Puce Mary – Persona LP Posh Isolation 2014
Puce Mary is the industrial/ power electronics project of Frederikke Hoffmeier who since 2010 been steadily raising her profile via a series of releases, each of which are displayed a gradual improvement in sound, focus and direction. ‘Persona’ forms the third official album.
‘The Course’ opens the album in fine fashion, featuring a strong distinctive throbbing industrial rhythm, fluttering higher pitched tones, metallic clanging structure and vocalisations delivered in a relatively subdued, distortion filtered style. This a blood boiling, fist pumping track and clear standout, where Frederikke demonstrates her skill of how to nail with clinical precision a structured industrial/ power electronics track. Although potentially referencing Pharmakon in relation to this this track may on face value seem entirely lazy (given both projects are part of a new generation of female fronted underground industrial/ power electronics acts), this comparison has far more to do with the clinically sharp sound and rhythmic construction of this opening piece, than any perceived similarity in vocal delivery or the fact that both projects are helmed by women. Following this extremely strong and focused opening cut, the sound takes a drastic left turn the following track ‘The Viewer’ is a lengthy and tensile cinematic styled soundscape with a muted undercurrent of rumbling bass, slow militant percussive beats, creaking metallic debris, shimmering atonal synths etc. ‘Gestures’ then arcs back towards a more focused style, where basic throbbing rhythms, atonal warbling synths and slow drawled vocals articulates a lethargic drugged out haze.
The instrumental track ‘Pigs’ opens the second side of the album, with a layered militant thrum and hissing distortion textures, and whilst threatens at breaking out into all out sonic chaos, never actually eventuates. ‘Impure Fantasy’ is next and an another cinematic industrial soundscape styled track of sustained organ drones, abstract echoed layers, muted percussive textures and vocals which sit somewhere between spoken word and sampled movie dialogue. The title track concludes the album and is the most minimalist track on offer. Built with a basic and loose structure of slow menacing echoed bass layers, the track gradually coalesces into a vague structure as the screech distorted vocals are acerbically delivered.
With three tracks per side, interestingly the album seems follows an almost template approach, where a focused industrial/ power electronics track is followed by a cinematic soundscape and rounded out by another loose industrial composition. Plan or coincidence? Not quite sure. Noting the myriad of sonic expressions on display, ‘Persona’ is a diverse and varied album which is ‘industrial’ to its core given all its aspects are captured under this broad stylistic banner. It is also a clear demonstration that Frederikke is not afraid to experiment with her chosen sound and direction for Puce Mary. Recommended.