08 Aug 2021 - Thorsten
Avantgarde Ecclesiastical | Sargent House | Release date: 06 Aug 2021
As strange as it may seem, there is something uplifting about the new Lingua Ignota record Sinner Get Ready as it shows a woman at least a bit more fortified against the agony and trauma she had to endure in her life before turning into one of the most revered voices of a new female self-empowerment movement as she is still talking about her past self-denial and mental tortures endured at the hand of her oppressor. However, there are now some moments of a tiny, flickering, fragile light in her music and lyrics.
Kristin Hayter is a phenomenon – she suffers during her recordings, during her performances and during those moments when she has to talk about her experience with domestic violence. She once spoke about the interviews with the police as an act of re-victimization which were somewhat worse than the deeds themselves. Some people do not want to talk about her wounds, they want to lock her away. Hayter, on the other hand, opens her wounds regularly and comes out at the other end with a different kind of self. Whether this one is more self-assured and confident in her own personality and skill-set remains unseen for us, the audience, the observer. In this context the question should also be raised to which extent we are the reason for her opening these wounds again and again. But if you ever witnessed a concert by Lingua Ignota, you might (as a male) have a queasy feeling (because of having the same sex as Kristin’s oppressor) but one thing also becomes clear: She is not accusing us, she is accusing her perpetrator and the demons evoked by his acts of cruelty and misogyny, of her own loss of self.
On Sinner Get Ready one witnesses a few examples of her next step towards something else, which hopefully resembles coping and healing. The highly artistic elegy ”Pennsylvania Furnace” (which seems to portray the act of “burning” the aggressor’s home down or turning his world upside down) shows a few lines which hint at a positive outcome (at some future point): ”There is victory in Jesus / Do you want to be in hell with me / I know you want to stop but you can’t stop / I’ve watched you alone / In the home where you live with your family / And all that I’ve learned is everything burns“. Hayter, who comes from a religious background uses Jesus as a symbol of hope for victory and the seeming revenge she has taken on “him” - ”Everything burns”, also his corporeal home or his version of “family”. This is one of the perfect examples of her music which she calls “survivor anthems” - surviving is a bodily thing, coping something totally different. And even in these small moments of hope there is still the evil lurking around every corner: Above all others / Above all / I fear your voice / Above all other above all / I fear your name / Above all others above all” are the words to the last part of this perfect piece of ecclesiastical Americana.
This record is maybe even brighter when listening to these miniature bright undertones to the piano intro of opening track ”The Order Of Spiritual Virgins” - even though the first words of the record are ”Hide your children! Hide your husband!” implying that the following will not be nice. The track’s first 450 seconds are another highlight in the Lingua Ignota-canon as the choral work in this piece of music (sorry, it’s not simply a song!) are so variable and delicate that the track stands out immediately with its mix of Classical singing and using the voice like a synthesizer laying out a worded sphere of sound underneath the primary harmony. The second half of the song then is an example of how a minimalist approach in instrumentation can be broken and still held together with the addition of noise permeating from exactly these keys plus some thrown in noise-elements. Wow! One might argue that Hayter has been doing that on her former records as well, but here this kind of songwriting found another peak. And when the (male) vocal samples set it after 7:20 minutes it’s as if the known cause for Kristin’s pain is emerging from the dead. Even when the (in this context) ironic humming and harmonizing of the guy sets, it’s as if he’s nothing but a disturbing element amidst an otherwise peaceful cleansing moment. The fact that right after that we hear a church organ is a clear mark against him, and the use of the can be interpreted variably: from a clean-cut ending to his “vocals” to THE instrument used inside a male-dominated world. Either way, Hayter is turning it against patriarchy by owning it on her record and in her own way: A decision and an act of pure self-empowerment!
In the coming years Sinner Get Ready will be evaluated and judged by many people but one thing should not be forgotten: This very moment, when the record is another stepping stone for her on her voyage towards her desired artistic expression and away from the judgment of others dictating her life and self-consciousness. In this context it’s another perfect mosaic in an oeuvre initiated by pain and fighting for self-claimed independence and freedom.