Recommended by: Daniela Serna, Open Signal programs manager, facilitator and programmer at S1
“This past year has shifted my listening habits, with music being an active part of finding calm and centering myself in the midst of all the confusion. Treneti’s avant-garde jazz and soul explorations have deep meditative qualities and nourish the spirit—throw this on in your headphones and let her voice wash over you. It will do you a world of good, I promise.”
Treneti Brown didn’t find her musical instrument until four years ago.
A professional dancer, her body had long been her instrument—until she picked up a bass for the first time and didn’t put it down for two hours.
“I find myself playing a lot of different instruments,” she says, laughing, “but not knowing how to play any of them.”
Brown was undergoing some big life changes around the time she first picked up a bass. In 2014, she left her hometown of Chicago and was traveling around the country. She spent time at a spiritual sanctuary in Northern Michigan, where she meditated for seven hours a day and learned about toning, chanting, frequency therapy and how to layer sounds with gongs and tuning forks. She also went to Guatemala, where she worked with a drum shaman and learned about Indigenous vibration chanting.
Eventually, she moved to Portland, where she found a scene eager to welcome her music: a wide-ranging collection of staccato electronic beats that are equally meditative and sultry, and soothing electro soundscapes, grounded with chantlike vocals.
Brown had a rapid rise in Portland’s music scene, playing a couple of smaller shows in 2018 before getting booked at Mississippi Studios. Soon, she was packing venues like Mississippi Studios and the Old Church.
Still, she had to overcome a steep learning curve producing and releasing music. In January 2020, she released her first album, Psalms of Saturn, a more straightforward album with bass, drums and vocals, followed by her electronic EP Her’isness in December 2020.
There’s a hypnotic quality to Treneti’s music. You find your head involuntarily bobbing along, and your body less tense, like you’ve been given a contemplative sound bath. That healing effect is intentional.
“Some music has a regenerative, soothing effect on the body, and other music is abrasive. Some music is outright disturbing to the vessel,” says Brown. “To me, it’s really important to create a sanctuary and a place of nourishment with sound.”
When Brown talks about the healing properties of her music, she’s not speaking figuratively. A self-described math and science nerd, Brown builds her own synths with specific frequencies that have regenerative properties for the body. For example, 528 hertz is the solfeggio frequency, the frequency of the healthy human energetic field and the love frequency, while 25 hertz is the frequency of the purr of a cat.
“These are the ancestral frequencies,” she says. “This is how, in ceremony and prayer and ritual, our ancestors channel those divine frequencies. I’m just basically doing that same thing.”
The influence of healing sounds is persistent in her work; she also runs Solaris Voice Academy, which helps artists develop their voices with holistic singing training and empowerment techniques.
But it’s somewhere between the emotional and mathematical space of healing frequencies that Treneti’s music thrives.
“So much of me was unfulfilled until I discovered not just music, but music production and working literally with the frequencies and mixing and balancing them,” she says. “When I tapped into that, I was like, ‘Oh my God, this is what I’ve been looking for: This is the math.’ All synthesis is trigonometry at the end of the day. It gave me a whole space to be a nerd.”