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Kristen Hayter, the classically trained multi-instrumentalist, performance artist, and vocalist known as Lingua Ignota is set to release her third full-length and Sargent House debut, SINNER GET READY. A graduate of the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in Literary Art from Brown University, much of Hayter’s work is centralized around abuse. A survivor of domestic abuse for much of her life, her music seeks to explore survivor hood of abuse through the vantage point of rage and despair in leu of common approaches she views as “enforced patriarchal models of civilized femininity”. The follow up to her critically acclaimed break out CALIGULA, SINNER GET READY is an abrasive, unsettling portrait of devotion and betrayal, judgment and consequence, set in the derelict landscape of rural Pennsylvania, a neglected region deeply embedded with a particular god-fearing brand of Christianity, and where Hayter currently lives.
With SINNER GET READY, Hayter continues to build on the mythology she has created with CALIGULA and ALL BITCHES DIE but renegotiates and dismantles her own aesthetic language. She abandons any previous industrial grandeur and multi-genre approach, instead focusing on creating dissonance with traditional instruments of the Appalachian region, otherworldly vocals and congregational polyphony, subverting American primitive forms with avant-garde techniques and nods to modern composition. Lyrics and melodic motifs from past work reappear in unexpected ways, mirroring the repetition of cognitive patterns, the trappings of a lonely cycle.
Lyrically, Hayter’s distinctive ability to weave the allegorical with personal tragedy is further refined, as intimate lamentations on abandonment and loneliness are carefully braided with references to Mennonite treatises (“MAN IS LIKE A SPRING FLOWER”), calls to repent written on barns in Amish Country (REPENT NOW CONFESS NOW), illuminated manuscripts from ascetic religious sects in the monastic cloisters of Ephrata (THE ORDER OF SPIRITUAL VIRGINS, THE SOLITARY BRETHREN OF EPHRATA), and lore of the Pennsylvania Dutch. Songs are rich with duality. “PENNSYLVANIA FURNACE” is a liebestod ruminates on the inevitability of God’s judgment, evoking the legend of an 18th century ironmaster whose dogs return to drag him down to hell after he throws them all into his furnace in a rage. “PERPETUAL FLAME OF CENTRALIA” is a quiet meditation on one of the major lyrical motifs of the record, the blood of Jesus; that which can “wash and cleanse every stain,” as tearfully expressed by disgraced evangelist Jimmy Swaggart in a televised confession sampled on the previous song “THE SACRED LINAMENT OF JUDGMENT”. “PERPETUAL FLAME”, named after an abandoned mining town where fire has been burning underground since 1962, opens with an interview with the prostitute that brought Swaggart’s indiscretions to the surface. It serves as a warning, deceptive in its beauty.
SINNER GET READY was created with Hayter’s primary collaborator, producer, and engineer Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets in Rhode Island, with additional arrangements and performances from multi-instrumentalist and composer Ryan Seaton, and banjo-playing from J. Mamana. Otherwise, it is a solitary endeavor, where the listener is very much forced to contend with Hayter; raw, haggard, and alone.