Sye Elaine Spence: "On Shadows"
with Ava Raiin
6pm doors • 7pm show
Songwriter, composer, and multimedia artist Sye Elaine Spence presents ON SHADOWS, a light and sound installation based on her debut LP MORE. Music, ambient sound, narration, light, and movement — and a 20 by 30 foot translucent screen — form an ethereal audiovisual landscape that Spence thinks of as “a meditation piece, an invocation, and a call to openness.”
Sye Elaine Spence is a New York City-based songwriter, composer, and creative director. Her audiovisual works have been featured and reviewed by NPR, Pigeons & Planes, Saint Heron, and others. Her debut album, MORE, was released on March 30th.
More unfolds an aural landscape, with contours of quiet and deep, resonant sound. Expressing gentleness and strength to bring us closer to what is essential, to what is infinite. The Self located — harmoniously paired — with The Other.
Collectively, the compositions present a moving current of lyric and melodic crescendo, aimed thematically at the embrace of vulnerability, of being and adjoining.
It appears as a personal yet subtle unearthing of introspection for Spence, who refers to the project as a meditation piece, an invocation, and a call to openness. It’s also a study of desire and discovery — a journey toward what is grounded and whole.
On Shadows is Spence’s explorative companion performance piece to More, in which she seeks to examine the “shadow self” and to intuit possible spiritual resonance within sound and light.
Called an “audio-diva superhero” by Solange’s blog Saint Heron, Ava Raiin sounds like the future of soul music. Her self-titled debut album charted at #9 on the Billboard R&B chart. Ava Raiin also ranked highly on four other Billboard charts, and debuted at #6 on the R&B and Top 40 all genres charts on iTunes. Her summer 2016 single and video “Eagle Eye” received rave reviews from AfroPunk and was named a Vimeo Staff Pick.
Raised in Minneapolis, Minnesota and Houston/Willis, Texas, Raiin was deeply involved with choirs and settled in New York City after she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin.
Open mic performances resulted in extensive work as a touring backing vocalist, including stints with Melissa Etheridge, Solange, Carly Rae Jepsen, and Blood Orange.
Raiin hs also contributed to a handful of recordings, most notably Blood Orange’s Freetown Sound — her voice is featured on four of the album’s songs, and on “Saint”, from the Negro Swan album. Raiin released her self-titled debut album independently in 2017, assisted by producer David “Sisko”, singer-songwriter Sye Elaine Spence, and producer/songwriter Robert Maxwell.