Pharmakon makes noise that vomits and bleeds | Concert Preview | Chicago Reader

Pharmakon makes noise that vomits and bleeds 

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click to enlarge Pharmakon

Pharmakon

Courtesy the Artist

For New York noise artist Margaret Chardiet, aka Pharmakon, the body is a wet, alien thing that hangs on the self like meat on a butcher’s hook. Her defining album, 2014’s Bestial Burden (Sacred Bones), chronicles a serious illness and hospitalization. It opens with the multitracked sound of her desperate breathing, in a claustrophobic symphony that makes you feel like you’re being asphyxiated. Throughout the album she screams and coughs and vomits searing electronic barrages in a terrifying evocation of her own disintegrating shell. And on her recent fourth full-length, Devour (Sacred Bones), Chardiet pants and spews as she circles around related themes. The title refers to self-cannibalism, which Chardiet sees as a metaphor for fascist violence and for our species-wide effort to drown the planet in our own waste products. “Self-Regulating System” layers on factory clatter and throb, a machine invented to pound listeners to a paste. “There is an all-devouring hunger / Which distends deprivation,” she rasps on “Deprivation” as power electronics chew away at her voice, swallowing identity and meaning alike. Chardiet’s live shows are famously intense; she sometimes writhes on the ground, as if trying to escape her skeleton and organs or give birth to them. Some noise artists confine their palettes of whines and roars to abstract realms, but Chardiet mercilessly embodies the rawest of emotions.   v

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