For your sake, I would not advise looking up this album if you’re in a public place and this advice goes ten fold especially if you’re at work – I couldn’t find a picture without the cover art prominently featured, so I had to use the man’s logo. Now that that’s out of the way, Thrill Jockey has gone and released another piece of limited vinyl, and it’s limited to the most metal number of them all – 666. The Soft Pink Truth is Drew Daniel, who comprises one half of the duo Matmos.

I first remember hearing about Matmos when I got a copy of Her Space Holiday’s The Young Machines Remixed – they remixed “Tech Romance,” which could be considered the hit off the album, on par with “My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend” and “Japanese Gum.” They effectively deconstructed the song and it was almost like the original wasn’t even there. Daniel does this with the concept of black metal and its culture – he deconstructs it, and I guess some would say he defiles it. With the homoerotic imagery that graces the cover, spitting in the faces of the subcultural stereotypes who enjoy black metal, homophobes and neo-Nazis specifically, Daniel is making quite the statement. The most ironic cherry on top of all this? Why Do The Heathen Rage? is the first half of Psalm 2:1 (the KJV specifically).

Like the cover, the video for “Black Metal” isn’t exactly safe for work either but I have linked it below if you’re curious. Check out a preview of all the albums tracks by going through to the A Number of Small Things link (which, if you live in the EU, you need to go to) I’ll post below and see what you think of it. Cheers!

 

The Details

The new album from The Soft Pink Truth (Drew Daniel of Matmos). The album features appearances from Antony Hegarty (Antony and the Johnsons), Terence Hannum (Locrian), Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak), M.C. Schmidt (Matmos), and Owen Gaertner (Horse Lords). The album takes songs by Venom, Beherit, Sarcofago, Sargeist, Darkthrone, An, Mayhem, Hellhammer, and Impaled Northern Moonforest and presents them as addictive house and techno anthems.

Deluxe LP version includes pink metallic foiling on cover, printed inner sleeve and free download card. The first 666 vinyl copies are pressed on pink vinyl with the remaining copies on black. CD version in 4 panel mini-LP style gatefold package with metallic pink printing.

This is a pre-order for June 17th street date. All orders including this release will ship on or before the June 17th street date.

The Soft Pink Truth is the solo alter ego of Drew Daniel, one half of celebrated Baltimore-based electronic duo Matmos. After a decade of silence in which Daniel concentrated on Matmos and becoming a Shakespeare professor, The Soft Pink Truth is set to release Why Do the Heathen Rage? whose subtitle “Electronic Profanations of Black Metal Classics” reveals its bizarre agenda as an unrequited love letter to a justly divisive genre. A gleeful queer travesty of black metal’s undying obsession with kvlt authenticity, Why Do the Heathen Rage? is also a formally precise homage executed with a scholar’s obsession. With the guitar chord transcription assistance of Owen Gardner (Teeth Mountain, Horse Lords) and a coven of guest vocalists, including Antony Hegarty and members of Locrian and Wye Oak, Daniel meticulously transposes the riffs, structures and patterns of black metal chestnuts and deep cuts by Darkthrone, Venom, Mayhem, Sarcofago and more into oddly hybrid new forms. Cruising camp absurdity by forcing a sticky tryst between the two mutually incongruous early 90s subcultures of rave and black metal, the results are bracingly strange on first listen, but curiously addictive as the album sinks in.

Imitating the countless black metal albums that begin with ominous intros, the album commences with “Invocation for Strength”, a spoken word track in which a Radical Faery poem used by gay activist Arthur Evans in his classic Witchcraft and the Gay Counterculture is read by Drew Daniel and Antony (Antony and the Johnsons). After this queer hymn, the rhythmic assault begins with an industrial gabber take on Venom’s genre-founding song “Black Metal”, featuring vocals by Baltimore artist Bryan Collins and screams from Daniel. Stark trap beats and rave synths meet two-step house bounce on “Sadomatic Rites,” originally by Beherit, whose electronic opus H418ov21.c was an inspiration to Drew as he was making this album. Adding a witchy twist to an underground metal classic, Jenn Wasner (Wye Oak, Dungeonesse) lends her smoky, soulful voice to an orgasmic house deconstruction of Sarcofago’s redlight anthem “Ready to Fuck.” After a surprisingly sensitive guitar led intro, “Satanic Black Devotion” erupts with full on screaming vocals from Terence Hannum (Locrian), paired with IDM beats, synthetic banjo, and a rather glaring plunderphonic re-working of a recognizable dancefloor classic. Side Two kicks off with a stark, vogue-ball inspired rethinking of Darkthrone’s “Beholding the Throne of Might”, with whispered vocals from London based free improviser/composer Jennifer Walshe and a spoken interlude from David Serrotte of the vogue ball crew House of Revlon. The goth factor spikes on “Buried by Time and Dust”, in which Daniel’s Matmos partner M.C. Schmidt croaks the lyrics to the vampiric Mayhem original on top of MIDI harpsichord while a moldy 808 drops the “Planet Rock” beat. In an Ouroboric final gesture, the album concludes with a paroxysmic take on “Grim and Frostbitten Gay Bar” by Impaled Northern Moonforest, the parodic fake black metal project of Anal Cunt’s Seth Putnam. A blizzard of snippets of pop, house, crust and metal are shredded and smothered in lo-fi screaming and arctic field recordings, ending the album on suitably contradictory notes of mockery and celebration. The album’s controversial artwork, which will remain redacted for the time being due to the extreme content it portrays, fits those themes as well, depicting a volatile, extremist scene undergoing a long overdue queerification, coming out rich and strange, shiny and pink.

The Soft Pink Truth was started in 2001 when legendary UK house producer Matthew Herbert challenged Drew to “make a house record,” resulting in the project’s slyly funky debut album Do You Party?, which Herbert released on his own Soundslike Records. Daniel has also produced floor-burning remixes for Bjork, Herbert, Grizzly Bear, Dat Politics and many more under The Soft Pink Truth moniker. “Why Do The Heathen Rage?” follows his 2004 release “Do You Want New Wave or Do You Want The Soft Pink Truth?,” a collection of electronic interpretations of UK punk and American hardcore songs. As a member of Matmos, Daniel continues to break down established norms of experimental and pop music practice by filtering genres through unique and brilliant conceptual lenses, and has established himself as one of the most individualistic electronic musicians of the past several decades.

Disclaimer: Aesthetics and Politics are neither equivalent nor separable. Black metal fandom all too often entails a tacit endorsement or strategic looking-the-other-way with regards to the racist, anti-Semitic, sexist and homophobic bullshit politics that (still) pervade the scene, on behalf of either escapist fantasy talk, shaky invocations of art as a crypto-religious path to transcendence, or--the oldest cop out in the book--the quietist declaration that “I just like how it sounds.” Just as blasphemy both affirms and assaults the sacred powers it invokes and inverts, so too this record celebrates black metal and offers queer critique / mockery / profanation of its ideological morass in equal measure. Mixed emotions about a murky, diverse and self-differential scene are all very well, but, as Barack Obama is so fond of saying at press conferences just before legitimizing drone warfare, let’s be clear: No apologies, no excuses, and no escape clauses are hereby offered. Murderers are murderers. No safe space for fascist garbage. The Soft Pink Truth hereby abjures black metal homophobes, racists, and Nazis categorically and absolutely: MAY THIS CURSE BIND! Remember Magne Andreassen!”

Price $16

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