I would argue that part of what Pharmakon does should be situated in the folk music tradition: she offers narratives (however fragmented) that elicit extreme empathic responses. Anyone who has seen her live and been stared into the ground as she screams directly into your face with deeply unsettling, horror film-esque removal can relate to this. Pharmakon measures the limits of the self—building on the noise and industrial traditions of transcendence through painful, total assimilation—by musically delving as deep as she can go into different kinds of intensity. Appropriately, her forthcoming new album, Bestial Burden, deals directly with the existential themes and corporeal fragility Pharmakon confronted while recovering from major emergency surgery earlier this year.
“My mind took a while to catch up to the reality of my recovery,” Pharmakon has written. “I felt a widening divide between my physical and mental self. It was as though my body had betrayed me, acting as a separate entity from my consciousness. I thought of my corporeal body anthropomorphically, with a will or intent of its own, outside of my will's control, and seeking to sabotage. I began to explore the idea of the conscious mind as a stranger inside an autonomous vessel, and the tension that exists between these two versions of the self.” Sacred Bones just released her first post-recovery single off of Bestial Burden, and it’s a real dark delight. Catch it below.