Debut Album MATER DOLOROSA out Sept. 15th
on Kitten Robot Records
photo credit: Jenny Nirgends
“What is under the mask of the face that you portray to the world?” asks Los Angeles-based artist CrowJane. An appropriate question from a music and visual artist whose art carries a heavy dose of mystery and dense musicality that is alluringly elusive yet primally irresistible. Premiering the first single and video “Terminal Secrets” on darkwave tome Post-Punk.com, CrowJane explores the the darkest reaches of alternative and punk and mines them for inspiration.
“Lyrically, this song was inspired by the idea that a person can have a smile on their face but be screaming on the inside,” she tells Post-Punk.com. “What is portrayed on the outside doesn’t always reflect what is actually going on inside a person and within their mind. People can spend so much of their life chasing for money, power, security, validation, fame, ‘success’, and wake up to the realization of the ‘monster they have become’ on their journey to obtain or achieve it.”
single artwort: Rachel Roessler
The visually arresting video combines stop-motion animation and the experimental art and special effects makeup, creating a surrealistic and darkly magical dreamscape. “Director Jenny Nirgends and I both wanted to portray transformation through our love of stop motion animation,” she explains. “We were inspired by various different stop motion films of The Brothers Quay and Peter Gabriel’s music video for ‘Sledgehammer‘.”
Taken from the upcoming album Mater Dolorosa which will be released on Tuesday, September 15, 2020, “Terminal Secrets” is an experiment in bending the limits of music and retaining the structure of pop. “I wanted to write a song that played around with vocal loops as a rhythm,” she explains. The percussive-led track recalls the gorgeous textures of orchestral post-punk that combines a punk freeform aesthetic with electronic and cinematic rhythms and melody.
Having worked with her before while recording her band Egrets On Ergot, LA punk legend Paul Roessler (Screamers, Nina Hagen, 45 Grave, Deadbeats) could see that she was in the grips of the kind of crushing woe that’s so often the seed of hard-won transformation. Suspecting the rewards that awaited if she would risk shining a light on her own murk, Roessler took matters into his own hands and all but locked her in his studio, Kitten Robot. Surrounding her with every available musical instrument, a pen and some paper, he compelled her to face the rawness of loss, abuse, and addiction.
“A lot of thought and experimenting went into this album,” she replies about this collaboration. “A variety of experimental percussive sounds, some coming from instruments that we made out of various materials like bed railing, tin cans, foil, etc. This album is uncomfortably personal which makes me feel exposed to the public. It is riddled with pain and self-reflection from personal experiences and the state of the world. At the same time, it shines a light on some of the beauty of being so exposed and overcoming obstacles. It’s a love story and it’s an expression of gratitude to so many that have left a stamp on my life and helped me grow.”
One by one, using fresh alchemy invented on the cuff, they opened old wounds and from them extracted Mater Dolorosa’s ten eerie pearls. The path they carved together led through a twisted maze, the obstacles so frequently daunting that the project took years. During that time, CrowJane helped bring Egrets on Ergot local acclaim, became “Sally” and “Nurse Heather” in the twisted cabaret of The Deadbeats and, most recently, the unhinged front woman of quizzical LA sonic terrorists, Prissy Whip, whose Swallow LP Roessler also recorded and mixed.
photo credit: Rachel Roessler
Coming from a visual art background of surrealism and horror, she has simultaneously built a career as a professional horror effects makeup artist. This unlikely background helped foster an outsider musical sensibility that is perfectly balanced by an encyclopedic knowledge of the byways and back roads of punk and death rock, both historic and in LA’s contemporary underground music scene, of which her bands have been an integral component for the past 10 years. As a part of these utterly distinct and uncompromising bands, she has developed a reputation for shattering expectations, both in her choice of collaborators and her contributions to the collaboration. Although this pedigree informs the haunting tracks on this solo debut, those familiar with her explosive and provocative live performances will likely be blindsided by the soft vulnerability and nakedness of Mater Dolorosa, the arrangements of which allow her no place to hide and nothing left to do but forgive the past.
Set for release on September 15th which is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows, a Roman Catholic religious day of observance that honors the Virgin Mary (whose iconography for date often shows her with seven long knives or daggers piercing her bleeding heart), Mater Dolorosa is an exciting next chapter for this intriguing and beguiling artist. It was produced by Paul Roessler and will be released via Kitten Robot Records.
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