Written Before Listen
Lingua Ignota is a singer, songwriter and performer hailing from California. I always thought of her as an artist who was hard to identify with. Her album “Caligula” is a record I’ve listened to and remember vividly when I first heard it. Still to this day, it is a record that I’m scared to go back to because of how thrilling, disturbing and hateful it was. Maybe if I had to classify Linguas work, I would consider it a mixture of Industrial music, Noise music,Classical Music and Dark Ambient. It also has aesthetics of some of the heavyweights of Post-Rock/Punk music such as Swans, Birthday Party, Slint, and Have A Nice Life. With that being said, I’m afraid but excited to get into this.
First off, this is no rock music. There is no drum sets, electric guitars or any amplifiers present in the studio. Instead, Lingua brings in classical and folk instrumentation. Bringing in banjos, dulcimer, chimes and other Appalachian Folk instruments. She then combines her classical background with the folk instruments, Including pianos, cellos and church organs in the mix. It’s no fun time either. Instead of plucking around these instruments to make country music, she welcomes these instruments with dark chord progressions, haunting effects and raw mixing. Every instrument here has its welcome.
I was considering to have a theme section for this review but I realized that there is one main topic on this album, Religion, Most specifically Christianity. She touches on topics such as devotion, religious approval, feeling betrayed as well as forgiveness. Every single topic touched though, is touched with minimal yet layered meaning. It’s really the duality of Lingua’s faith. We see all sides of the spectrum as it’s backed with interview samples, theatrical vocal performances and full believability.
How does she approach the themes of religion? Does she go in detail? The answer is yes and no. Its not like she subliminally touches on these topics either. The reason I say both yes and no is that it takes little amount for Lingua to full surface these themes. She uses a lot of repetition, vocal inflections and vocals snippets in the span of 55 minutes that cover up what she needs to cover up.
When it comes to Lingua Ignota as an artist, she is truly hard to single out. This album is not one particular genre. I always thought of Linguas style of music was her complete own. Looking Ive seen her music be considered “Neoclassical Darkwave” and that makes complete sense as I always considered her music to be an industrial and dark take on Western Classical Music. This time around, she takes her unique style and blends it with Avant-Folk music. Alongside the genres I mentioned, she also takes elements of American Folk Music, Drone as well as Singer/Songwriter music. To go even further we even get country influence on “Man Is Like A Spring Flower” and a hymn for the outro. Lingua Ignota’s music doesn’t really remind me of anyone recent because from what I’ve heard from her, the Lingua Ignota musical pedigree is far stretched. Surely her dark, atmospheric, folky and classical inspired music can be compared to artists like Swans or Marble Index era Nico, but her music is one of a kind.
To be honest, I really cant say that much about this albums weaknesses. The only thing I will say is that, I don’t see myself coming back to this album. It’s not for a lack of interest or its forgetfulness, it’s more for its distinct style and its inability to be recommended to other people. To a lot of people, this music would be too unfamiliar or uncommon. Its kind of like that scene from Arthur where they give Binky the headphones and he goes into a kaleidoscopic journey. To me on the other hand…..Jesus Christ.
Wow…I am in shock. I dont think there is an album that came out this year that has moved me, opened my eyes and enduced goosebumps on my skin more than this record. This album is extremely powerful. There’s only a few records ive listened to that made me emotionally speechless after ending, and this album is surely one of them.