Knitting Factory Presents
Sur Back, Stranger Cat, Xhosa, Nightspace
Sur Back is the experimental pop brainchild of former Florida ballerina, Caroline Sans. A producer at heart, Caroline marries layered combinations of guitars, vocals, and beats with string and brass instruments—producing a sound that’s equal parts whimsical and arresting. In live performance, she rounds out this synthesis with choreographed and improvised movements. Caroline draws the name of her moniker from a natural phenomenon described as "the green ray," first observed by Arctic explorer Sir George Back. The green ray is also said to be a philosophical phenomenon—a moment of epiphany where your thoughts, and the thoughts of those around you are perfectly understood—a struggle that plays a clear role throughout Caroline's tracks. "Sir" was changed to "Sur" to imply the Turkish translation of "sur"—"steer"— in hopes the music will "steer back" its listeners to epiphanies of their own. Her debut EP, Kitsch, was released in July 2016, and her second is slated for this winter.
Raised in the urban sprawl, Stranger Cat—a musical project from Cat Martino —was born out of a respite in the wilderness.
Though it’s possible you can’t place her name, if you’ve been paying attention to independent music over the past several years you have almost certainly heard Cat Martino’s voice. The Brooklyn native was Sufjan Stevens’ right hand woman for Age of Adz and All Delighted People albums and world tour, recorded/toured with Sharon Van Etten circa Epic,
she sings on the new Son Lux record Lanterns, appeared
with The Shins on SNL and Williamsburg Park. She has opened tours in US or EU for Marissa Nadler, Indians, Night Beds, Rufus Wainwright, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Patrick Watson, Gardens and Villa and more.
In 2012, Cat retreated from Brooklyn to spend the winter in the Sierra Foothills, writing and recording new songs. In snowed-in seclusion, simple melodies or beats morphed into walls of sound, sequenced in patterns of many-layered complexity.
Joined by partner in crime and multi-instrumentalist Sven Britt, each of them recorded and produced each other to make the Stranger Cat songs grow.
Often a cat would come to the sliding glass door to listen, meowing to be let in. When it appeared daily they called it Stranger Cat, and observed its alien supernatural powers, as she’d heard tell of the Foothills’ long history of UFO sightings and ghost haunts. One day they let Stranger Cat in. The plump feline ate all the kitty food and left.
For live shows, Cat & Sven concoct a mesmerizing set of sound, much bigger than just their duo. They stand out by creating an aurally and visually vivid and energetic performance, making live loops onstage using voice, synths, and drum machines, while playing guitars, and various other instruments and pedals. All of this is to serve the song - dark, sexy, soulful, playful and dream-like - that might just make you let yourself go and dance a little bit.