Perhaps it is the revolutionary inside of me, but the thing I will always love most is when people get together for the positive good when everyone else would rather turn the other cheek. #BlackLivesMatter, the Women’s March, even the LGBT is protecting in their own way. This teaches us two conflicting things: 1) unfortunately, when it comes to getting both your respect and your actual freedom as an American, you are pretty much on your own, if your allies aren’t walking up, too but 2) you at least have each other to fight for, right?
That’s what one would learn with Sacred Spells, a collection of experimental artists that dip into genres from darkwave to dark electronica. This album was created as a means to celebrate January 22nd, which is International Trans Prisoners Solidarity Day and help benefit the TGI Justice Project. The TGI Project is “a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex (TGI) people—inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centers—whose mission is to create a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom.” And there is a good wealth of artist who all lift their fists in solidarity with tracks that have that mourning, shameful, seething energy, as well as energy to dance off, if you please.
Tracks from minimal wave stompers (“Ana Venus” by Lovataraxx) to the explosive yet subtle bark “Hunting Song” by Anatomy to The Bedroom Witch’s own seething cloud of a trip-hopper “This House is No Longer” show up. Occasionally, the outliers show up and show out on its own. For example, Malocculsion’s “Worm Food” sounds like what happens when trap malfunctions and melts into a liquidated IDM stutter, Maya Songbird coos a gothic lovesick love letter with “Wicked Attraction” and M. Lamar’s standout piano-ballad “Scarecrow Jim Crow I’m a Demon Coming at You (Don’t Give Up on Me)” sneers lyrically when his vocals croons with a sense of contained chaos. Think Nina Simone if she was inspired by Diamanda Galas to really dig deep and channel her demons as a black person.
If Sacred Spells can be described as anything, it is both a mourning and a celebration of the lives that were lost during the incarceration and the constant murdering of trans and intersex women, and it is a collective curse towards those who took chunks of their lives away from them. With Sacred Spells, you get a chance to shake, stomp, swivel and sneer for those who will never ever get a chance to do so for a while, if ever again.