Pia Isa Premieres “Follow the Sun” Video From Solo LP Distorted Chants

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Oslo, Norway’s Pia Isa will release her debut solo album, Distorted Chants, on March 25 through Argonauta Records. Also known as the bassist/vocalist of melodic and atmospheric heavybringers SuperlynxIsa — née Isaksen — found herself embarking on the endeavor during the addled course of 2020, and there is a certain element of that which shows up in the 10-song procession of the record. At 36 minutes, Distorted Chants speaks to the listener in a melancholic blend of low rumble and high melody. Songs are slow and emotionally resonant without melodrama, and on average, they grow shorter as time passes — nothing after the opening salvo of “Follow the Sun” (video premiering below), “Statistics” and “Quiet Beach” is over four minutes long — giving the effect of flashes, glimpses of memories already fading.

It is weighted, to be sure. Heavy. Isaksen wants nothing for tonal density and she’s joined by Ole Teigen, who also drums in Superlynx (he also produced here), so while the ambience is different between the two projects, that underlying familiarity is there, and it presumably helps hold together the proceedings as the depths of a song like “Statistics” are cast, or “Trauma” as the midsection guitar solo is introduced as if to emphasize just how low the band has dug. Is that you, Gary Arce? The Yawning Man guitarist/desert rock progenitor guests on three of Distorted Chants‘ tracks, “Follow the Sun” among them, but even there his signature tone is less identifiable than in some other contexts — though I’d believe that’s him following the doomed lumber of “A Hopeful Reminder” — which just means it fits better than one might expect amid the semi-goth, heavygaze, post-rock brooding of “Sleepless” or “No Straight Line.”

At just 3:10, “Mantra”pia isa Distorted Chants is nonetheless duly repetitive and ethereal, and its no-lyrics vocalizations still feel substantial given the march the song undertakes en route to the thicker lo-fi of “Every Tree” and the finale “Velvet Dreams,” which is righteous in its consistent downtroddenness; it sounds like where I wish Electric Wizard would’ve gone after Black Masses. Completely hypnotized by its own execution, but still conveying emotion to the audience. It ends cold, which also feels just about right considering the nature of the outing as a whole.

If you’ve been alive for the last two years, the specific loneliness and universal sense of loss imbued into Distorted Chants are recognizable, relatable. One can’t help but wonder how the album — which may or may not have a follow-up by then; one never knows with solo/side-projects — will sound five years from now, if that feeling of documenting that moment will continue to ring through or if the association will fade. Depends on plague, I guess, like so much else. I’ll note that I haven’t seen a lyric sheet, so I’m not trying to sit here and tell you she’s definitively writing “Statistics” about those statistics, just that sadness, the examination of self, the rerouting of creative impulses — all of these things have found a place in the shared human daily existence. By the same token, Distorted Chants isn’t without its light — Isaksen credits it largely to Arce‘s involvement; I hear it no less in her own melodies at points; why argue? — and while I wouldn’t quite call it “daring to hope,” it’s maybe daring to think about daring to dare. One step at a time, and so on.

“Follow the Sun” — not a cover of The Beatles‘ “I’ll Follow the Sun,” but probably aware of it — is the first single from Distorted Chants, for which Isaksen also handled the cover art, and you’ll find the video premiering below, followed by some comment from the auteur herself.

Please enjoy:

Pia Isa, “Follow the Sun” video premiere

Pia Isa on “Follow the Sun”:

I am excited to share Follow the Sun as the first single from the album. It was also one of the first songs I wrote for this project, and it sort of ignited a writing process where songs just came flowing. The track is a reminder that light will always come after the dark, that it is really always there, and of trying to hang onto that fact even when it is hard to. I am really lucky to have Gary Arce with me on this song, sprinkling his magic guitar tones over my heavier floating guitars. I love how it comes and goes and shines through more and more and I feel it really represents the sunlight in this soundscape. I also love how Ole’s drums and long chiming cymbals turned out on this song and the entire album.

The video is made by Joan Pople / Temple ov Saturn who also did a Superlynx video earlier this year. We had very similar ideas on how to represent a battle between darkness and light in the video, and she is just so great to work with.

PIA ISA is the solo project of bassist/vocalist Pia Isaksen from Norwegian heavy psych/doom band Superlynx. She is now ready to share her debut solo album Distorted Chants, which features Ole Teigen (Superlynx etc) on drums and a guest appearance by guitarist Gary Arce (Yawning Man, Big Scenic Nowhere etc.) on three of the songs.

Having played and written music for most of her life a solo album has been brewing in Pia’s mind for a long time. Finally everything has aligned for her first one to materialize, and Distorted Chants was recorded early 2021. As much as she loves playing with Superlynx (formed 2013) and other people her ideas for this album seemed more right to work through on her own.

All songs and lyrics are written by Pia who also plays guitars and bass in addition to singing. Gary Arce from Yawning Man, Big Scenic Nowhere, Yawning Sons, Ten East, ZUN etc. has joined in with dreamy guitars on three songs, and drums and percussion is played by Superlynx drummer Ole Teigen who also recorded, mixed and produced the album in his studio Crowtown Recordings.

Pia Isa on Facebook

Pia Isa on Instagram

Argonauta Records website

Argonauta Records on Facebook

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