Live Concert Photography: Sound of Ceres with Kate Brehm “The Poof” Visual Performance at Alphaville 8/14/17
Currently comprised of founding members Ryan Hover (synths, vocals) and Karen Hover (vocals, percussion, keys), along with collaborators Derrick Bozich (synths, guitar), Jacob Graham (synths, visuals) and Ben Phelan (synths), the indie synth pop act Sound of Ceres can trace their origins to when the band’s founding husband and wife duo were members of dream pop/shoegazer act Candy Claws with whom they recorded three full-length albums, as well as a series of EPs and singles between 2009-2013. The Hovers split from their previous project to start a new band the following year, and initially the project sonically pursued a similar path — although with a greater emphasis on synths and a list of collaborators that included The Apples in Stereo’s Robert Schneider, John Ferguson and Ben Phelan, The Drums‘ Jacob Graham and for live dates, Derrick Bozich.
The then-newly formed band played shows through 2015 and at the end of that year released their debut single “Solar Mirror Anthology, Vol. 6,” which was released through Flannelgraph Records. After the release of their debut single, the band signed with Joyful Noise Recordings, who released the band’s full-length debut Nostalgia for Infinity in March 2016.
Thematically speaking, the material of Sound of Ceres’ debut effort explored the hugeness of time and space; however, the band’s sophomore effort The Twin reportedly explores the strangeness of being just one human outcome admit an infinitude of possibilities. Interestingly enough, the material of the Twin was initially inspired by Thomas Mann’s The Magic Mountain, a novel that follows the tale of Hans Castorp (named for one of the twins of Gemini), whose life as a shipbuilder gets sidetracked by a visit to a rest home in the Swiss Alps. And as the band’s Ryan Hover read the novel, elements from the novel — the snow and isolation of the Swiss mountains, echoes of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, a fixation with the number seven, all began to take a prominent role within the earliest formulation of the album.
Karen and Ryan Hover gave voice to early versions of songs, while teasing out lyrical ideas and then they sent rough sketches of the songs to their bandmates with Ryan Hover with However fashioning his bandmates instrumental contributions into new arrangements; however, much like the protagonist of The Magic Mountain, the material of The Twin underwent a massive change when Ryan and Karen Hover along with Jacob Graham arrived at the Reykjavik studio of producer Alex Somers, who has worked with Sigur Ros and Juliana Barwick, with original mixes of what was pretty much finished material. Guitars and harpsichords gave way to more analog synthesizers and melodic percussion. As the music’s dynamic range grew wider, timbres chilled, and more layers of vocals were woven into the background, a new version of The Twin emerged, a version that has the band’s sound being reminiscent of the dreamy psych pop of Brooklyn-based JOVM mainstays Pavo Pavo.