Pharmakon announces new album ‘Bestial Burden’

"It was as though my body had betrayed me.": the New York noise musician follows up last year's 'Abandon' with a record inspired by the removal of one of her internal organs.


New York Noise! Pharmakon is putting out a new album in October and plotting an extensive tour supporting Swans.

The basis for new album 'Bestial Burden' is, well, mental. As a press release explains, Pharmakon (real name Margaret Chardiet) was about to leave for her first European tour as Pharmakon when she had a bit of a medical issue. She ended up having surgery, was bedridden for three weeks, and was one organ short.

"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 says, "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. I thought of my corporeal body anthropomorphically, with a will or intent of its own, outside of my will's control, and seeking to sabotage. I began to explore the idea of the conscious mind as a stranger inside an autonomous vessel, and the tension that exists between these two versions of the self." These ideas formed the basis of the album's lyrics and music.

The record collects piercing noise tracks and industrial rhythms, recorded with producer Sean Ragon (who also worked on last year's 'Abandon'), who had a lax approach to following the engineer's rulebook and instead focused on capturing Chardiet's performance in its truest state, mixing live recording and tracking, with vocals sometimes recorded in a studio packed with people.

You can watch a trailer for 'Bestial Burden' above and browse some extensive tour dates supporting Swans below. There's also the artwork – as gross as the last album's, right? – embedded below.

Read our interview with Pharmakon from 2013.

Live dates (with Swans):

September 25th: AB Club, Brussels
September 26th: Paradiso Music Hall, Amsterdam
September 28th: Le Marioquinerie, Paris
September 30th: La Sirene, La Rochelle

October 1st: Sala Apolo, Barcelona
October 2nd: Shoko, Madrid
October 3rd: Plateruena, Durango
October 4th: AmpliFest, Porto
October 7th: Fri-Son, Fribourg
October 8th: Grabenhalle, St. Gallen
October 9th: Hiroshima Club, Torino
October 10th: Estragon Club, Bologna
October 11th: DNA Concerti, Rome
October 12th: Alcatraz Milano, Milan
October 14th: Pogon Jedinstvo, Zagreb
October 15th: A38 Ship, Budapest
October 16th: Kino Kiska Centre For Urban Culture, Ljubljana
October 17th: Arena Big Hall, Vienna
October 18th: Unsound Fest, Krakow
October 20th: Lucenra Music Bar, Prague
October 23rd: Schauspiel Leipzig, Leipzig
October 24th: Gebaeude 9, Cologne
October 25th: MusikZentrum, Hannover
October 27th: Kampnagel, Hamburg
October 29th: Beatpol, Dresden
October 30th: Mousonturm, Frankfurt
October 31st: Jubez, Karlsruhe 

November 1st: Feierwerk, Munich

Sacred Bones Records release 'Bestial Burden' on October 13th 2014 (pre-order).

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