Cat Martino makes glowing, of-the-moment woozefolk full of ethereal drones and spacey loops, running modern indie-scruff through the 4AD dream machine. Best known as a valued touring musician for Brooklyn luminaries like Sufjan Stevens and YIMBY veteran Sharon Van Etten, Martino is about to strike out on her own again with her upcoming second album Yr Not Alone, which balances soul-stirring Feistian bombast and expressionistic Zola Jesus smoke plumes. The title track features vocals from Mr. Stevens himself—but happy hunting for them, since the song smolders with percussive Laurie Anderson-style exhalations, eerie drones that Martino makes via loop pedal, and reverb on reverb on reverb.
What is “Yr Not Alone” about?
I like text with layers of various meanings. In there is the mantra of a communal experience existing, calling a loner towards it. But also the obvious truth that we are alone, each of us. Some comic nod to modern-day realities of social media. We all feel stalked and, on some level, stalk. Also, encouraging a person to wave their freak flag and be freely unique, etc., etc…
What inspired it lyrically?
“Yr Not Alone” was about an encounter with an eccentric Chaplin-esque character in Prague. He was so interesting to me, and after some time and weird conversation together at my sound check at Nod in Prague. I sat down and wrote the song right away.
Why did you spell it “Yr”?
Well, it wasn’t a big decision. I’ve been spelling “your” as “yr” since I was a teenager, so much that “your” seems incorrect when I write it. Rub off from my love of Walt Whitman. I read it in one of his poems… Though I should really fact check that, because perhaps it was another favorite poet, though in my memory it was strongly Walt.
What is Sufjan’s involvement in this track?
It’s always nice to invite new ears and spark in to a session, so after Jack [Petruzzelli, co-producer] and I built a solid foundation, Sufjan and I played around with it… Recording unfolded a bit like kid with their Legos. Placing things, dismantling the creation once in a while, until you like the design, and it makes you feel good and happy.
Your music always has these swirling sound loops in the background. What emotion is it meant to evoke?
I just love singing and making harmonies; it’s natural and joyful. I also love moving and dancing, and making ethereal noise with instruments so it is an outlet for physical expression for me as well.
What’s the most memorable show you’ve played in New York?
I really have enjoyed so many. As of lately I’d have to say Prospect Park with Sufjan Stevens’ band. To culminate a year tour dancing in the rain in a light-up space costume 10 blocks from my house was cool stuff!
What’s your favorite place to eat in Brooklyn?
I love food! Changes, but lately in my hood I have a crush on Sun In Bloom if I want super healthy balancing grub and Bogata Bistro if I want a nice malbec and Latin delights.