Suzanne Ciani & Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith | FRKWYS Vol. 13 - Sunergy (Expanded) - Pacific Blue LP
Release date: 24.3.2023
Sunergy brings together synthesists Suzanne Ciani and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith for the thirteenth installment of FRKWYS, RVNG Intl.’s intergenerational collaboration series. Revisited and expanded for a radiant, radical 2023 edition, the Pacific Coast’s panorama provides the place and head space for a musical appreciation and consideration of the ocean’s life-giving form, vast and volatile with change.
Fortuitously (as is the freaky way), Smith and Ciani were discovered to be neighbors in their small coastal community in Northern California. The two had become close friends, bonding over their experience as women musicians and, more unusually, their shared passion for the Buchla synthesizer. The music of Sunergy embraces this kinship, with Ciani and Smith respectively performing on the Buchla 200 E and the Buchla Music Easel, two modern configurations of the innovative instrument developed in the ‘60s by Don Buchla.
Sunergy was recorded in 2015 in the home where Ciani has now lived for the last three decades. Her living room overlooks the Pacific Ocean from a cliffside perch, creating an idyllic, inspired setting for music making. Setting up their synthesizers side-by- side, Ciani and Smith took turns keeping time and freely improvising for the album sessions. As a complete piece, Sunergy is shaped by slow, pulsing forms and sinuous, melodic sequences that conjure both an oceanic world and the unlimited sound made possible by modular processing. Eight years on from their meeting and recording, these sublime, expansive synergies still retain their potent transportative power.
Since its initial release in 2016, Sunergy has become a touchstone in both artist’s catalogs, marking a return to Buchla form for Ciani (who at the time had not released a new synthesizer recording in forty years), and a transformative moment for Smith, whose breakthrough instrumental album Ears was released the same year. Ciani has since toured globally, dazzling audiences with live Buchla improvisations in the vein of those heard on these recordings, and Smith has solidified her place on the vanguard of electronic pop.
Now, after years of being out of print, Suzanne Ciani and Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith’s Sunergy is re-released as an expanded LP, containing the previously CD and digital only bonus track “Retrograde.”