The accordion’s bellows expand and contract
with imperfect rhythm, filling and emptying
in perfect time with my soul.
This is my “cover” of Tony Conrad‘s ‘Four Violins’ (1964); one of my favourite pieces of music and just thing I need in uncertain times. I meditated further on its personal significance to me by recording this homage. It premiered on Cups n Cakes on April 3, 2020 and will be available on BandCamp and most places April 4, 2020.
Performed, recorded and mixed one morning by Amber Goodwyn.
Mastered by Orion Paradis of SoulSound Studio.
Cover image by Mike Dawson.
“…a deeply immersive, multi-disciplinary feast for the senses.” – Dominionated
Porous (movie) is an episodic, experimental, feminist, sci-fi musical created by seven director teams, one for each song on the album of the same name: Adrienne Adams, Ian Campbell, Eric Hill, Elian Mikkola, Mike Rollo, Evie Ruddy + Kyath Battie and Ania Ślusarczyk. Funded by the Saskatchewan Arts Board, the seven videos watched in sequence build a narrative about an extraterrestrial named Natural Sympathies whose space ship crashes on Earth and her ensuing journey to fix and fuel her ship, leading her to unexpected discoveries about her new surroundings. The project includes contributions and performances from several artists including Johanna Bundon, Matthew Donnelly, Avianna Hudym, Jenelle Jakobsen, Kendra Kembel, Caitlin Mullan, Risa Payant, Zoë Schneider, Shayna Stock, Jaye Shamel, Meghan Trenholm and many others.
Porous (album) was released on independent Saskatoon record label Grey Records on Friday, November 15, 2019. Exploring themes of anger and isolation, love and community, the seven songs on Porous feature drones by Ernie Dulanowsky (Pulsewidth), viola by Amber Phelps Bondaroff, percussion by Justin Hauck (Andino Suns), and a field recording by Andrea Jane Cornell (Le Fruit Vert). The album was mixed and mastered by Orion Paradis at SoulSound Studios in Regina. In addition to being released on Bandcamp and streaming sites on-line, the album can be purchased by way of download code a-fixed to limited edition rock flags, designed and screen printed by artist Caitlin Mullan. Rock flags are available for purchase on-line via BandCamp and at live shows.
Made *an album* called Porous and *a film* and *an art party* with a bunch of friends!! Get your mitts on a limited edition rock flag (pictured above), designed and printed by Caitlin Mullan over here on BandCamp.
Porous reviews and more:
- Read a review of Porous on Dominionated
- Read an interview with Natural Sympathies in Prairie Dog Magazine
- Read an interview with Natural Sympathies in the Regina Leader-Post
- Listen to the third single PRETTY IMPOSSIBLE on Cups N Cakes and read about all the news!
- Listen to an interview on Cups N Cakes xo
- Listen to an interview on The Rebel Beat xo
TBA – More one day, hopefully!
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Natural Sympathies is the solo project of Regina musician Amber Goodwyn, of the Montreal bands Cobra & Vulture and Nightwood. Natural Sympathies makes music that is an eclectic mix of playful vocal harmonies, urgent lyrics, elemental drum machine beats, organ, twisty guitar and synth. Her live shows explore her inner life through fantasy, using dance and otherworldly projections and occasionally performing with a coven of back-up dancers called The Mutual Affection.
NATURAL SYMPATHIES SHARES THE ALIEN PRACTICE OF HUMANNESS – Indie Band Guru (Spring 2020)
The artists’ overlapping realms comprised of the empathetic and fem-utopian alien we call Natural Sympathies with a reality-inflicted, high-definition human, Amber Goodwyn are in constant conversation. Though the two embodiments might suggest an aesthetic differentiation, together materializes the wholeness of one petri dish – its contents of celestial matter that expands and contracts, akin to the rich reedy organ-like sound of accordions intersecting and breathing in an imperfect rhythm via the 2020 release: “Four Accordions”. The piece is a cover, or more accurately, an interpretation of Tony Conrad’s “Four Violins” (2020). The original Conrad piece is an experimental composition revered by the artist.
Here again we are faced with a camouflage trick of Natural Sympathies: Alien as human, human as alien, free of any novelty character fracture. The listener bears witness to a technology adhered to historical context repurposed for extra-terrestrial transmission waves. These transmissions are delivered with the staggered grace of a sharp sweeping line drawn with the edge of the large hand of a grandfather’s clock. The pointed hand is dipped in ink, and journeys on scholastic paper from the hard red line column to the edge of the sheet with uneven sediment rock beneath the sheet of paper. Waves and lines vary.
SINGLE PREMIERE: NATURAL SYMPATHIES – HARD LINE – Cups N Cakes Network
The second single from her forthcoming album is called “Hard Line” and it forays slightly away from the pop realm towards more experimental territory with rich drones that compliment synths and down tempo drum machine parts. The music has a sensuous vibe that becomes the perfect backdrop for Goodwyn to deliver her first song about sexual desire. Using geometry as a running metaphor, she explores her attractions and desires.
NATURAL SYMPATHIES’ NEW SINGLE AN ANTHEM FOR PARENTS AND CAREGIVERS – Regina Leader-Post
Singing to tracks, “people don’t see the process,” said Goodwyn. “That’s why I am considering in future albums to have more instrumentation again, just to sort of be an example of a woman using these instruments.
“At the same time, the most important thing is just to do what I think is the most fun, and there’s nothing wrong with singing and dancing. And that’s another thing that should probably be challenged … Being an expert in singing is hard work and as important as being able to produce incredible beats or whatever.”
SLED ISLAND 2019 FESTIVAL GUIDE
“Amber Goodwyn, the brains behind Regina synth-pop act Natural Sympathies, may be one of Canada’s most underrated producers. As Natural Sympathies, Goodwyn makes urgent, spacious pop that feels vitally intimate, even with it’s galactic size. Live, Goodwyn calls in the services of The Mutual Affection, a group of backup dancers that make any Natural Sympathies show a must-see.”
INSTRUMENTAL: NATURAL SYMPATHIES AND THE CLARITY-INDUCING VOICE MEMOS APP – NMC Canada
“If you look at my archive of voice memos, the actual files, you’ll see similar titles that occur over a long stretch of time, because I really believe the most important ingredient in songwriting, to me, is the element of time,” Goodwyn says. “In that way the Voice Memos app is great—it captures something, an idea I feel very strongly about, and then when I come back to it, my editor brain is able to take over, and I can listen to it objectively and critically, and determine either what’s a good complement for it or I can change it in a way that will serve the song or melodic idea better.”
SONG PREMIERE! – NATURAL SYMPATHIES “SPACE INVADERS” – Runaway Pup
“Goodwyn’s vocal is well written to compliment the crisp sounds by switching between explosive, disjunct phrases and more lyrical melodic lines. The space provided in the chorus for a tweeting motive to playfully answer the words creates wonderful counterpoint, considering the previous lyric was “cannibalism”.
FEMME WAVE 2017 – SASKATCHEWAN TAKEOVER – Beatroute
“Regina’s Natural Sympathies is an intergalactic melange of electronic elements framed through an organic perspective. Bombastic synths swirl around Amber Goodwyn’s pointed and oddly anecdotal vocals, making the coolest soundtrack for a celestial road trip through time and space. This multi-talented solo act will surely take you to new dimensions and back again.”
HOW ONE SASKATCHEWAN FESTIVAL IS DEVELOPING LINEUP DIVERSITY FOR THE PRAIRIES – A.Side
“Natural Sympathies stunned on the mainstage with the help of The Mutual Affection, proving more acts should have members of their show who are there exclusively to dance.” > Read the whole article here; excellent article about an excellent festival in rural Saskatchewan by Matt Williams
[LISTEN] NATURAL SYMPATHIES – SPACE INVADERS – Ride The Tempo
Regina is perhaps not the place you’d expect music with such urban slickness and immediacy. However, despite the impressive “future gloom” provided by the beats of Jeremy MacCuish, it is the intelligent and sympathetic vocal performance of Amber Goodwyn that elevates this tune beyond mere engaging electronic pop.
6 NEW ALBUMS FROM SASK. MUSICIANS THAT YOU SHOULD LISTEN TO RIGHT NOW WHY NOT – Ominocity
“Opening with a blast of gleeful electro energy comes “Space Invaders”, the latest single in advance of the Strange Heavens EP from Regina’s Natural Sympathies. Despite the rigidity of the beats and the driving handclaps, “Space Invaders” still feels highly fluid, with light atmospheres shifting between sparseness, crystalline synth-lines and a varied vocal delivery that ranges between chorus-fiery and woozy disorientation”.
MUSIC THE BEST NEW MUSIC OF 2016: WE REVIEW NINE OF THE MOST OKAYIST SASK ARTISTS – Ominocity
“Featuring stripped-down percussion beats, obtuse synth sounds and melodic vocals comes the premiere single from Regina’s Natural Sympathies. The solo EP comes via Amber Goodwyn, her first music project post-Cobra & Vulture, a Montreal guitar-drums trio. While the drum machine pops and propels, Goodwyn’s strong voice takes center stage with loops providing a ping-pong backing effect amidst the occasional stark guitar chug. It’s a satisfying listen that seems to hint that there is much more pulsing and oscillations to come.”
Natural Sympathies – Four Accordions (2020) (independent) – April 2020
Natural Sympathies – Porous (Grey Records) – November 2019
Dialtone – Dialtone EP (independent) – September 2019
respectfulchild – respectfulchildren remix compilation – August 2019
Natural Sympathies – Strange Heavens EP (Prairie Shag Records) – June 2017
Natural Sympathies – Moon Landing Remixes (Pop Quiz Records) – June 2017
Natural Sympathies – All Wrong Single – June 2016
Cobra & Vulture – Grasslands LP (independent) – January 2013
Cobra & Vulture- Vocare EP (independent) – April 2012
Cobra & Vulture – Seer EP (Independent) – July 2011
Nightwood – Carta Marina LP (independent) – October 2009
December – Treaty 4 | Regina, SK > Rah Rah Farewell show at The Exchange
November – Treaty 4 | Regina, SK > POROUS Album / Film launch at Silt Studio
August 9 – Treaty 4 | Regina, SK @ Regina Folk Festival > DJ OFFICE SECRETARY DIRECTOR deejay set
“EXTRA-TOURRESTRIAL” SUMMER TOUR DATES
May 18 – Regina, SK at The Exchange with Robot Hive *
June 22 + 23 Calgary, AB at Sled Island Music Festival ^
June 26 – Edmonton, AB * %
June 28 – Calgary, AB * %
July 5 – Saskatoon, SK at Amigos ^
July 6 – Regina, SK at The Exchange for Grind Central Festival ^ %
July 7 – Winnipeg, MB * %
* With projections
^ With The Mutual Affection back-up dancers
% With ZINNIA
January 19 – Regina, SK @ YWCA Women’s March 10:30am, couple of songs to kick off the march Link to more info
January 26 – Regina, SK @ Winterruption Music Festival: Begonia, Natural Sympathies, Eekwol & T-Rhyme Tickets
December 1 – Saskatoon, SK @ Black Cat tavern with Friends of Foes, Gunner and Smith and Beach Body
November 25 – Regina, SK @ Saskatchewan Music Awards
October 5 – Saskatoon, SK @ PavedArts for the SoundsLike Festival After Party
August 10-12, 2018 – Regina, SK @ The Regina Folk Festival
July 27-29, 2018 – Bengough, SK @ The Gateway Music Festival
July 7, 2018 – Regina, SK @ Grind Central Records Festival
February 15 – Regina, SK @ The German Club with Bears in Hazenmore and Kakji (Facebook event)
December 15 – Regina, SK @ The Exchange with Library Voices and special guests. Tickets!
November 18 – Calgary, AB @ Femme Wave, 12pm at Blackbyrd Music – all ages show
October 18 – Regina, SK @ T+A Vinyl and Fashion with Foonyap and Hello Moth
September 8 – Regina, SK @ SWAMP FEST (German Club)
July 8 – Regina, SK @ German Club with DJ Smoke Weed Guy + Firestarter
June 24 – Calgary, AB @ Broken City for Sled Island 2017
June 17 – Regina, SK @ Neutral Ground Artist Run Centre with The Florals, respectfulchild and Ursa (Facebook event)
May 26 – Regina, SK @ The Capital (DJ SET ONLY)
May 17 – Regina, SK @ O’Hanlon’s with Ghost Twin (Winnipeg, MVB) and 3 Ninjasks (Saskatoon) (Facebook event – free admission)
April 15 – Saskatoon, SK @ Amigo’s Cantina with Little Scream (Facebook event) 12$ advance, 15$ day-of
March 4 – Regina, SK @ The Mercury with Spationauts and Johnny 2 Fingers
Jan. 21 – Regina, SK @ Neutral Ground with Guidewire, Pulsewidth, s bot n wo + DJ Talukdar
Jan. 14 – Saskatoon, SK @PAVEDarts with Ursa, respectful child and Lip Forest
Jan. 13 – Regina, SK @Drone Factory with Ursa, respectful child and Lip Forest
Sept. 17 – Regina, SK @ Creative City Centre – Pop Up Downtown 2016
Sept. 4 – Regina, SK @ Drone Factory with Psychic Pollution
Press photo credits: Gina Brass