With Astrid Sonne‘s latest mini-LP, Cliodynamics we were met with another perfect example of thoughtfully produced serene soundscapes and pristine electronics.
The Danish artist grew up on a small island Bornholm, before moving to Copenhagen when she was 16. It was during her adolescence she endured a strict regime of classical viola training as part of a pre-conservatory programme. At 18 she quit, in a bid to explore the limitless possibilities of programming music electronically. This is where Sonne found her haven – a means of expressing herself without the constraints and rigidity of the classical formula.
As a result, Sonne has staked her claim as one of the most unique artists in electronic music right now, nourishing a personable and eclectic sound meant for the deepest recesses of ones mind.
With Cliodynamics comes numerous themes, inspirations and back stories, so we sat down with Astrid Sonne to unpick the LP track by track.
One Inch Shrugs the Other Shoulder
“One Inch Shrugs The Other Shoulder” is a track that has emerged from my live performances. Last year I developed a basic side chain system where the audio coming from the computer would react to the violas output. In that way I could create an interaction between viola and computer and “OISTOS” is a result of that. It’s an improvisation I recorded in the process of making it – the system – so the viola recording actually isn’t what I initially intended. Later on, I grew to cherish it more and more, and figured that for ‘Cliodynamics’ it couldn’t be anything else than this variation.
Air Is Unfit
I made this track during a 4 month stay in Lisbon in the first half of 2018. After I released ‘Human Lines’ (February 2018), I experienced a renewed creative energy and wanted to explore new territory aesthetically. That was the context of creating ‘Air is Unfit’. Living in Lisbon was a very easy-going and carefree period of time, and the hope was to transfer some of that feeling into the music.
To Change is To Continue
This is the youngest track on ‘Cliodynamics’, composed during a time that felt heavy from existential questions and a lack of energy. The track is one big transition, a theme building up that ends up getting swallowed, overpowered, by noise until it disappears. Spacious and emotional.
“Juliusstrasse” is the oldest track on the mini-album, composed in an apartment at Juliusstrasse in Berlin. At first “Juliusstrasse” was just the name of the sketch, but then I couldn’t bring myself to change it. The piece became equal to the location, or at least very connected to the place of origin. Just as ”To Change Is To Continue”, this track is ever evolving, changing colors gradually and getting more and more spacious. “Juliusstrasse” is an exploration of how a static and “cold” sound can transition into something deeply personal and sensitive.
Area Under a Curve
“AUAC” was a part of my longer piece Ephemeral for Berlin Atonal 2018. The sounds are from my favourite VST, Serum, and its arpeggiators are set to different rates going in and out of each other.
I didn’t do any velocity adjustments, which adds a teasing vibe to the track, but I tried to maintain the emotional relatedness that the harmonics brings. For “Cliodynamics” I’ve kept the order from Ephemeral, where “AUAC” would lead up to the last piece on the record, “Strong, Calm, Slow”. So if you listen carefully you can hear that “Area Under A Curve” ends up in the same key as “Strong, Calm, Slow”.
Strong, Calm, Slow
“Strong, Calm, Slow” is inspired by European and especially Danish choir tradition, a tradition that has shaped me musically for years through singing in choirs. The progress in the piece is carried forward by the balance between pauses and movement, a deep synchronisation through consolidated breaths. It is one unified voice presented by four individuals. It was important to me that each of the singers could bring in their own vocal characteristics and explore the strength of being connected while maintaining ones own individuality. That has been kind of a metaphor for ’Cliodynamics’ as whole too. Also the piece is special to me, as I’m singing it along with three friends who I admire both personally and musically: Andrea Novel, Xenia Xamanek and Henriette Motzfeldt. ’Strong, Calm, Slow’ expresses loneliness that is shared in a space with people you care for. It addresses the importance of being able to show vulnerability.
Cliodynamics is out now via Escho.