Four days before New York noise musician Margaret Chardiet was supposed leave for her first European tour as Pharmakon, she had a medical emergency which resulted in a major surgery. Suddenly, instead of getting on a plane, she was bedridden for three weeks, missing an organ. "After seeing internal photographs taken during the surgery, I became hyperaware of the complex network of systems just beneath the skin, any of which were liable to fail or falter at any time," Chardiet said. "It all happened so fast and unexpectedly that my mind took a while to catch up to the reality of my recovery. 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."
Consumed by these ideas, and unable to leave her bed, Chardiet occupied herself by writing the lyrics and music that would become Bestial Burden, the second Pharmakon LP for Sacred Bones Records. The record is a harrowing collection of deeply personal industrial noise tracks, each one brimming with struggle and weighted with the intensity of Chardiet's internal conflict.
Bestial Burden was recorded at Heaven Street Records in Brooklyn, N.Y. with Sean Ragon (Cult of Youth, Venerence), who also recorded 2013's critically acclaimed Abandon. Ragon allowed Chardiet to experiment with a mix of live recording and tracking, and some of the vocals were recorded live with a small group of people packed into the studio so she could feed off their energy. The result of those sessions is the bar-raising follow-up to Abandon, and an invitation to go even deeper into the sometimes terrifying, always fascinating labyrinth that is Margaret Chardiet's mind.
Bestial Burden, the previous album by Margaret Chardiet's Pharmakon project, focused on the disconnect between mind and body, looking at the human as an isolated consciousness stuck inside of a rotting vessel. For Contact, she wanted to look at the other side of the spectrum - the moments when our mind can come outside of and transcend our bodies.
In trance states, music and the body are used to transcend the physical form and make contact with some outside force. Chardiet decided to structure the compositions of each side of Contact after the stages of trance: preparation, onset, climax, and resolution.
ARTIST'S STATEMENT:Man is a rabid dog, straining at its leash of mortality with bared teeth. Snarling and clawing over each other, we aim to reach a higher ground to claim as our own. There are those who will attempt to exert power over others to attain it. They will sniff you out; lay claim over your body, your actions, your thoughts, your time. (How starkly human, so desperate for the sense of vantage over all versions of its own reflection!) Their aims are empty, because their power is a construct they created and gave back to themselves. They too are small and inconsequential. All people are only human and humans are only animals. The nature of existence and our sentience is chance, owing nothing to anything. Humankind is of no special significance to the universe. (Despite all our scrambling rejections, we cannot transcend all of our instincts - just animals, lost in a confused dream, where mankind is real and at the center of everything). We are each nothing but a single, short-lived cell in a vast organism which itself will one day die. If we accept that the only true claim sentience gives us is our tiny sliver of time, it opens us to revel in it, to make CONTACT. When we pick up on transmissions between the private rooms inside our heads and the flesh of our vessels, when thought escapes its isolation and is seen, heard and understood. When our mind uses the body in order to transcend and escape it! The moments of connection/communion/CONTACT, when the veil is for a brief but glorious moment lifted, and we are free. Empathy! EMPATHY, NOW!
Margaret Chardiet was born and raised in New York City. She has been making power electronics / death-industrial music under the name Pharmakon for five years. As a founding member of the Red Light District collective in Far Rockaway, NY she has been a figurehead in the underground experimental scene since the age of seventeen. She describes her drive to make noise music as something akin to exorcism where she is able to express, her “deep-seated need/drive/urge/possession to reach other people and make them FEEL something [specifically] in uncomfortable/ confrontational ways.” Engineered by Sean Ragon of Cult of Youth at his self-built recording studio Heaven Street, Abandon is Pharmakon’s 1st proper studio album and also her first widely distributed release.