Sound of Ceres Lands With Interplanetary Debut LP

Sound of Ceres, the new project from ex-Candy Claws duo Karen and Ryan Hover, is unsettling. It’s dreamy and David Lynchian. Drone-y and majestic. It’s supposedly about space and existential dread. It’s everything except what the band cites as a main influence: Brazilian bossa nova.

“We were really into bossa nova,” says frontman Hover. “That light Latin sound. We started writing things in that style, and then it took its own course.”

It’s an odd influence to cite considering their first single, “Hand of Winter,” sounds more like the soundtrack to a space walk than music that makes you want to grab a piña colada and lie on the beach. But then again, Karen and Ryan have always embraced the odd.

“While Candy Claws explored terrestrial realms such as the ocean, the forest and the Mesozoic, Sound of Ceres expands to contemplate all of space and time, and the human place within it,” the band’s official description reads. So, yeah, odd. In fact, the album title, Nostalgia for Infinity, is the most apt descriptor available.

When did Sound of Ceres start? For that you have to go backward a year, or forward, or sideways, as the philosophical band would probably prefer (time is a flat circle, right?). In 2014, the couple had finished a trilogy of albums as Candy Claws, then teamed up with Robert Schneider, Ben Phalen and John Ferguson of Apples in Stereo, and Jacob Graham and Derrick Bozich of the Drums, to form the most casual super group known to music.

“It's been an electronic collaboration just e-mailing parts back and forth,” Ryan says. "It [has been] a really relaxed way of collaboration. ‘Just send us stuff when you can.’ It's been more friendly.... They added new parts we never would've written ourselves. I would never consider our music and the Drums and Apples in Stereo one and the same.”

The group played a few shows in 2015 and released a couple of songs before heading back to the studio — or e-mail inbox in this case — and are now ready for a proper introduction of the project, with an album and tour.
When we spoke to the band, we mostly discussed influence, because as interesting as the official band description is, no one has ever heard a drumbeat or melody and said, “Wow, how Mesozoic.”

“It's just stuff we're interested in,” Ryan says. “We have long periods of time where we aren't writing and we just let it hit us and get inspired by what we're reading and writing and let it urge us to translate it into music.”

He mentions that in his mind, the entire album is a retelling of the famous “Girl From Ipanema.” Again, it’s really just a bossa nova album, except: “It’s a kind of sci-fi story where the girl is replaced by a creature from the sun,” Ryan says. “We have a whole explanation.”

The best possible explanation of the music comes from just listening, and the album will be released Friday, March 4. 

“Come to the show for surprises,” Karen says. “We have got a lot of neat secret items. With the show, we try to make it an experience, make it feel like you're on a different planet.”

Sound of Ceres performs at the hi-dive on Thursday, March 10. The band also plays at Downtown Artery in Fort Collins on March 5.
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Isa Jones is an editor in Jackson Hole; her writing has appeared all over the Internet and occasionally in print.
Contact: Isa Jones