Earnest experimental solo album -- by voicelight
Album cover above is downloadable
Release date: December 7 2022 Bandcamp and SoundCloud, will be distributed December 15
Artist: Sound Animal (female, solo -- Rosemary Bensko)
Location: Berkeley, CA
Already released single: "A Life"
To be released on Bandcamp and SoundCloud before the album: "Screamer"
Music: Female voice singing lyrics, non-lyrics, speaking, and vocalizing with ever-explorations of new territory, over a combination of unexpected physical and synth instruments. Most music is progressive through-composed fugue motifs with layers of polyphony inhabit a world lush with reverb. Sound Animal is known for venturing outside the fences into areas not reserved for humans: this is not just music: this is life.
Genre: Experimental, though accessible. Breaks trip hop, future synth, and a bit of rock.
Moods: Standing up for rights, feral, soaring, whimsically playful, liminal lullaby, intensely celebrating being alive, eerie, lonely, exotic travel, dystopian, poignant
Suggested DJ: Experimental and college radio stations
Cover image self-portrait of Rosemary, 2022, Berkeley.
About the band:
Sound Animal is the artist name of Rosemary Bensko, though when speaking about her contributions, she often uses the abbreviation SA to make a distinction between herself and the band. It's primarily a one-woman band, Among around 200 songs so far under the Sound Animal moniker, around twenty-eight are collaborations with men in California, France, the Netherlands, and Poland. A few of those are joint ventures, but otherwise, SA produces all the tracks entirely. Sound Animal also features on many other bands' recordings.
There are no public performances but plenty of radio shows, such as at Stanford's KZSU, Parish News, and It's Psychedelic, Baby! podcast. Sound Animal is hired to create a soundtrack for a slow burn psychedelic psychological suspense horror movie and a complex dystopian video game, and is open to further scoring and track licensing.
Does this strangely anomalous album outside time capture the isolation that has befallen so many of us, in which moments begin to blend together, and no distinctions matter, and what is what anyway? Voices cry out unexpected things, hidden even from themselves inside stone walls, or screaming naked from the trees. Dream characters and animals cavort together. We are gaslighted, told to only believe "the news" and not feel, hear, see, or say what is real. Unless we rise up. Rise up and see farther.
A voice that really speaks to you can come out of the oddest places. Can't it.
Each song presents with a carefully composed, accessible, relatively normal, though progressive, instrumental influenced by future synth, trip hop, a bit of galloping rock, and even elements of pop -- and then gloriously destroys itself. It messes up the settings with unexpected tones and deliciously deviant inappropriate virtual instrument choices. Tracks of acoustic melodica and flute, or synth, audaciously riff off the innocent melodies, having their hedonistic way with them. New potentials for vocals are ever-explored in unforeseen directions song by song.
Vocals carry scintillating emotions even when wordless, and some explore the range of creature calls like dolphins, horses, a duck, an otter, and a woman who is her own animal. Some pieces tell poetic stories, like "Be My Spider of Delight." Others, like "See No See" and "Rise" are sincere anthems against censorship. The moods range from eerie witchy, through joyfully playful, to operatically dystopian.
Background: I was trained as a singer when young, traveling around the state to win competitions with German lieder and modernist works, and I also took advantage of a silver flute scholarship. I later taught myself to play piano by regularly traveling to a nearby mountain to visit an empty chapel built into a boulder, where the doors remained open. I play an inordinate number of instruments besides those, including guitar, bass, Thai khaen, Indian punji, Greek double shepherd's flute, drum kit, and many more. I produced the album in Berkeley.