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Release Date: 
Friday, March 1, 2024
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Brazil-born damsel IO is one of the most productive / active human beings lately. She is, and I quote, ‘visual artist, scenographer, fashion designer and musician’. When talking about ‘musician’, she’s active under different pseudonyms or throughout serial recordings, such as IO, Dragonflies In The Garden, The Flower Book, Modor, Black Paintings, The Hunt Of The Unicorn, For Children: The Gates Of Paradise, Danse Macabre and who knows what else. Yet she’s running a few labels too (some of them in collaboration with Bode Gustav), such as Grimm Goat, z0 Records, Shadow Tears, The Church Of Noisy Goat, Hera or OIOOIOOI OIOOIIII.

…and… she very recently started a new project, called Móđir, which delves into occult and symbolist subjects. This review will deal with the third instalment under this moniker, Mortification, which follows the stunning albums in principiis and In My Flesh And Bones (both of them also released earlier this year). [and hey, I might write a review on both of them too in a near future, at least if the Gods of Time grant me the gift of timelessness]

Besides another aural approach once again (though, all three Móđir releases have a comparable and coherent attitude for sure), it is a remarkable fact that this third recording is way shorter (less than twenty minutes, while both former ones did clock respectively -and more or less- eighty-five and seventy-five minutes!), with much shorter compositions taking part of the concept. It’s a digital-only release, coming with somewhat simplistic yet intriguing cover artwork, created by Lady IO herself.

Entering the abyss of the occult and the spiritual, we explore the ancestral rituals of mortification of the flesh and self-flagellation, archaic practices shrouded in mystery and shadow that transcend physical limits to reach the recesses of the soul. Under the veil of darkness, the use of the hair shirt and discipline becomes a ritual of sacrifice and devotion towards spiritual purification and communion with the transcendent. This conceptual approach gets translated through seven different yet coherent sonic pieces, like an aural definition of ancient, archaic, ceremonial and / or ritualistic practices to accompany the physical body and the spiritual soul towards the next level of man’s existence.

The album opens with the longest piece, Disciplinary, which clocks about five minutes (the others in between two and three minutes). It is an extremely militant track, gathering elements from Martial Industrial, Dark Ambient and Post Industrial, yet with so much more than just a sum of these ingredients. Repetitive yet combative beats, doomed and ominous drones, ambient loops, manipulated samples and industrialized electronics get mingled into a dense, obscure and harsh ritual, drenched in an eldritch, somewhat mesmerizing atmosphere. It has a sci-fi attitude without being futuristic, an open-minded execution without becoming experimental, and an archaic approach without becoming primitive. With success, Disciplinary accompanies the listener through One’s Self, like a quest in search of the Inner Eye, focusing on awareness, consciousness and introspection, yet totally seen from a distantly endarkened and, at the same time, transcendental vision.

The other tracks are, as said, much shorter than before (and shorter than the opening composition), yet all of them too have to tell their part of this huge narrative of confrontation and repentance, of reflection and resignation. Devotional is clouded in a nebula of doomed ambience, with energetic percussions and deep beats, windy loops, hypnotic background harmonies, and spectral noises. “I Chastise My Body” (mind the quotation marks) finds sonic inspiration in an organic amalgam of percussion elements from different sources, gloomy background textures, and mechanic addenda, including manipulated string-like sounds towards the end. Self-Flagellation too has a sense of masochistic, or penitent, flair, defined through immense synth-waves and multifold industrial, mechanical and electronic treatments. This shady expression of spiritual claustrophobia and mental bondage works deranging, yet effective at once. It’s a harsh chapter that confronts the listener with his / her own hidden yet impending horrors, alter-egos, visions and delusions, and the realization (and often denial) of those inherent demons. With Penance, Móđir explores the outer limitations of Death Industrial and Dark Industrial, through the eclectic use of strings, percussions, electronics and digital experimentations. This dense, oppressive ‘song’ lasts for less than two minutes (it is the shortest one on this mini-album) yet it leaves you confounded, disordered, disoriented. Cacophony and structure organically go hand in hand (or claw in claw). More horrific Black / Dark Ambient gets spawned via Suffering, injecting mesmerizing soundscapes with trancelike and seductive spheres, menacing waves, and spectral textures. It leaves you gasping for air, searching for light, craving for quiescence, with inner peace and conscious surrender of soul. Ecstasy, at last, is a harsh, impulsive track, based on rhythmic beats and percussions, expansive soundwaves, an energetic cadence, and industro-mechanoid pulses. It is an obtrusive, lurid epistle with a bright message, a testament of past and present.

Despite its short length, Mortification appears to be an overwhelming, monumental soundtrack that will satisfy all those who can appreciate everything, anything, withing spheres of Dark Ambient and Drone, Ritual Industrial, and all kinds of Aural Art in between…