Experimental musician Whitney Johnson has, over the course of her previous two albums as Matchess, considered the sound of sight from different points of view. 2013’s Seraphastra searched for the other side of the visible, 2015’s Somnaphoria filtered that sight thru dream vision. Sacracorpa completes the trilogy, and grapples with the hidden inner realities only ever uncovered during a crisis.
The music that comprises Sacracorpa was written after a time of personal crisis for Johnson, who used the following months as a time of healing, recording the music at locations in Chicago, New York (while working on an installation at La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela’s Dream House) and an earth ship outside Abiquiú, New Mexico. Johnson’s extraterrestrial soundscapes pulse and writhe, at times sounding like funeral hymns (opener “Of The Living”) or spiritual invocations, summoning forth the circuit-fried ghosts in the machine that dwell just beyond. (”Of Freedom”, or the mournful “The Misty Realm”)
Johnson approaches composition from a shamanic perspective, applying not only a set of spiritual principles, but a set of technical principles as well. Rest, fasting, meditiation all factor into the creation of Matchess compositions, as well as consistent instrumentation; her Ace Tone organ, viola, a Rhythm Ace drum machine, magnetic tape all run thru effects and augmented by field recordings (recordings of a tributary of the Susquehanna River, a dog barking across the Allegheny Mountains, and an alien radio station in a New Mexican Arroyo, among others.), and Johnson’s own voice (sung using a vocal technique she coins the “sigil mantra”, a hybrid of a Buddhist mantra and Austin Osman Spare’s sigil). Sacracorpa is an album of songs of healing, and the truths it reveals.
Sacracorpa is also released on standard black vinyl and is available via most streaming platforms.
RIYL (Recommended If You Like): Circuit des Yeux, Grouper, Sarah Davachi, TALsounds, Ruth White, BBC Radiophonic Workshop, Noveller, Bitchin’ Bajas