Artists: Elizabeth Veldon, Ars Sonor And Sean Derrick Cooper Marquart
Title: Her Her Hers
Label: Black Circle Records
Keywords: Experimental, Computer Music, Drone, Electronica, Guitar Noise
Reviewer: Alex Spalding
Wanted to take a moment to thank those of our readers who lent their signatures to the petition to help Laetitia (Ars Sonor, iky iky) keep from being deported to Russia — something that would be a veritable death sentence, and surely is an institutionalized hate crime. For those of you haven’t had the chance to sign yet, that link will take you to the petition. The fight is not over, so I’m intending to write more reviews of Laetitia’s work and continue doing what I can to make people aware of this issue. The world would just not be the same without Laetitia in it. I… do really need to get back to reviewing the other many things that people have requested we hear and that I’ve promised I’d get to in an expedient manner! So, these Ars Sonor reviews will be a little more dispersed among the plethora of other sounds I still need to talk about. Due to the important, life or death nature of this circumstance, however, we at YIKIS will still continue to lend support to this cause for as long as we can.
Anyway, focusing on the album at hand… wow, hey, my calculations seem to suggest that this is an exciting work by three artists, Elizabeth Veldon, Ars Sonor and Sean Derrick Cooper Marquart. It begins with a piece of music by Elizabeth Veldon titled ‘Her Body A Bulb In The Cold To Dumb To Think’. A wordy title, the music sounding like a humming hive of bloodthirsty bees recorded in lofi under a deep low pass filter, giving the sound a deep, droning feel. It is a mindless, hollow sounding drone that… pretty well reflects the title! It sounds like a million microaggressions assembled en masse.
Next is ‘Sworn Sisters (The Witches Script)’ by Sean Derrick Cooper Marquart… white-hot guitar noise loops with what sound like a roiling, lofi black metal groove underneath. Wails of feedback and anguish form a crust over the top. It goes quiet… well, quieter, for a moment before crawling back into the harsh, driving, destructive noise! This track was like someone playing a guitar set to the key of car crash, stretched out into 7 minutes, steel frames twisting and shredding, demolishing plasticine and swallowing broken glass on an interstate highway. Really amazing stuff!
Ars Sonor’s ‘Nushu’ follows that up, with something much different… a lovely and grim ambient piece that grows, unfurls, transitions into a velvety, dark space of timeless gloom and longing. I love the textures of it, the denseness… particularly toward the end, as a shrieking bit of sound enters the mix. Very nice!
The bonus track is ‘Sworn Sisters Revisited (When The Night Comes)’, which seems to be a collaborative effort of the three artists. It takes the guitar-thrashing experimental sound structure, adds a rhythmic white-noise static clip. It seems that the track is possessed by/of a strange, hypnotic and diabolical loop of ambient sound that almost feels percussive and lays a foundation below the other noises. The guitar sounds at times like an electric malfunction, a fax machine going haywire, spitting out a feed of atonal scripts of absurdity made horrific by the profile of accompanying layers and textures of sound. After awhile the mix shifts… I now feel like I’m riding a broken carnival rollercoaster, as I can hear something akin to the gearworks of such a mechanism.
I made sure to download this one after finding that the download came with extra files: a pdf and the extra track described above (only the first three are streamable on the Bandcamp page). I like albums that come with cool bonus materials! The pdf is about a woman, Yang Huanyi, who’d died in her 90s and was one of the last fluent speakers and communicators of the Nushu language, a secret language formed in the Hunan province of China by women for the purpose of giving women of the oath a way to express their feelings between themselves regarding the issues and anxieties of arranged marriages, husbands, even mother-in-laws. It was important, perhaps the first language of female liberation as the document illustrates, and a language that was formed and used to help women cope, through communication, with the tragedies they were made to endure. Unfortunately, it is dying. Tracts like these reinforce the need for humanity to recognize the rights of women to be free and held as equal to men and that we must end patriarchy; in the greater sense reinforcing our need for universal equality and autonomy of all people and the end of hierarchy. Really nice concept album, and one you can (and should) hear for yourself at the link below: