By Iggy Pot -February 11, 2021
Sound and visual artist Christa Ebert has recently released GROUNDED, a 20-track album and experimental film promoting mindfulness and meditation. Active musically since 2007, Ebert often uses effects pedals looped with vocals to create atmospheric and dream-like soundscapes. Her newest effort was created in-part through a grant from SPACES, which supported the creation of the 24-minute film that accompanies the album. Sonically, GROUNDED includes mantra, guided meditation, and binaural beats to promote deep relaxation. Composed using field recordings, synthesizers, bells, vocal harmonies, and polytonal singing, it is an invitation to relate at a deeper level.
We recently caught up with Christa via email to discuss the album and film. You can read the interview below. Additionally, we’ve included Uno Lady’s new video for “You Are Love,” a guided meditation led by LaToya Kent, as well as embeds for the album and film.
LETV: To those who aren’t familiar with Uno Lady, fill us in on what this project is all about. It’s not a “band” correct? What motivates you to collaborate and write music in such a unique style?
CE: My name is Christa Ebert and I’ve been performing as Uno Lady since 2007. Using my voice and effect pedals I loop and layer vocals to create a dreamy soundscape.
I am a one-woman band. I compose and sing all the parts. For the past few albums I’ve invited a few musicians that I admire to join me and write a few songs together.
My latest release is an album and experimental film series inspired by mindfulness that includes mantras, soothing songs, and guided meditations. Filmed mostly in my backyard in Cleveland, Ohio during the pandemic, I created stop-motion animations with homegrown flowers, sweet potatoes, drawings, and spliced it together with calming footage of nature. The music features mostly vocal harmonies, polytonal singing, field recordings of nature sounds, bells, binaural beats, and synths sprinkled throughout.
LETV: Speaking of collaboration, tell us more about LaToya Kent on this track; what is your working relationship like and how did they contribute to “You Are Love”?
CE: LaToya Kent is a Cleveland musician who performs solo and as part of Mourning [A] BLKstar. We became friends performing at shows on the same bill. In September, we worked on a project together and jammed on my porch. I recorded the improv performance and interview and shared it on youtube. I asked her to be the guiding voice on “You Are Love” because she is a trained meditation teacher. Her calm and cool presence is contagious. She wrote the meditation and I wrote the soundscape to match her words. The audio is reverb drenched vocals, field recordings of nature sounds from the French countryside, modulated space sounds recorded by NASA, and polytonal singing. The video features a timelapse of clouds and calming lavender from my garden.
LETV: Your new album “Grounded” seems to have quite a bit of support, especially by the SPACES Urgent Arts Fund out of the Cleveland area. Was this a COVID relief program that helped you create it?
CE: The Urgent Art Fund through SPACES is a project based grant that supports visual art that is “socially, politically, and culturally responsive.” The grant program existed prior to the pandemic and is not COVID relief. However, I did apply to create a meditation project to respond to the stress we were experiencing due to COVID. Having a positive project to focus on helped me stay hopeful. I wanted to create an enchanting environment we can experience safely. The film GROUNDED is a socially distant alternative to a record release show. The videos add another layer to get lost in, mesmerizing the senses. You can watch the film GROUNDED on Youtube, stream the soundtrack on all platforms and buy the digital album through Bandcamp.
LETV: Does your hometown or the surrounding area have any influence on what you’re doing musically?
CE: The scene in my hometown has been supportive, and in part, shaped my sound. Music is the center of my community. I grew up going to punk shows, so when I started playing live, DIY and punk venues are where I performed. I like Cleveland because the music scenes intermingle. We appreciate all types of sounds. We make music because we want to and the output is authentic and raw. Having that as an influence and incubator has allowed me to embrace my creativity as an explorative and evolving process.
I miss the music community. I made GROUNDED as an album and the videos to experience something together while we’re apart. I wanted to reach people in their own safe environment and offer a moment of relaxation when they are ready to receive it.
LETV: Last question; I’m sure you’ve got a lot of plans for 2021, especially with the possibility of things returning to normal, what can you share with us?
CE: Before the pandemic, I had planned on touring to promote my 2019 LP release, OSMOSIS. I’d love to hit the road and share songs when it is safe to do so. I’m looking at this forced pause as an opportunity to write and record. I have a long list (100+) of ideas that are nearly complete that I am chipping away at. At an artist residency in France, I wrote dozens of songs and recorded improv performances in cathedrals around Europe. I’d love to finish and release that project this year.