A lineup like this is a must-see. Local noise/experimental composer Jasper Den Hartigh. Doom/sludge/grunge masters Thou. Neo-classical industrial goddess Lingua Ignota. Prolific doom/noise duo The Body. In typical “summer in New Orleans” fashion, the hot and humid atmosphere perfectly echoed the sounds created in Gasa Gasa.
Den Hartigh, formerly of Heat Dust, played a cello-based piece that, I believe, was written for this performance. Or the performance was intended for this piece. Either way, when he plays a show it means he’s crafted some brilliant new piece of instrumental music that should be a film soundtrack.
Thou took to the already crowded stage with six members. With KC Stafford, who has been playing bass and additional guitar for a few months, and Emily McWilliams, frequent Thou collaborator, the band played a few tracks from their acoustic, softer EP Inconsolable. Songs like “The Hammer” and “Fallow State” were among the typical sludge-y songs on the setlist and, somehow, were still tearjerkers even with Bryan Funck’s added scathing vocals. With multiple EPs released and Magus on its way, this is certainly the Year of Thou.
I somehow stumbled upon Lingua Ignota’s All Bitches Die last year. Within a few minutes, I knew I had found my album of the year. As someone who grew up taking vocal lessons, listening to Evanescence, Sarah Brightman and The Phantom of the Opera before discovering the music I listen to now, the record is everything I never knew I wanted combined into one project. It’s classical. It’s industrial. It’s baroque death powerelectronics. Whatever you categorize it as, Lingua Ignota’s music is soul-crushing at its core. The experiences behind the songs and the words she sings (or screams) are truthful, painful and empowering. Kristin Hayter (sole member of Lingua Ignota) paced the floor of the venue; she hauled utility lights, which she swung and clanged like strange Buddhist temple bells, and exorcised herself while shocked faces stood motionless in awe. Samples of Aileen Wuornos played in the background and between tracks and, at one point, the crowd chanted her name and cheered. It made my eyes water and my heart stop to see a room full of people feeling the same emotions. Hayter has masterfully and seamlessly bridged classical and abrasive music to create a magical, cathartic and unique sound that evokes strange, if not suppressed, emotions from everyone it touches.
The Body. What is there to say except they are very loud, they are innovative and they never seem to take a break. As with Lingua Ignota, people fall into a trance when they’re in the presence of the Oregon duo. I must admit, I think I was still shocked and speechless from the previous set. It’s not often that someone upstages The Body, but Hayter did so (at least for me, who has listened to All Bitches Die multiple times per week for months on end). Truly, though, when it comes to wholly one-of-a-kind musicians, this lineup was as good as it gets.