Contact opens with “Nakedness of Need”. The track features what we’ve come to expect from the Pharmakon auteur, Margaret Chardiet. Heavy drones, blasts of noise, and her blood curdling shrieks are all front and center. It’s an unnerving listen, but there’s a key element that makes it even more confounding. Throughout the whole track, Chardiet bounces back and forth between anguished cries and what sounds like, excuse my french, orgasm noises. There’s never any sense of joy in Pharmakon’s music so it’s hard to know how to react to hearing even vague traces of pleasure in the mix.
Her last album, Bestial Burden, was inspired by her hospital stint, sickness, and the idea of her body shutting down. Contact is not just the followup album. In a lot of ways it feels like the sequel. Where Bestial Burden explicitly focused on the body, Contact focuses on where the mind transcends the body. If Bestial Burden is The Inferno, Contact is Purgatorio. Contact follows a similar format as its predecessor while feeling less brooding and even more enveloping. You could make the argument that this is Pharmakon’s party album, or as close to a party as someone who says “Man is a rabid dog, straining at it’s leash of morality with bared teeth” is willing or able to get. Tracks like “No Natural Order” and “Sleepwalking State” feel like the John Carpenter soundtrack from Hell, but whole album feels oddly inviting and even spritely compared to her past work. Listen to it below.
Contact is out now. Purchase it from Sacred Bones with the link below.