Sound artist from Copenhagen release new album on PAN where passion, aggressiveness, and lyricism melt together, turning its 9 tracks into one noisy experiment.
In 2016, an album called The Spiral and released by Posh Isolation shook the experimental music scene. The artist behind it was Frederikke Hoffmeier aka Puce Mary, a sound sculptor from Copenhagen. At that point she had already released several LPs and EPs since 2010 and her live performances were known among noise lovers for their abrasiveness. Although not a newcomer, the album significantly elevated her profile. And last October it rose even further with the release of The Drought [Pan, 2018].
Undoubtedly one of the most inspiring and surprising works of 2018, The Drought represents a step forward in terms of concept, composition and sound. Often compared with Pharmakon, Vit Fana or Acronym, among others, her power electronics amount to a lyrical offering where harsh sounds intermingle to create an industrial poetry book.
In fact, this LP is a piece of art in its entirety, from the album cover, designed by Torbjørn Rødland, to the last of its nine tracks, mastered by Rashad Becker. Upon gloomy apocalyptic soundscapes the Danish musician develops a world that pivots on a myriad of wisely-combined dramatic layers, mesmerizing repetitions, and industrial effects. While her usual raw intense distortion has not gone anywhere, the compositions provide listeners with quieter phases, which paradoxically bring about a sharper unrest. It is especially the case in To Possess is to Be in Control, where her reverberated voice articulates the words: “It makes me sick to open my body to you to give you all I have. If I can possess you. Why can't I possess my own body? To possess is to be in control”. A Feast Before the Drought speaks about lamenting, rage and sadness, igniting a war to challenge our very existence and our approach to life. As Puce Mary has said: “[these]compositions manifest an ongoing power struggle within the self towards preservation. The traumatised body serves as a dry landscape of which obscured memories and escape mechanisms fold reality into fiction, making sense of desire, loss and control.” The Drought unquestionably ratifies Vladimir Jankélévitch’s postulates on music’s underlying capability to speak the unspeakable. The album brings together texts by Charles Baudelaire and Jean Genet, but their purpose seems to be to lead listeners in a certain direction rather than to communicate a precise and clear message. That’s exactly where we, as the audience, need to let ourselves get lost, and it is just then that we start to understand what a huge work this is. A real sonic poem: touching, evocative, enriching and empowering. For many, ranging from Ian Svenonius to James Baldwin, this is the true meaning of art. And I agree.
All in all, Puce Mary’s The Drought is, without any kind of doubt, one of the albums of 2018. It shows the real power of music in terms of expressiveness and reaching corners of the mind no word can reach. It provokes a whole palette of emotions: primary, personal, social, political… It speaks about freedom, danger, power… Both a poem and a manifest, this evocative, revolutionary and deeply beautiful album is a passionate invitation to feel and, therefore, to thrive.