Matchess - Somnaphoria LP
Whitney Johnson’s Matchess project took flight in 2013, with the super limited cassette release “Seraphastra” on Digitalis Industries, a bewitching miasma of synth & organ drones, prepared tape loops, & viola scree. Trouble In Mind re- released “Seraphastra” in 2014 on vinyl, giving it a much-needed wider release, and since then, Johnson has been working diligently, crafting her next installment in a proposed trilogy, entitled “Somnaphoria”. Johnson’s solo work has always toed the line between the corporeal vs. metaphysical - the juxtaposition of the physical interaction of viola strings & the electronic pulses of circuits & oscillators. Recorded by Johnson in her home studio & mixed by Cooper Crain (Bitchin’ Bajas/Cave), & inspired by the writings of Rimbaud, Baudelaire & Verlaine, “Somnaphoria” is a dazzling leap forward. With a cohesive vision both thematically & sonically, the album fuses elements of contemporary classical music & modern experimental electronic music with a neo-new age mysticism. Johnson isn’t the first electronic musician to find inspiration in the French poets - pioneering musician Ruth White also found Baudelaire’s “Flowers of Evil” to be a guiding force & titled her 1969 album after the writer’s collected poetry works & White’s seminal work seems to be a touchstone for “Somnaphoria”. Much like Rimbaud’s symbolist poems, the underlying themes of the album’s eleven compositions play out like the fever-dream of a sleeper refusing to wake up, drifting in & out of focus, but seeing all. Indeed Rimbaud’s quest to become a “seer” thru his poetry is analagous to Johnson’s quest for a shamanic connection to the listener through her music. Matchess continues to evolve, both recorded & in a live setting & Johnson has only begun to allow us, the listener to hear her potential.