Sophie Sweetland’s body of work feels dreamlike in its essence—there’s a hazy, imperceptible logic holding everything together. From the buzzing warm pads and spliced samples of early D. Tiffany, to the mellow breakbeat revivalism of DJ Zozi to the fractured IDM of Ambien Baby—Sweetland’s focus is always shifting between comfort and dissonance, nostalgic euphoria and intriguing newness.
Growing up in the suburbs of White Rock BC, Sweetland moved into Vancouver’s Chinatown around the same time that she released her first cassette on 1080p, full of grainy, gauze-wrapped house variations. Shortly after, she would assemble the first laid-back guitar-driven tracks of her Ambien Baby project in her bedroom, which would go on to become decidedly more kinetic over the years after pairing up with collaborator NAP. Trying to survive as an artist living in the second least affordable housing market in the world, Sweetland converted her home into Sweet Pup Studios, a DIY after hours space that gained notoriety for its solid after-hours programming—until local law enforcement pulled the plug. Collaborations continued alongside Vancouver’s regularfantasy as Plush Throw, a name evoking a luxurious opulence that can quickly degrade into synthetic waste. It’s an apt metaphor for breakout collaborative 2017 track How RU Plush, where peaceful West Coast synth sweeps are undercut by a creeping feeling of unsettled ennui. Sweetland then took off for Melbourne, where a friendship with Rosa Terenzi resulted in several synergistic remixes and split EPs melding bubbling electro and breakbeat with unpredictable ambient undertones. 2018 also saw Sweetland flexing her curatorial muscles, creating the Planet Euphorique imprint for her extraterrestrial breakbeats, and co-founding the chrome-plated ‘illbient’ sound of experimental label XPQ?.
For her first appearance at MUTEK, Sweetland will showcase her ability to meld the disparate genres she’s excelled in over the years, into a fluent DJ set. There's a thrilling uncertainty to Sweetland's wide-ranging expertise, an unpredictability to the liminal genre terrain she adventures in. Just as in dreams, the floor could drop out from underneath you at any moment.
Esplanade de la Place des Arts