You may have heard that the Inuit have 50 words for snow. In fact, each word describes a different characteristic of snow and that number is a conservative estimate. In language, the process of colonization erases nuance and specificity and exaggerates distances and differences. PIQSIQ [pronounced pɪlk-sɪlk] describes a blustering snowstorm where the snow appears to be rising up from the banks rather than falling onto them.
Like the sublime experience it describes, PIQSIQ produces revolving rhythms in brooding and entrancing synth arrangements. Throat singing in conversation with each other, sisters Kayley Inuksuk Mackay and Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik create polyrhythm among layers of synths, sprawling vocal and sputtering drum machine. The live performance is improvisational, looping their voices and synths, growing and contracting the breadth of the soundscape with humanistic auditory consciousness.
With roots in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot and Kivalliq Regions, the sisters grew up together in Yellowknife, practising their throat singing together while out on the land. But the north is vast, and the systemic separation from the culture that created the musical practice they loved inspired the development of the project as an act of cultural and artistic insurgence. For their next recording PIQSIQ are inventing their own instrument out of caribou skull and antlers enticingly called the death harp, a perfect metaphor for the marriage of the majesty and foreboding of the natural world embedded within their wintry pop ethereum.
Biography by Liam Prost