Bile Sister shared a new single and video Real Dreams lifted from her forthcoming LP, ‘Living On The Edge,’ out July 21st via We Are Time. This is the synth-punk project from Toronto-based multimedia artist and producer, Julie Reich, best known as one-half of micro-tonal rock duo Body Breaks and also as a member of legendary 80s No Wave band, CHANDRA.
Real Dreams speaks on the boundless drive that carries a music project to completion. Marked by clanging percussion, quivering synthesizers, and noisy bass, the song embodies Reich’s propulsive creative spirit and her protean approach to production and songwriting.
Bile Sister says about the song: “I use the metaphor of having a dream or aspiration as having a virus that is contagious and infectious. You need to be excessively motivated to work on a music project, complete it and share it with the world in this day and age where artists don’t really gain financially and work tirelessly. Perhaps we do it because it’s part of our identity, it’s in our spirit, and we are the ideas of tomorrow. There’s something infectious about having a vision and seeing it through even with little gain. It’s still a beautiful thing.”
The single comes with a fantastic, mind-bending music video by Jonathan Carroll of SpekWork Studio. The video is part of a speculative design practice and imagines a social media app that projects out from current technologies and cultural trends to visualize the abstracted & mediated forms socializing may take in the future. Inspired by apps like VRChat and the contemporary feeling of alienation, the video shows four friends meeting at some point in the future to party and trip out in a space that pulsates along with the music. Watch the video for Real Dreams via YouTube below.
More about ‘Living on the Edge’
As Bile Sister, Toronto-based producer, sound designer, composer, audio engineer, 3D animator, and multi-dimensional artist Julie Reich is a concept in human form. Bile Sister’s boundary-averse and often tormented sounds are the result of nature and pollution colliding, existing just on the cusp of communication and connection, yet always pushing to break through. New album ‘Living on the Edge’ is Reich’s sharpest realization of Bile Sister’s dichotomous world yet, conjoining intense avant garde risk-taking with an unflinching directness that makes even the album’s most caustic stretches somehow accessible and impossible to ignore.
‘Living on the Edge’ comes after more than a decade of experimenting within the intersections of noise, electronic music creation, and new ideas about the shapes songs can assume. Along with an extensive discography of solo material as Bile Sister, Reich has collaborated extensively with other like-minded artists, singing in microtonal rock duo Body Breaks, and performing internationally as a member of post-punk legend Chandra’s touring band while also playing a pivotal role in the reissue of Chandra’s 1980 album ‘Transportation’. In addition to a dual career in social work and sound design, Reich has spent the better part of her life as an active and vital part of the D.I.Y. arts community. She invites a host of friends from these communities to help with the dismantling and rebuilding throughout the album. After writing, arranging, recording and producing the songs, Reich worked with Josh Korody at Candle Studios on the final production and mixes, incorporating guest appearances into the finished tracks from longtime peers and collaborators. While Bile Sister presides over the chaos and the illumination, she’s joined by Pantayo’s Kat and Katrin Estacio (who contribute gong performances on multiple songs), saxophonist Neil Rankin, bandmates Heloise Simone George, Min Y Lee, and Chandra Oppenheim (Chandra stepping into the booth for guest vocals on New Life), guitarists Nicholas Kerr and Ewan Kay, and installation/performance artist Kristina Guison, who plays her metal sculpture on Leiko.
An arsenal of vintage synths, anxious drum programming, experimental electro-acoustic textures, and nervy auxiliary percussion bring the Bile Sister identity crackling into an uneasy existence as ‘Living on the Edge’ unfolds. Reich’s musical personality is protean; manifesting as mutant funk on the toxic disco grooves of Generation Steam, only to disintegrate into sheets of noise and lurching 808 pulses on the ominous Can’t Backstab Me Baby before bouncing back into a synthesis of detuned guitar leads and relentless acid basslines on the post-apocalyptic dub of New Life. If ‘Living on the Edge’ comes across like dance music for after the end of the world, Reich’s heavy lyrical themes only amplify that feeling. The anger, frustration, and spiritual exhaustion caused by living under capitalism shows up repeatedly, sometimes questioning why an out-dated and ineffective system hasn’t been dismantled by now, other times likening artistic drive to being infected with a virus– cursed to love a dream that will rarely be understood and will certainly never be considered valuable by mainstream society. There’s scathing criticism for ineffectual and corrupt police on Cops Ain’t Helping My Problems, a song inspired by Reich’s lived experience of useless cops writing her a ticket for jaywalking moments after she learned of a friend’s murder, a crime that remains unsolved. Throughout the course of the album, digitally-generated nostalgia intermingles with memories of lost friends, the insurmountable intensity of daily life, locating the allies in a sea of music industry fakes, and the self-actualization that comes from living through all of it. At the core of all of Reich’s work is an unwavering feminist consciousness, and a desire to support and uplift other women of all forms and identities.
In 2023, very few of us aren’t living on the edge. Bile Sister’s fearless assessment of what it means to exist on the fringes and struggle to hang on through dark times offers hope instead of merely commenting on the surrounding doom. ‘Living on the Edge’ confronts the ugliness of the now head on, finding strength and personal power in the fight, new understanding in refusing to accept the unacceptable.
‘Living On The Edge’ track list
1. Real Dreams
2. Cops Ain’t Helping My Problems
4. Drop Dead Dead Beat (Interlude)
5. Generation Steam
6. Can’t Backstab Me Baby
7. New Life
8. Healthy (Interlude)
9. Back To Fax
10. Have You Seen Your Eyes Lately?