Enough has been said, and rightly so, of the sound of this album. Allow me, please, a few words on something else.
Mother on the bed / You disappear right next to me
Dear father, how could you leave me in this place?
Bless Them That Curse You is stretched, like a rope of intertwining mythologies, tense, between two poles, Locrian and Mamiffer. The more you pull on the rope, inward, the looser the foundations become. As Judith Butler writes, in an essay on war and mourning, “[We’re] undone by each other. And if we’re not, we’re missing something.” When Jesus says “bless them that curse you,” he demands something similar: Become, as I will become, undone. The more you pull the rope, the looser the foundations become. If you pull hard enough, all that becomes, in an instant, is a pile in the dirt. If you think that’s a bad thing, then crucify your pain, and pretend it will never resurrect; keep it entombed.
Our losses, both ego and worldly, separated insofar as they can be, are the sources of our creative giving. Undone, all we have left to do is remake the world. Is it unsurprising, then, that at the beginning of Bless Them That Curse You, an album scarred by loss, the first words screamed into the storm of its becoming world are “[Acts] of creation!” (Let there be lightning!) The body struck is rewritten, but the body remains; and the present, without negotiating with the past, dies. It is therefore also unsurprising that divergent mythologies (Alchemic, Christian, Greek) are utilized as sources for personal and aesthetic reinvention and redemption. In “Amaranthine” (a word containing both healing and eternality), Hannum, buried, screams of “[exhuming] our ancestry.” Wordless, the four instrumentals at the center of the album work into that negotiation, that digging, working up through the negative spaces of the pile, the wombs and graves alike, the manifestation of revealed pain, toward finding something otherwise and open. They are like prayers uttered to a possibility. They call back to themselves, finally, in answers, however fragile:
Holy death is mine.
Upon my back you will ride no more.
At the close of the same essay, Butler writes, “[You] are what I gain through this disorientation and loss.” This insight is derived only from the most serious collaboration — between one you and another you (and another, another, another), creating and recreating their world through their pain, together. And it is, foremost, this kind of collaboration that Locrian and Mamiffer have given us in an utterly profound example.