Today is my birthday. It should have no bearing on my daily posts, but for whatever reason it has me thinking about my relationship with music here and now. It has me thinking about which artists resonate with me today, at 36 years old. Well, there are probably very few artists who have become as important to me in recent years as Lingua Ignota.
Kristin Hayter, as Lingua Ignota, has developed such a unique sound that any attempt at labelling it is pointless – baroque, extreme noise, industrial, neoclassical, everything in between.
To the uninitiated, Hayter might seem unassuming – a demure blonde woman with a beautiful, powerful voice, sitting behind a piano. Gentle melodies guide that incredible voice, but then we, the listeners, are punched square in the face with a wall of distorted noise. The beautiful vocals give way to furious screams and the atmosphere shifts dramatically. From here things push harder and darker and, as far as I’m concerned, heavier than anything I’ve ever heard.
“Heaviness” is a subjective concept. What determines “heavy”? Blast beats? Downtuned guitars? Indecipherably unclean vocals? For my money, this right here is as heavy as it gets.
But there is a very important clarification to be made here. This isn’t hollow dramatics, forced with the simple intent to shock and confound. Hayter imbues the music with the horror and heartbreak of her past.
You feel the pain because that pain is fucking real.
And then there is the experience of a Lingua Ignota live performance. It is heartbreaking, confronting, and terrifying – and that’s just the audience. For Hayter herself, it almost looks like years are being shaved off her life as she puts her through the confronting emotions of it all night after night.
I’ve still yet to have the honour of seeing Lingua Ignota live. 2020 was supposed to be my year. But that fucking pandemic…
Lingua Ignota is not easy to recommend to people, and certainly not for everyone. Musically it’s impenetrable for many, and the topics can be confronting. However, I will always tell anyone who will listen that should you be willing and receptive, the experience is incomparable.
Lingua Ignota is, in my opinion, the single most important artist of the last decade. I cannot wait to hear what she does next.