On Kontrapoetik, composer Maria W Horn explores the deceivingly serene yet turmoiled past of her home region, Ångermanland, in the north of Sweden. The region was the site of Sweden’s largest documented execution of women accused of witchcraft in 1674 in the form of burnings and decapitations, and following that, there was a conflict between the worker’s movement and the Swedish military in the 1930’s that left five dead and nearly triggered a revolution. To explore this buried turmoil, across six tense and foreboding tracks, she weaves together field recordings sourced from the archives of The Härnösand Art Museum, samples from uncovered archival recordings released by the Swedish radio in 1966, a mellotron, church organ, and a Buchla 200 synthesizer. The music evokes pain, fear, anxiety, and, at times, serene beauty—and sometimes all at once.
While researching the history of Ångermanland for the album, Maria was a member of an artistic research project in the form of a satanic feminist sect, whose goal consisted of ceremonies and rituals based on counter readings of the Christian genesis narratives, dismantling its misogynist traditions with counter-myths that re-conceptualized Lucifer as a feminist liberator of womankind and an ally in the struggle against a patriarchy supported by God the father and the male priesthood. Several of the pieces on Kontrapoetik were composed specifically for these ceremonial practices, as in the case of "Ave," which is a composition built from a text by Michelle Jangmyr, one of the sect members.
In support of the LP, which can be pre-ordered here, Portals Editions has offered up a full stream of "Ave," a haunting eight-minute epic, available via the player below.