Raised in the urban sprawl of Brooklyn, Stranger Cat—the electro pop project from Cat Martino —was born out of a respite in the wilderness. As most stories go, she was seeking a noiseless place for musing, but found instead a sentient beast stalking through the woods, be it animal, alien, or deity; she memorized its sound.
The frequent collaborator with Sufjan Stevens, Son Lux, The Shins, Sharon Van Etten and others, released Stranger Cat’s debut album In The Wilderness on Joyful Noise Records, a soulful collection of art pop songs. Marked my Martino’s velvet croon, signature vocal looping, and driven by a production style that is both electronic and organic, Stranger Cat delivers intricate, soulful, and dark R&B pop. NPR cites it “Pairs high-energy production with soaring vocals that sound like a dare to be free“, while Noisey says it “Hangs in a starry galaxy alongside Bat For Lashes, Kate Bush, Chew Lips, and Purity Ring“.
In 2012, Cat retreated from Brooklyn to spend the winter in the Sierra Foothills, writing and recording new songs. In snowed-in seclusion, simple melodies or beats morphed into walls of sound, sequenced in patterns of many-layered complexity. Often a cat would come to the sliding glass door to listen, meowing to be let in. When it appeared daily she called it Stranger Cat, and observed its alien supernatural powers, as she’d heard tell of the Foothills’ long history of UFO sightings and ghost haunts. One day she let Stranger Cat in. The plump feline ate all the kitty food and left.
Whether playing solo, or with a rotating cast of accomplices, Martino concocts a mesmerizing set of sound embraced by a voice at once fractured and full of strength, creating an aurally and visually vivid and energetic performance, making live loops onstage using voice, synths, and drum machines. All of this is to serve the song – dark, sexy, soulful, playful and dream-like – that might just make you let yourself go and dance a little bit.
Photo Credit: Shervin Lainez