By Greg Grose
Lingua Ignota’s name should strike meaning and recollection into the minds of experimental music enthusiasts as soon as it is uttered. Merging industrial with noise and neo-classical, sole member Kristin Hayter has committed the project to expressing that which cannot be reduced to traditional methods of vocalization.
“A significant portion of this project is giving expression to things I find unspeakable, or that spoken don’t wound like they should,” Hayter explains via e-mail. She’s been insurmountably busy as of late, courtesy of the world catching on to her unnerving, dissonant sound. Profound Lore has picked up her challenging June 2017 album All Bitches Die for a vinyl press impending on June 22; she’ll spend the majority of the summer on tour with black noise masters The Body.
“’He beat me,’ for example, is a sequence of words that has meaning but doesn’t mean enough,” she says. Hayter’s work frequently references abuse and trauma; in a harrowing statement, all artist proceeds from her debut Let the Evil of His Own Lips Cover Him are donated to the National Network to End Domestic Violence.
“How can I express what ‘he beat me’ felt like in a way that allows those who have not been beaten to understand it, for those who have beaten to fear retribution, for those who have been beaten to feel some easement or catharsis?”
The project is geared around expressing what cannot be said comfortably, and evoking sensations that should make the listener feel and experience things far beyond what traditional music offers. Resultantly, it’s deeply unnerving and truly brutal. Take the opening track of All Bitches Die: after opening with a wall of booming noise, Hayter’s wretched howls burst through a cacophony of unnerving wind chimes, metaphorically battered by an impeding storm. “WOE TO ALL (ON MY DAY OF WRATH)” is over 15 minutes of cascading violence that eventually transforms into a mournful piano ballad with gorgeous crooning.
“A lot of the violence in my music is indebted to aggressive transitions or stark juxtapositions: music that is sweet and lilting situated with brutal and graphic lyrics, or something that moves from melodic and musical organization into a harsh, crashing wall,” she explains.
“Finding a way to make disparate things congeal has been a huge part of my practice for many years and it’s very satisfying to me when it works.”
The project focuses on utilizing all of the tools at the artist’s disposal to generate massive emotional expressions. The Russian stringed instrument dubbed the balalika, as well as the triangular shaped bowed psaltery, are unstrung and dismantled as part of the live experience; tools to help evoke the massive emotional expression.
“Honestly my favorite thing about performing is creating space for indeterminacy: at a recent show I slammed a work lamp into my leg so many times the bulb shattered and I destroyed my bare feet in the broken glass,” writes Hayter.
“This could be construed as ‘things not going as planned’ but it was also sort of exhilarating because no one in the room knew what was going to happen, perhaps especially me.”
All of these aspects conjoin for a harrowing and powerful experience that stands alone. Lingua Ignota is devout in its vision to remarkable consequence.
Lingua Ignota performs at Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club as a part of Sled Island Festival on June 22 (Calgary)Lingua Ignota, Palomino Smokehouse & Social Club, Sled Island Festival