Maria Horn - Kontrapoetik LP
Label: Portals Editions
Kontrapoetik is a personal and simultaneously historical investigation, tackling the turmoil-ridden past of composer Maria Horn's home region Ångermanland in northern Sweden, and her own counter-exorcism project thereof. Drawing from archival material, she taps into the conflict of the worker's movement's clash with the Swedish military in the 1930's that nearly triggered a revolution. Before that Ångermanland was the site of an execution of women accused of witchcraft in 1674. Norrland is sometimes referred to as "the colonies" because of the uneven distribution of the wealth generated by its natural resources, little of which is reinvested in the area. Since the 1970's, it has seen depopulation and disintegration of the welfare state. "Ångermanländska Bilder" is based on material from a collection of films that depict the environment of Ångermanland from 1930-1940: the manor houses of the rural community, steamboats transporting timber along the river, power plants, and sawmills. Concurrent with Horn's Ångermanland research, she was part of an artistic research project in the form of a satanic feminist sect. The goal of the sect was to develop a practice of ceremonies and rituals from counter-readings of the Christian genesis narratives, dismantling its misogynist traditions. In these, Lucifer is re-conceptualized as a feminist liberator, and seen as an ally in the struggle against a patriarchy supported by God and the priesthood. Several of the pieces on Kontrapoetik were composed specifically for ceremonial practices, such as "Ave", a composition built from a text by sect member Michelle Jangmyr. Field recordings sourced from the archives of The Härnösand Art Museum thread through magnetic tape, formatting stark portraits of Horn's attested narrative. Harmonically, inspiration is drawn from ancient Swedish pastoral music, minor scales and free contrapuntal progressions. Recordings from Swedish radio were uncovered from the archive and sampled and reinterpreted. The fusion of these sources with mellotron, church organ and Buchla 200 synthesizer creates an immersive music that welcomes other forms of listening, unhinged from the cerebral and guided by intuition. The territories explored by Horn on Kontrapoetik are vast, but at the heart of each piece is a strong fundament of reductionist technique; deceptively simple harmonic progressions are re-fractured through the means of inversion and repetition. Coupled with this is an almost tactile relationship to texture as well as an immaculate sense of the physicality of sound. This work, while saturated by longing and loss, never gives in, but stands steadfastly defiant.