‘Valve Is Released’ by Sumn Conduit is Edition No.13 (NWAED013) in the New Editions artist series, curated by New Weird Australia.
Sumn Conduit is the duo project of Dharawal/Inuk vocalist Sonya Holowell , and modular synthesist and composer Ben Carey . Working across new music performance, electronic music composition and improvisation, Holowell and Carey have quickly become two of Sydney’s most exciting independent artists in the field. Within their unique pairing of the acoustic and electronic, the duo investigates the potential for oneness and multiplicity, exploring the threshold where one ends and the other begins. The duo navigates a spectrum of improvisational and compositional practices using a range of text, visual and conceptual scores as provocations for sounding. Their performances are strikingly dynamic, incorporating extended techniques, polyrhythms and a rich genre ambiguity resulting from their diverse backgrounds. Like a shifting storm, their sound can be both fragile and heavy, and in this duo the material pours out.
As both solo and collaborative artists their work has appeared at the Sydney Festival, Adelaide Festival, Resonant Bodies Festival, Liveworks Festival of Experimental Art, Vivid Sydney, Sydney Biennale, the NOW now Festival, Totally Huge New Music Festival, the Festival de Mùsica Electroacùstica (Chile), the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (UK) and the New York City Electroacoustic Music Festival (USA). Carey’s latest solo release METASTABILITY was released on 45rpm vinyl in June 2023 (Hospital Hill). Holowell has released two albums, Mungo with Splinter Orchestra (Splitrec) and Afternoon Tea at Six with Eishan Ensemble (Art As Catharsis).
In June 2022, after torrential rain washed out a planned Sydney performance, Sumn Conduit retreated to Carey’s studio to record what would become the duo’s first studio recording. Exploring a new methodology, the duo worked from a pre-created text source; a graphic/text score by Holowell which had been previously published in ADSR Zine. The result is Valve Is Released, a longform performance subdivided into six tracks, connecting air and steel, flesh and electricity.
1. PTW 03:10
2. What Energy 07:11
3. A, B or C 08:55
4. Hold 02:53
5. Effervesce 10:05
6. Answer 05:28
Sonya Holowell | voice
Ben Carey | modular synthesiser
Recorded at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music (June, 2022)
Mixed and Mastered by Ben Carey
Cover Image: Nicholas Astill
Press Photos: Phil Erbacher
Released September 2023