Mysterious one-woman drone machine Sultan is a swarming beehive of tumbleweed-blowing guitar noise and desolate desert winds. A Brooklynite we know only as “Kayla” releases these wooshscapes exclusively to cassette; her music plays like a sun-kissed Skullflower, warped and weathered by a liberal amount of tape hiss, undulating feedback and speaker-peaking treble. Pick your favorite no-fi band and flatten them into an ecstatic, pulseless howl. “The End” is an excerpt from the last gasp of Sultan, a project she’s killing off in favor of her new straight-to-cassette project Le Ra Nord—she says over email: “I basically create new bands every time I put out a cassette.” She’s diligently documenting this hissy, smudgy transition on her tumblr.
What is this song about? What inspired it musically?
This song was recorded in February of this year; it’s trying to capture a moving environment, sort of a winter rainforest idea. Also just getting the Led out, making the most noise possible at one time. I just used a guitar, amp and some pedals.
Why are you drawn to the sound of tape hiss? What are some of your earliest memories with it?
I use cassettes because it’s easier to record on than anything else. I always just use one track, straight to tape. At this point in my musical evolution I don’t have the energy to go back and edit things. Maybe in the future.
You insist on secrecy. Who are you?
I live in Southside Williamsburg. For a day job I work in an office. Though music is definitely a huge focus of mine and has been forever, I mostly play for myself. I was talking to a musician friend of mine that I look up to a few months ago about the “musical rat race” and he basically taught me that I should be playing music to make myself happy and explore some previously unknown parts of my psyche… If other people are into it, then that is cool, but you can’t worry about changing your music to make other people happy.
What’s your favorite place to eat in New York?