Summer was conceived as an entry point for Sonae to access and wrestle with difficult themes, to engage with them authentically, artfully, personally. It was also the starting point for a collaborative audio-visual project with video artist Jennifer Trees (the confronting multimedia installation that premiers in September 2021 at Stadtgarten, Cologne).
Summer articulates these ideas using the unique musical and sonic language that Sonae has been developing across previous releases. The expressive textures and tender melodics of 2015’s Far Away is Right Around the Corner; the atmospheric noise and brute unease of 2018’s I Started Wearing Black; the vicious edges of her 2019 remix-tape Music For People Who Shave Their Heads. Summer is haunted by blistered cellos and spectral string drones, the elegant and emotive movement around diatonic harmonies that echo the classicism and bucolic themes of Vivaldi’s The Four Seasons (1775). Like Vivaldi, Sonae’s work is programmatic, presenting a progressive, intensifying narrative and suggesting aural phenomena of the natural world - buzzing insects, breaking rocks, waves crashing, dust and heat rising - and characterising the seasonal spirit as capricious, volatile and punishing. In these ways, Summer is related to pastoral traditions of European classicism, evoking the aura of doomed and dust-blown gothic grandiosity. It also has feet firmly planted within the lean, sound worlds of underground techno - pulsating four-on-the-floor beats with deep, vibrational sine-wave sub kicks; elegantly bleak, distorted atmospherics that straddle the uncanny space between corrosion and euphoria. The result is a visceral and poetic listening experience. Original, highly affecting, fully engaging body, mind and soul. (…)
Sonae’s music evokes imagination, provokes emotion, and disrupts and defies expectations. She explores the edges and intensities of experience, creating audible and embodied sensations that suggest the physical, atmospheric, and psychological effects of global warming on a living organism. We feel the fatigue, the slowness, sweatiness, dizziness, the sensations of uncomfortable warmth and burning; the atmospheres are hazy, dark and heavy, articulations are brutish and tactile, crunchy and sharp; there is restlessness and resignation, desolation and awe.
Summer is not a warning. It is not an explanation or an argument. It offers no answers. Summer simply holds up a mirror and asks us to experience and behold both the beauty and the brutality of our present reality. It is a work of protest, grief and hope, and it functions as a space for the listener to reckon with these truths and sensations for themselves. (Leah Kardos, London, June 2021)
Sonae (Sonia Güttler) is a German electronic producer and DJ, based in Cologne. Her acclaimed debut album was released in 2015 with Monika Enterprise (Berlin) followed on the same label with her second album in 2018 : ‘’I Started Wearing Black’’. Her Third album ‘’Music For People Who Shave Their Heads’’ has been released in 2019 with bit-phalanx (London).
Sonae plays live solo and with the label collective Monika Werkstatt at places like Institut Für Zukunft (Leipzig), Meakusma Festival (Eupen), Ausland (Berlin), Pop Kultur Festival (Berlin), Fusion Festival (Germany), Uh-Fest (Budapest), Cafe Oto (London), 23rpm Festival (London) The Cube (Bristol) and more on the same bill with Squarepusher, Plaid, Darkstar, Kyoka, Frank Bretschneider, Tim Exile.