Sound & Vision with Sister Ray

Hot on the heels of a 2022 Polaris Prize nomination for their debut album, Canada’s Sister Ray (songwriter Ella Coyes) is back with an EP of new recordings, Teeth. Even a passing listen to this unique artist points towards a deeply immersive and tangled web of influences. Soothing ambience, folk, indie rock and country all make an appearance in their tracks, with no set style ever being landed upon. It is something which makes for thoroughly rewarding repeated listens. And the below insight into the artists sound and vision picks provides the perfect accompaniment to their output to date. 

Three favourite albums:

Jeff Buckley – Grace

Jeff Buckley was one of my first favourite songwriters, and what always grabs me is the freedom and movement that is contained within this collection of songs. It’s so ornate and dramatic, in the arrangements especially. The covers are perfect – Lilac Wine being one of my favourite moments on the whole album.

Calvin Volrath – Métis Style Fiddle

Calvin Vollrath is a fiddler that I grew up listening to, and Métis Style Fiddle is a collection of duck dances, jigs, reels and waltzes. I’ve heard these tunes hundreds of times and they always feel like home. The phrasing in the duck dances has been really influential on my songwriting.

Willie Nelson Teatro

Such a gigantic record! We listened to this album so much when we were making Teeth and how expansive we wanted the drums to sound. Lanois is so present here and Emmylou’s backing vocals sit in a perfectly strange way with the way that Willie sings so ahead of the beat.

Favourite film:

Nosferatu – F. W. Murnau

Nosferatu was released in 1922 and scared the shit out of me. Based on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, over 100 years after its release it’s still horrifying and iconic. I’ve watched it many times with different scores, playlists and records (highly recommend Untrue by Burial), but in silence it’s most powerful. It was banned in Sweden until the mid 70’s and broke gender stereotypes. I LOVE THIS MOVIE.

Favourite Book:

East of Eden – John Steinbeck

East of Eden is my first and favourite Steinbeck. It’s long, ambitious, and paced in such a way that made me feel like I was going through time with many lives and generations. I reread East of Eden this year and went into it with some fear that I wouldn’t feel the magic I did in my first read, but that was so quickly put to rest. We’re taken on many forays that offer a compassionate break, as well as insights into where we are and why we’re there. He speaks to love and brutality, and is undeniably my favourite book.

A song that means a lot to you

LaraajiThis Too Shall Pass

Sun Piano is a thoroughly jubilant record, and This Too Shall Pass gave me that feeling when I wasn’t finding it anywhere else. Listening to it feels like happy tears to me now.

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