Ayfer Simms finds herself enamoured by the amorphous, ethereal drifting sounds of the Boston Duo Sonnymoon. Formed whilst studying at The Berklee Collage of Music, imbued and led by the languid and loose nature of the L.A. scene, Anna Wise and her musical foil Dana Orr have since shared stages with an eclectic array of artists, including Shabazz Palaces, Flying Lotus and Roots. With a penchant for transmogrifying R&B, Sonnymoon take the genre beyond the normal excepted confines towards the avant-garde and mysterious.
Sonnymoon ‘The Courage Of Present Times’ 23rd March 2015.
Sonnymoon, The entrapped soul of the puppet doll.
With her eerie and powerful vocals Anne Wise appears with this album like the “bright soul” of a bewitched marionette that was trapped by a dubious toy maker and rests in a somber display room, anchored on a dusty shelf: Her skin is cold, her cheeks are high, round eye and innocent looking: Yet there’s an explosion of sounds enclosed in the hollow of the plastic creature and the pupils of its eyes are restlessly fluttering with that sound, click clack click clack from the batting of the eyelid: Inside is Sonnymoon’s world: A place where the usual rules of rhythm do not apply, of a suave and confident “laissez-aller”, of control of wild bits of music, ever so lightly infused by the gloom of the outside without so much affliction.
Sonnymoon’s album, The Courage Of Present Times, is a splendid mix of varied instruments and intonations, a moody vibe awakened by a voice, strong, steady and piercing like an arctic wind blowing impetuously; the rhythm breaks off, stops and gathers momentum again, there, a piano brings melancholia to the atmosphere, here a jazzy orchestra, yet elsewhere it is a lingering gospel of steel with metallic sharp sounds accompanying it, another tune displays children playing and laughing in the background while Anne rhythmically hums “innocence is gone, you’ve moved on”.
It’s every single cell of the body that is shifted from its place, the bones, and the mind, all the way to the very centre of the body: She says “The core gets hotter” and the tune builds you up to the final liberation of your limbs and mind. Discreet sounds populates the album, like little electrified bugs with unpredictable movements.
With Anna Wise and Dane Orr you can look back, through the tiny little doll’s eyes, but you cannot leave, you are trapped in their world: ‘come near the centre’ implies the tone, here are where the sorcerers of twisted beauty leave, where pieces of instruments and powerful bits of sound echoes in infinity, echoes and echoes, clack clack clack and there comes the dejected groove again.
You are not far, you are inside, that’s your soul dancing, your inner cells, your organs having a party on their own; that is your heart beating.
The single Pop Music is the epitome of the album brought to the last stage before the explosion, a tribal offbeat in the very details: it is the inside of things at microscopic level; the heart drums while veins gush from excitement, the vocal cords warm up before exhaling out, fingers tapping, the nervous system fires from within to the outer side of the body. A whistle starts the tune, like a boiler about to explode. The gathering strength of a volcano which lavas are about to be thrown out to the world, releasing the tribal groovy jungle-like presence. This track is mad. It will drive you insane with pleasure, it will fill your inside with inferno, with alacrity. AND, it ends. Abruptly. The silence that follows is part of it. They have you.