Her Spirit Cracked the Sky by solarminds
Her Spirit Cracked the Sky is “…epic…awe inspiring… It leads the listener on a journey through an array of soundscapes, and there’s not only considerable atmosphere being conjured here, but the music also has a very visual aspect. You feel as if you’re being transported through different scenes, and at times, are creeping cautiously and peering around corners, while at others, staring out from a high plateau overlooking immense vistas that stretch further than the eye can see…[The Lie is] a delicate, tender experience that grows in emotional intensity and pulls at the gut with its starkness, its rawness.” – Aural Aggravation 1.16.21
For this project, Chris enlisted the help of his oldest friend and long time sonic explorer, Douglas Plaisance, who expertly and creatively engineered the recordings at The House in Ozark, AL, and legendary drummer, Kevin Carnes (Beatnigs, Broun Fellinis, Voodoo Dolly) who recorded his drums remotely. The album was artfully mastered by Grammy Award winning engineer, Alan Douches, at West West Side Music.
This 42 minute album, inspired by the passing of Chris’ mom, is available on limited edition 180gram cherry and silver vinyl. Each record features individualized hand drawn art by Chris.
Order yours before we run out (only 42 copies in this series). $42 plus shipping.
Chris Miner created sounds using electric guitar (tracks 1 & 3), acoustic guitar (track 2), altered percussion – bone shaker, rattles, bells, broken guitar strings, modified oil drum (tracks 1 & 3), voice (track 2), and made field recordings of rain, cicadas, and other natural ambience, at The House in Ozark, AL, and recorded synth strings and pads (track 1), and mixed the album at The Apartment in Berkeley, CA.
Douglas Plaisance produced and engineered the recordings (guitar, percussion, voice) at The House in Ozark, AL.
Kevin Carnes recorded drums (tracks 1 & 3) at The Space in Madison, WI.
Alan Douches mastered the album at West West Side Music in Cornwall-On-Hudson, NY.
*Track 1 contains a very short sample of an impromptu percussion jam featuring Kevin Carnes, Stephen Kent, and Ben Isaacs,
recorded by Max Lopez at Ashkenaz in Berkeley, CA.
Executive Producers: Isabel Diamond, and Stacy Bengtson & Jeremy Rios
I started writing the material for this album shortly after my mom died on December 6th, 2018. There was a really powerful thunderstorm that evening in San Diego where she passed. I think the local news said there hadn’t been that many lightning strikes in such a short period of time in decades. It poured rain and caused lots of flooding around the county, too, and the album title refers to that thunderstorm.
Then, in the summer of 2019, I recreated the road trip that my mom and I went on countless times from San Diego to Alabama to visit her family, and to where she purchased a dilapidated little house that she then spent about 20 or 25 summers fixing up. She put so much of her energy into that house, and I wanted to do as much of the recording for the album as possible in that space. I enlisted the help of my best friend, and fellow sonic explorer, Douglas Plaisance, to engineer the recording sessions in the Alabama house.
The day before we started recording, I spread my mom’s ashes around the house. The recording sessions were intense, both emotionally and physically. We battled the heat and humidity, helicopter sounds from the nearby-ish army base, technical glitches, and did I say the heat?
I won’t spill the beans on Doug’s techniques, but I will say that we got the best sounding guitar recordings I’ve ever gotten in my life. We also recorded some percussion in the house. I made several percussion instruments, including a shaker I made with bits of bone I found in my mom’s ashes. And, we got lucky finding an old oil drum that we used in some really fun ways during the recording sessions. We also made a bunch of field recordings of nature sounds, cicadas, and classic southern thundershowers, to layer into the album. I took the material back to Berkeley, CA, where I edited, arranged, added some synth parts, and mixed the album.
The songs are called, The Gift, The Lie, & The Visit.
The Gift consists of four sections that are woven into a whole, and is 20 minutes long, taking up the first side of the record. The title specifically refers to the gift I believe my mom gave me by waiting for me to get down to San Diego to say goodbye before she died. I got the call on that Tuesday morning, was on a flight the next day, spent that night in her hospital room, and she passed the next afternoon. The song is also about the ups and downs and struggles she had during her 6 years of on and off cancer battles, the sounds and general chaos of being in the hospital environment, and finally, her spirit leaving her body and ascending, powerfully and with purpose, into the heavens. The song ends with thunderstorm sounds.
The Lie opens up the second side of the record with the thunderstorm still going, and the actual bulk of the song takes a little bit to appear. I wanted to create the feel of just sitting out on the back porch, with the rain hitting the tin roof and coming down off the house, and the thunder in the distance, and then listening to someone play a song. I wanted it to feel intimate, and like the listener is there at the house with me and the rain and maybe my mom. I play my 12 stringed, acoustic guitar, and sing. The song is mostly about the actual event of her passing, and how maybe you have to tell people that it’s okay for them to move on even when you don’t want to. It’s about the unfathomable loss, and raw grief. The rain clears up a little and seamlessly transitions to the next song.
The Visit refers to an experience I had a couple weeks after my mom passed away. It was late at night, and it was very odd, but I felt my mom’s presence with me. I don’t even know if that is something I can feel, but in that moment, that’s what I felt. I felt her presence or spirit or whatever, and it felt like amber light. Sonically, the song has electric guitar, percussion, and nature sounds, all recorded at the Alabama house, and more drumming by Kevin Carnes recorded in his space.
Finally, I owe a very special thank you to Stacy Bengtson & Jeremy Rios, Isabel Diamond, Douglas Plaisance, Megan Tvedt, Dee Tvedt & David Tvedt, Paige Minichiello, Phillip Ranelli, Audrey Howard (of Easy Queen), Caroline Boussenot, Kailyn McCord, Erin Laetz, Jake Holler, Pete Sawyer (of Brightshine), Māhealani Uchiyama, Deedra Aro, Connie Stewart (SoulSync), Gwenyth Mapes, and Jenifer Rotz-Perry, who all helped fund this project.