profiles of artists old and new: people i admire for making exciting music, pioneering in sound, and breaking boundaries.
profile #01 – SANS SOUCIS
Sans Soucis (Guilia Grispino) is a London-based singer-songwriter, guitarist, and producer.
Following her 2017 debut release “Every Night,” Sans Soucis has released two EPs, 2019’s “The Lover” and 2020’s “Unfinished.” The past three years have seen her career blossom—even in the face of pandemic disruption—with support for her EPs from PRS Foundation’s Women Make Music and from Help Musicians UK x MOBO Awards. Her music has been played by the likes of Tom Robinson (BBC 6 Music), Jamz Supernova (BBC 1Xtra), Chris Douridas (KCRW), and Jess Iszatt (BBC Introducing). Pre-lockdown, she played at many high-profile London venues and has supported musicians including Ashley Henry, Dino D’Santiago, and Joel Culpeper.
Besides her creative and performance work, Sans Soucis is actively involved with a number of grassroots organizations that support emerging and women artists. She has also curated a workshop series for former street children in Zambia.
Sans Soucis crafts a distinctive sound that blends golden tones of acoustic folk with soul, jazz, and influences from the Italian and Congolese music she grew up with. Honeyed vocals are often layered in harmonies and rich, vibrant arrangements, or paired with acoustic guitar or strings—for example in “Red Coat,” which features a string arrangement by Kadhja Bennet.
This latest track has a gorgeous, late-summer-sun feeling, with its warm shades intertwined with complex, impactful lyrics. The more rousing and pared-down “Air” features twangy double-bass, brisk claps, and vocal harmonies; the result is powerful, crisply carved, and danceable. By contrast, the acapella “Red” is slow-moving and urgently beautiful, with a rise and swell that feel like deep, glittering waves.
- Sans Soucis official site: https://sanssoucismusic.com/
profile #02 – TATIANA HEUMAN
Tatiana Heuman is an experimental sound artist, producer, and percussionist from Buenos Aires, now living and working in Berlin.
Albums and releases
Her career so far has been multidisciplinary and varied: from playing drums and trumpet with the Ricarda Cometa collective, she went on to produce two solo albums in 2014 and 2016. These were followed in 2018 by her explosive solo album QEEI, described as “a multi-layered collection of deconstructed pop songs marked by stuttering percussion, chaotic microsamples, and infectious vocal melodies.” In 2019, Ravelin Magazine featured “Sensory Overload Pt.3,” Heuman’s improvisational percussion piece using electronic drum triggers.
Recent tracks include the glitchy, melodic “Hypnopompicx” on the MECHA03 compilation from TRRUENO (2020) and the dreamlike “Nights Nichts” on the Atlantics X compilation from Astro Nautico (2020).
Having studied Dance and Corporal Expression (UNA) and Expanded Music (UNSAM), and currently pursuing an MFA in Media Arts in KHM in Cologne, Tatiana Heuman has a diverse set of artistic talents and experience, evident in her expansive and multidisciplinary approach. She has collaborated on several occasions with dance collectives and movement artists; among other projects, she created soundtrack and live music for a dance performance by Emergentes Company in Buenos Aires (2017) and the sound design and music for Olivia Hyunsin Kim’s Yellow Banana (2019). After teaming up with Manuel Palenque for an audiovisual performance at MUTEK Buenos Aires in 2017, she returned to MUTEK in 2020 with her audiovisual piece We Have to Save the Wind, which featured in MUTEK’s virtual exhibition, “Distant Arcades.” Heuman’s own creative writing explores the relationship between language and sound. In addition, and as part of her socially engaged artistic practice, she has developed what her website describes as “a series of music production laboratories and workshops with the principle of understanding active listening and audio processing as a means of manifestation.”
In her 2020 piece for Radio In Between Spaces (RIBS), Heuman invited Latin American women artists, networks, and sound collectives to respond to the question, “How to return to the body?” (Cómo volver al cuerpo?) resulting in an exploration through sound and words with 28 participants.
Feminism, sound, and experimentation
As well as being recognized for her music and diverse artistic output, Tatiana Heuman also stands out for her approach to feminism as a driving force and rich area of creative exploration in her work. She has contributed to the female :: pressure podcast, and she was among the 2020 cohort of the Amplify Digital Arts Initiative—an international partnership that connects and supports female-identifying artists, taking place between Montreal, Buenos Aires, and the UK since 2018.
She is also part of the Argentinian feminist collective #VIVAS, whose site features a collaborative sound archive, and in 2018 she worked with Tatiana Cuoco and Florencia Curci on the #VIVAS acousmatic piece for Terraza CA2M’s Picnic Sessions.
But for me, Heuman’s most intriguing work is the radio piece Neither God nor Master nor Husband, for which she again worked with fellow experimental sound artist and drummer Florencia Curci. Alongside a host of other collaborators, the pair created Neither God in 2019 as part of the El contagio feminista series on KUNSTRADIO, curated by sound artist and researcher Anna Raimondo. It uses samples and field recordings to explore the “feminist contagion” through the prism of temporality, soundscape, and rhythms.
What I find so compelling about this work—and the wider project—is the new perspectives it opens up on the feminist movements taking place today, in particular the movement in Argentina. According to Anna Raimondo, the movement is a reaction against deep-rooted misogyny and high rates of femicide. This movement is often called the Marea Verde—the green tide—a “reference to the feminist claims for legal abortion voiced by the massive demonstrations taking place in Argentina today,” and its symbol is the green handkerchief. Ultimately, says Raimondo, “the feminist production of listening in Buenos Aires promotes the identification of common claims without sacrificing the value of multiplicity and possible dissent—it claims the right to ‘agree to disagree.’”
Neither God is underpinned by the notion of active listening, which necessarily involves plurality, contradiction, and overlap. Space is given to the voices of women past and present as a way to expand the work’s scope beyond any one dominant discourse. In the first section of the recording, a robotic, AI-esque female voice speaks words of female power, including quotes from iconic women: “Who runs the world? Girls,” “I did everything he did, but backwards and in high heels,” “Power is not given to you. You have to take it.” To me, the automatic, generative nature of the voice carries a sense of objective, incontestable facts. Listening to it feels like being re-wired; like having internalized patriarchy overwritten and cancelled out. The piece continues with a rich, beautiful, sometimes troubled and troubling tapestry of voices, languages, and sounds. It is a powerful listening experience that weaves together music, quotes, voices raised in protest, and rhythms both frenetic and calming.
In 2021, Tatiana Heuman will again participate in the Amplify D.A.I cohort, joining forces with Alejandra Cárdenas (Ale Hop) for an audiovisual work entitled “Near and Remote Memory Reactivation Practices.”
- Tatiana Heuman official site: www.tatianaheuman.com
- Norient profile: https://norient.com/theuman
- Ravelin Magazine, QEEI review: https://www.ravelinmagazine.com/posts/tatiana-heuman-release-qeei/
- QEEI on Bandcamp: https://astronautico.bandcamp.com/album/qeei
- Anna Raimondo: http://annaraimondo.com/
- KUNSTRADIO, El Contagio Feminista: http://www.kunstradio.at/PROJECTS/CURATED _BY/FEMINISTA/El_contagio_feminista.pdf
- Radio In Between Spaces (RIBS) program: https://www.mixcloud.com/Zentrum_Aktuelle _Musik/ribs05-julian-togar-abraham-tatiana-heuman/
- #VIVAS: https://seescuchanvivas.tumblr.com/
- Neither God Not Husband Nor Master: http://www.kunstradio.at/2019B/17_11_19en.html
-  https://www.tatianaheuman.com/qeei-music-videos/
-  https://www.tatianaheuman.com/bio/
-  https://www.somersethouse.org.uk/whats-on/amplify-digital-arts-initiative
-  Collaborators in the project: #VIVAS, SASHA SATHYA, ESLABRAVA, LaNegrahLiyah, ELI QUETEMPORAL, María Eugenia García, Josefina Barreix, Estudio Siesta del Fauno, Luciana Rizzo, and Gabriela Areal.
-  http://www.kunstradio.at/PROJECTS/CURATED_BY/FEMINISTA/index.html
-  http://www.kunstradio.at/PROJECTS/CURATED_BY/FEMINISTA/El_contagio_feminista.pdf