Cristina Cano has been making music and acting in plays around Portland for years—notably as part of Sallie Ford’s backing band for the recording and touring of Slap Back and as a company member at indie thespian operation Action/Adventure Theatre. But since 2010, she’s been writing, recording and sometimes performing under her own solo moniker: Siren and the Sea.
Songs and sounds have come and gone for Siren and the Sea as Cano has found her voice as she’s played with sonic textures. Moving from folk leanings to an ethereal electronic soundscape, the lady is set to release what could be called her debut record on February 17. This Time With Feeling sees Cano collaborating with a full five-piece band, who went to work recording with Johann Wagner at Pinewave Studio and allowed Karl Kling (of RAC fame) to mix and Justin Longerbeam (of EYRST) to master the album.
Opening with sampled field recordings of bird calls, the vividly dreamy “Amazon” feels like night swimming, slowly opening your eyes underwater as you glide forward into the deep, dark blueness of still waters. Providing vocals and synths, Cano is helped by Zachary Domer on bass, Erik Clampitt (of Hook & Anchor) on pedal steel and baritone guitar, and additional harmonies by Stephanie Woods on This Time With Feeling.
“’Amazon’ is a reflective piece on the transformative and shape-shifting nature of being intimate with another person, and dives into the parallels between the natural elements and the destructive conditions of the self,” Cano explains. “During the recording of the song, I was inspired to develop an underwater sonic landscape through the medium of the modular synthesizer at Pinewave Studio. I was going through a particularly challenging life transition at the time and, in return, feeling a little ambiguous about the direction of the record. When I showed up to Pinewave one morning to start recording ‘Amazon,’ Johann had set up the modular for me, and told me to just have fun and play. It was an epiphanous moment that developed the sound of the song, and ultimately informed the direction of the record.”