Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House
CMS-07 & SSB002
January 2021, vinyl LP (clear with black smoke), cassette (smokey transparent grey/brown), digital
Co-released with crystalline morphologies!
LP + cassette orders include digital album.
Mystical doom, hag blues, confrontationally pure: Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House is a solo electric guitar and voice performance that is as much a cathartic purging of loss as it is a droned-out metal colossus that summons the holy spirit. Informed by Korean shamanist ritual and the Korean tradition of P’ansori singing (which demands rehearsal next to waterfalls, in order to ravage the vocal cords), as well as by Keiji Haino, Diamanda Galás, and Jeff Buckley, this performance—termed “intimate metal” by a fan—is a grief ritual for Hedva’s mother.
1. O Death (10:45)
2. Wash (7:26)
3. Family (3:50)
4. Taking Is the Same as Giving (5:24)
5. 2 Coins (Tears are what god uses to lubricate its big machine of nothing) (9:07)
6. Mary (God is an asphyxiating black sauce) (6:06)
All songs written by Johanna Hedva, except the American traditional“O Death”
Guitar and vocals by Johanna Hedva
Mixed by Randall Dunn
Mastered by James Plotkin
“O Death” recorded by Chandler McWilliams, Human Resources Los Angeles
“Wash” recorded and mixed by Pan Daijing and Turi Agostino, Amplify Berlin
“Family” recorded by Hedva, Berlin “Taking” recorded by Hedva, Amplify Berlin
Violin on “Taking” by Pauline Lay
“2 Coins” and “Mary” recorded by Francesco Donadello, Vox Ton, Berlin
Cover photograph of Hedva by Ian Byers-Gambler
Back image by Chandler McWilliams
"This record is a document of grief at the death of my mother. The journey the record takes you on begins with encountering death, the rage and violence that this summons; to the wash of grief, all the tears and heaving feelings that it brings; to a small, little crying-out in the dark; to, finally, not acceptance, but surrender to the annihilation of it. These stages of the story map to the songs: “O Death” is the angry encounter, a doom song that is violently bare; the washing tears is the song “Wash”; the small cries are the two ballads in the middle, “Family” and “Taking”; and then “2 Coins” and “Mary” at the end are the annihilation.
My voice and the guitar are two voices that are battling each other but also singing in a kind of desperate harmony. They keep trying to find each other in the dark. At times the guitar is ferrying me to the underworld, like the mythological ferryman Charon, and at other times, it is death itself. Both of us are demons, or are we angels. It’s also my mother, maybe. In the end, the body of the guitar is killed. I stand over it, like a preacher, and say the Hail Mary. My mother’s name was Mary. When I perform Black Moon Lilith live, I dress either like a preacher or a gravedigger. In a line, it’s about the labor of death.
Words I want for Black Moon: terrifying, annihilation, cosmic darkness, the song of whales, the sound of the void, deep time. It should not be easy to listen to, both in concept and affect. It demands attention because it’s an entire world from beginning to end that eats you. It should scare you but feel good, like it’s cleaning you out. It should be a heavy blanket of darkness that is comforting, like how a blanket can be too heavy but also be what you want." —Johanna Hedva
Johanna Hedva is a Korean-American writer, artist, musician, and astrologer, who was raised in Los Angeles by a family of witches, and now lives in LA and Berlin. They are the author of the novel, On Hell (2018). Their work has been shown at The Institute of Contemporary Arts in London, Performance Space New York, the LA Architecture and Design Museum, and the Museum of Contemporary Art on the Moon. Hedva’s writing has appeared in Triple Canopy, frieze, and The White Review, and is anthologized in the Documents of Contemporary Art series by Whitechapel. Their essay “Sick Woman Theory,” published in 2016 in Mask, has been translated into six languages. Their albums are The Sun and the Moon (2019) and Black Moon Lilith in Pisces in the 4th House (2021).