Knife Throwing

Himukalt is Ester Kärkkäinen. We heard her with her 2016 tape for Helen Scarsdale where Jennifer Hor picked up on the confrontational nature of her voice-and-noise act, and she also appeared on the 2020 cassette box On Corrosion where we dug this shrill female “intent on wreaking vengeance on an indifferent world” with her power noise. Since 2016 I see there’s a number of titles from this solo performer with provocative titles such as Septic, Sex Worker, See One Dark Eye, Last Wish, and others suggesting a terrible air of finality. For those with a taste for more, here’s a UK CD edition of her 2018 LP Knife Through The Spine (COLD SPRING RECORDS CSR289CD), which originally appeared on the American label Malignant Records and now resurfaces with one extra cut, the 9:29 stab ‘The American Redhead’.

Himukalt’s work is made with noise, power electronics, and her own voice, and the xerox artwork also by her is very much a part of the package – scan six panels of this digipak for disturbing images redolent of sleazy porn bordering on snuff movie turf, made even more potent by use of collage and cut-ups. The label Cold Spring are keen to stress the “old school Industrial” credentials of this music, but what I’m feeling on today’s spin is her very imaginative and dynamic approach to power noise, almost elliptical you might say, only slipping the hideous Id of sexual terror off the leash when the occasion demands it, and for the rest of the time sitting there in a decaying pit of brooding, smouldering horror, emanating poisonous and vengeful thoughts. In this delirious twilight world she creates, Himukalt’s vocal content is distorted and scrambled, with nary an intelligible word making it through the barrage of electronic noise bursts, but it’s impossible to ignore her monstrously alienated tone. You get the impression that this disaffection is a permanent state of mind for her, not just a persona she’s created to make a record. Track titles make reference to such unwholesome subjects as fear, psychosis, and voyeurism, and the entire landscape seems to be strewn with naked bodies, more likely to be stripped for the autopsy table than for any form of sexual gratification. Additional tracks ‘The American Redhead’ was completed in 2020, but makes use of source material from 2017 so is probably drawn from the same vats of despair as the original LP.

Press notes put her work in a seraglio with other female noise-acts Puce Mary and She Spread Sorrow (the latter of whom has also appeared on Cold Spring). Strong meat here and not for the squeamish…grim and remorseless for sure, but highly cathartic, a recommended listen for when you need to rattle your bones and purge your intestinal system. From 18th March 2021.