November 2014 National Music Reviews

Review: Pharmakon – Bestial Burden

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Pharmakon – Bestial Burden

Pharmakon
Bestial Burden
Sacred Bones
Street: 10.14
Pharmakon = Prurient + Cremation Lily + Eraserhead Original Soundtrack 

On last year’s Abandon, NYC noisemaker Margaret Chardiet introduced herself to the masses with a scream; Bestial Burden, Chardiet’s follow-up, opens with a minute-and-a-half of the claustrophobic sound of her own hyperventilation. Over the record’s seven tracks, Chardiet expands this sonic constriction to incorporate lashes of industrial noise and throat-scraping vocals over minimal, looping beats, while also incorporating non-vocalized inflections of her vocal chords—such as breaths and coughs. Like the confining breaths on “Vacuum,” “Primitive Struggle” features two minutes of gradually-expanding, cacophonous coughing. These sounds of struggle and track names such as “Body Betrays Itself” and “Intent or Instinct,” make apparent the album’s themes of struggle between one’s body and mind (Chardiet was bedridden for 3 weeks on the eve of her last European tour, as the result of an unexpected surgery). Bestial Burden’s noise places listeners in the fray of that concept— which makes it an excellent companion to Chardiet’s previous work. –Christian Schultz
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