multi-track record before I could ride a bike,” Home said.
As a child, Home was fascinated with the technical details of recording and with music, she said, that experiments with space and sound. From watching cartoons and dancing to techno, she grew to love robot concepts and archetypes like Rosie from The Jetson’s.
“The real fascination for me is that I can use this small hand-held device to record my feelings in any environment, much like a diary,” Home said. •
By Maddie Ngo
GOODE BYE: IS IT THAT BAD?
Vocals, Guitar, Production Goode Bye
Released / TBA
Recorded in / Goode Bye’s apartment
Sounds like / An epiphanic computer having a breakdown
Key tracks / okay good, one after one
Where to get it / goodebye.com
Upcoming shows / Aug. 2, location TBA
Two oversized googly eyes float atop the cover of Is It That Bad, the new album by electronic artist Goode Bye. A representation of the album, they stare disinterestedly into space, shedding three globular tears each.
“This album is about the ethics of deferred pain, and unlinking yourself from an emotional experience,” said Goode Bye, who prefers to remain unnamed. “It’s not a boohoo album. It’s constantly breaking down, and that’s how post-traumatic stuff works, but it’s fun.”
Is It That Bad is composed of layered noises, ranging from barking dogs and ceremonial humming to inaudible family dialogue and malfunctioning static. But instead of sprawling into chaos, each of the 11 songs feels deliberate and intensely intimate.
The album was produced entirely on Goode Bye’s Toshiba laptop.
“I wanted to explore how ugly computers could sound and really push my laptop,” Goode Bye said. “I wanted to use the ugliness of laptops and digital things in general to say something about pain.”
Goode Bye humorously called their writing process cliché. During the two years they worked on the album, they didn’t leave the house or talk to anyone.
“I had to record myself pretending to cry multiple times [on “one after one”], and after having to fake the tears so many times I actually began to really cry, which I felt like was a breaking point and really represented the album,” they said.
Goode Bye has performed Is It That Bad live at the Atlantic, the CMC and the Hardback Cafe, but it has yet to be released. Accompanying the live performance is a miniature light show featuring desk lamps created by Goode Bye.
And their act extends past the album. Goode Bye’s encyclopedic website is wild and consuming—they’ve written articles on modern poetics and coding, and they have a rant on millennials that every millennial will probably deny is true. •
By Savannah Hill
EDMONDSON: STRANGE DURATIONS
Keys, vocal, bass, percussion Robert Edmondson / Vocals, guitar, percussion Jack Edmondson / Sax, percussion Tod Edmondson / Guitar, synthesizer Tristan Whitehall / Violin Loren Maldoza
Released / May 8, 2017
Recorded in / California
Sounds like / The Beach Boys, Grizzly Bear
Key tracks / Turnings, Escalation, Meanwhile (especially at 1:58)
Where to get it / http://edmondson.bandcamp.com/
Upcoming shows / TBA
Brothers Robert and Jack Edmondson recorded their debut album Strange Durations during two summers in California: days spent reading, visiting the Pacific and playing music. The resulting 10 songs swell and fade like the ocean.
“I really love melodies that have a sculptural quality, ones that trace a clear, strong shape,” Robert said. “I’m also attracted to the weightless feeling of working without a steady pulse, using percussion more as a voice than a timekeeper.”
Released on vinyl and digital formats from Gainesville label Elestial Sound, Strange Durations features lush, dreamy arrangements of piano, guitar and saxophone. From the groovy guitar noodling and hummed vocals on “Possession” to the piano bench cracking captured on “Newness,” these songs take listeners into a peaceful, safe room of their own invention.
Lyrically, Strange Durations weaves together the mundane and the spiritual. Jack, who wrote the majority of the album, composed “Mobius Strip” one day at home when he couldn’t get the words “and the dishes still need to be done” out of his head. He finished the song in an hour.
Other times, it takes a little help from your friends, or your dad. Musician, music arranger and transcriber Tod Edmondson crafted horn and percussion arrangements for the album.
He also encouraged his sons to try new things.
“My dad would just say, ‘Play that differently,’” Jack said. “He helped me figure out things I literally am incapable of thinking of.”
Themes of family dynamics float throughout Strange Durations. Robert said the album was a way for him to make sense of his parents’ changing relationship over time.
“Writing music was a way to express these things that I couldn’t put into words,” he said.
“The moods captured on the album present the hopes, fears and desires I had for our family.”
The brothers each credit the other as a source of continuing inspiration and support.
“Being brothers allows us to take two separate but similar takes on life experiences and bring them to the same place in music,” Robert said. “A sibling will always be the closest there can be to simply being you, and that helps in understanding what you’re trying to say, musically or otherwise.” •
By Tyler Francischine