Posts Tagged ‘sinoia caves’

Rock Synths Mix

May 16th, 2016 | The Mix | 0 Comments

I’ve gotten really interested in synths since moving to Brooklyn. I’m not sure why, but I’ve just had a year-long craving for weird, spacey sounds.

When I was younger, back in the 90s, I associated synths with dated 80s music (think Cindy Lauper). Of course, that all changed as indie rock began reclaiming synth sounds in the mid-2000s. For a lot of kids my age it started with the “Nintendo sounds” of The Strokes‘ “12:51”. That sound wasn’t even a synth, it was just one of them playing really high on the fretboard with a good bit of chorus to make his guitar sound like a synth. But it still showed everyone that synths could sound cool in indie rock. Then when Wolf Parade put out their first album, and Spencer Krug really owned that analogue sound, I started to think these synth things were actually pretty cool. Instead of sounding big and bright, like they did on a lot of cheesy 80s stuff, Krug’s synths sounded weird and ominous.

Around this time I came across the first Black Mountain album and loved it. I found out that the so-called “Black Mountain Army” had all these satellite bands and acts. One of those acts was synth player Jeremy Schmidt‘s solo project Sinoia Caves. After a long period of unsuccessful attempts, I finally managed to hear his album The Enchanter Persuaded, and I really liked it. I’d never listened to this kind of weird, spacey, experimental stuff, or if I had, I didn’t like it. But this time I did, and through that I got into even more weird, abstract stuff likeĀ Tangerine DreamĀ and Klaus Schulze.

This mix doesn’t have any abstract stuff. I wanted to put something together that might give a friend of mine more reference points for the use of synths in rock music. Nonetheless, there’s a lot of cool sounds here.

Sinoia Caves

July 18th, 2011 | Features | 0 Comments

This week’s artist of the week has a weird, ambient-synth kind of project. There used to be more bands doing this kind of thing in the late 70’s (Tangerine Dream was a big name) but these days you don’t hear too many. This guy’s recent though, with one solid album to his name that came out in 2006 on Jagjugawar. The artist of the week is…


The project of Black Mountain-member Jeremy Shmidt, Sinoia Caves dabbles both in instrumental synth soundscapes as well as pop-style songs with heavy synth adornment. He’s actually quite good at both, I can’t say I prefer his attempt at one over the other.

The reason Sinoai Caves is this week’s band of the week has to do with my being in Israel right now studying Kabbala and the history of the region. Though synth-y music often makes us think of the future, the strange, otherworldly quality of Sinoia Caves connects with how I feel sometimes here, like I’m in another world steeped more in lore, myths, spirituality and mysticism. Kabbala’s deep metaphysics at times seem to fit almost perfectly with the vibes of Shmidt’s music: take the idea of the tzimtzum for example, which uses the analogy of G-d/Ein Sof (infinity) ‘withdrawing’ or ‘contracting himself/his light from a space to allow the existence of that which is not or that which conceals him. This idea comes from 16th century Lurianic Kabbala and signalled a revolution in Kabbalistic thought. The expanding and contracting tones of Shmidt’s synth as well seem like universes being born, expanding, changing, growing, blooming, then fading.

Like I said, Sinoia Caves‘ music isn’t only tones but pop songs or short non-synth exclusive instrumentals as well. In “Naro Way” and “The Wicker Chair” he gets a little less spacey, with the former employing a bit of a desert vibe, the latter – an instrumental song – a bit of an Indian or Middle Eastern vibe (are those tabla drums I hear being used as percussion?). The images these songs conjure up of endless sands, ancient buildings, strange voices in the wind are the images that surround one in Jerusalem, despite the modernity of the country. Every day at various hours – from the morning to the late hours of the night – you can even hear Arabic intonations echoing over the city. That’s when you know you’re a long way from Toronto…

So yeah, Sinoia Caves, pretty cool.