“The sixth and most diaphanous layer of the earth’s atmosphere, the Tremosphere is home to sound waves of eerie and unusual frequency, curious and wonderful radio transmissions long feared lost and the mysterious spectral presence of the spirits that seemingly alight there amidst its vaporous, ethereal mists.”
Tremosphere is the cross-continental duo of Sylvia Solanas (lead vocals, spoken word, bass, piano, synth) and Bipolar Explorer co-founder Michael Serafin-Wells (guitars, bass, organ, synth, tape loops, backing vocals, spoken word, percussion).
Featuring Serafin-Wells’s signature post-rock, shoegaze-y guitars and Ms. Solanas’s breathy alto vocals, their sound has been described as “a kind of NYC dreampop seasoned with a dash of French wanderlust”.
On September 29, 2023, the band released their third album, Becoming Creatures, consisting of ten new songs written by Ms. Solanas. Recorded in both New York and France over a period of months, it very much felt like a significant step forward for the band.
The new album was named Release of the Week by the UK’s Space is The Place Radio (Cando FM) and Pick of the Week by Italy’s White Light/White Heat, as well as making US music writer Ned Raggett’s short list of Bandcamp recommendations for the month of September. Advance airplay for the album included broadcast premieres on Max Reinhardt’s Late Late Lunch Show (Soho Radio, London), Black_ops (CAMP Radio, France), Kool Strings Radio (Belgium), Irene Trudel (WFMU, New York), Karen Vogt’s Lost Found and Lost Again (CAMP Radio, France), The Night Train – Sheffield Live (UK) and Sunday Morning Coming Down (KFJC, Northern California).
On November 2023, they were invited to perform an 8-song live set by Julie, for her radio show Dark Night of the Soul, at WFMU headquarters in Jersey City. Live set was sound engineered by Irene Trudel.
While the main themes echo their previous works – pain and love and struggles – Becoming Creatures marked a departure from the contemplative to a more feral state.
Indeed, Solanas is known to be outspoken about her chronic anxiety and mental health in general, and, as she’s looked deeper into her idiosyncrasies, she composed this album as a call to all humans to connect with who and what they truly are. Solanas also plays instruments (for the first time on record) on Becoming Creatures, with the acceptance of imperfection. Tremosphere’s co-member Michael Serafin-Wells continued to provide the songs with thoughtful arrangements and instrumentations.
While finding new sounds and expanding their sonic palette on Becoming Creatures, much of what had appealed to listeners throughout the band’s first two albums – Interiors (2019) and Memoirs of a French Garden (2022) – remained, deepening and enriched by the new material.
The UK’s noted Fog Songs blog put it well in characterizing the band’s sound as “post-rock guitars that are minimalistic and raw, with French-accented vocals that are sultry and dreamy and beautiful. They incorporate the fuzzed-out dreamy psychedelia of Mazzy Star, the femme guitar-driven shoegaze pop of Lush and the wistful downbeat alt-grunge of The Cranberries into their own unique vision and take you on a special top-notch dream ride.”
The band’s second album, Memoirs of a French Garden, was released on March 1, 2022 and within the month had made the Heavily Played Records list of WFMU, charting at #17. Legendary BBC 3 and Soho Radio broadcaster Max Reinhardt also featured a track – “Shadow Dance” – on his own show, previewing the album on February 22, just prior to its release. Although long-delayed because of the global pandemic, the band worked remotely on Memoirs, sending tracks back and forth between New York and France, until the travel ban was lifted. Finally in-studio together again, Ms Solanas and Mr Serafin-Wells knocked out the entire album in three weeks. The results seemed an enormous leap forward in the richness and eclecticism of the group’s sound – by turns dreamy, punky and even experimental – and in no small measure by the increasing confidence and demonstrable growth of Ms Solanas’s songwriting, both in her gifts as a lyricist and for her keen sense of melody. Also a photographer of some note, Ms Solanas designed the artwork for album’s limited edition CD, including its cover and gatefold images as well the 12 page booklet enclosed.
While primarily focused on original compositions, the group has also displayed a fondness for recording and releasing memorable covers. Simultaneous with the release of Memoirs, the band released a digital-only cover of Depeche Mode’s “Little 15” and perhaps most notably, between albums, a sweeping post-rock version of The Velvet Underground’s “All Tomorrow’s Parties”, which France’s Indiemusic praised as “extending the magic, like a precious natural breath, and stretching it to a higher level of perception.” In 2022, they recorded a cover of The Kinks’ “All Day and All of the Night” for a Dark Night of the Soul with Julie compilation cd, to benefit WFMU annual Marathon.
The band’s beginnings (Ms Solanas and Mr Serafin-Wells are also members of his other long- running project, Bipolar Explorer) date to early 2018 and the release of the very first Tremosphere single, “Lost & Found.” Working through the autumn of 2018, the band double- released both their debut full-length album, Interiors and a follow-up second single – their post- rock cover of Joy Division’s “She’s Lost Control” – on February 15, 2019.
WFMU debuted tracks from Interiors the very weekend of its release, with Jeffrey Davison pronouncing it “simply gorgeous” and Carol Crow “a lovely debut.” The album version of “Lost & Found” became something of a breakout for the group with indie radio from German’s TFSC the UK’s Radio Wigwam and Canada’s wonderful Perfect Pitch podcast making it a staple in their rotations by Spring 2019 adding the band’s signature cover of “She’s Lost Control” shortly thereafter. Fellow Canadian broadcasters, KB Indie Radio, followed suit, also bringing “Spirits”, the album’s second track, into its own heavy rotation. In June, making their LA radio debut, Highwire Daze’s Brett Miller enthused “get out your headphones – this is music for contemplation and inspiration.”
In addition to her work as the band’s songwriter and lead singer, Ms Solanas is a photographer and filmmaker, first starting with the arresting cover images of both Interiors and “She’s Lost Control”, as well as the series of videos the band released over the spring and summertime of 2019 in support of their debut. From the electric flash-pot imagery (and her charismatic on- camera presence) of the aforementioned “She’s Lost Control”, to the dreamy video collage work of “Present Silence” and the breathtaking sea and skyscape twists and turns of “Hidden Fortress” (filmed in one long continuous eight-minute shot along California’s famous Highway 1), Ms. Solanas demonstrates her unique talent and keen eye, perfectly supporting the music itself while adding an unforgettable visual signature. She’s since done all the artwork and photography for the band.
On December 4th, 2019, Sylvia released her first collection of poems – Poèmes (The Ginger Press) – published together with some of her original black and white landscape photography and including a pair of works that inspired, in part, two of the songs on Interiors, itself. Poèmes (volume 02), has been published as an exclusive bookmark to accompany their third album, Becoming Creatures, in 2023.
The band’s three albums Becoming Creatures, Memoirs of a French Garden and Interiors, and their six singles are available on Slugg Records.