Abandon Your Burden: Pharmakon Debuts A New Track
Vulnerability is a word often associated with 23 year old Brooklyn noise artist Pharmakon, really Margaret Chardiet.
Pharmakon’s excellent 2013 release Abandon caught me by surprise. Abandon is a blend of industrial noise and power electronics that is very immediate, but at the same time strangely listenable. That album put her on the map for many; it received accolades on prominent music sites and earned Pharmakon a spot opening for Swans on their European tour this fall. I really, really, really hope that tour makes it stateside at some point. I voraciously read everything I could about Abandon. She said Abandon was about “Loss. Losing everything. Relinquishing control. Complete psychic abandon. Blind leaps of faith into the fire, walking out unscathed. Crawling out of the pit.” Check out “Crawling On Bruised Knees”, the last track from Abandon sans the 27 minute bonus track “Sour Sap”.
Pharmakon turned up the intensity for her new single “Body Betrays Itself”, the third track from her forthcoming album, Bestial Burden. She said this album was inspired by a health emergency and a new perspective she gained from that crisis. With track titles like “Body Betrays Itself”, “Primitive Struggle”, and “Autoimmune”, these songs would be right at home alongside a collection of David Cronenberg films, and the music in this track fits the description. “Body Betrays Itself” picks up right where Abandon left off. It opens with a low end, wobbly bass, crawling synths, and a steady drum beat that keeps time for the first three plus minutes of this track. An electronic element is added that sounds almost human, then Pharmakon makes her presence known vocally; beginning as a distant, distorted groan before she eventually unleashes an inhuman shriek. This is all in the first fifty seconds of the song. The song repeats, sounding somewhat tribal, but builds and becomes more distorted while the screams at the end of each movement feel more drawn out. The music here is calculated and chilly, like hostile miniature robots inhabiting your bloodstream. The whole thing finally dissolves into loudening feedback halfway past the three minute mark.
This is not easy music to digest by any means. However, as mentioned, it can be strangely listenable and quite accessible compared to other artists under this sub-umbrella. If you have even a passing interest in power electronics, harsh noise, industrial music, or a host of similar genres, allow Pharmakon to be your training wheels.
Is Pharmakon’s rising profile indicative of some shift in public consciousness?
Preview Pharmakon’s new track here. Bestial Burden is due out 10/14/14 on Sacred Bones Records. Get excited. Give up control.