Pharmakon's industrial noise is a pus boil cauterized into a scar. For over 10 years Margaret Chardiet has left a permanently disfigured mark on the New York City experimental music scene and beyond, hammering her deeply tumulted noise into grueling punk structures. Contact is Pharmakon's third LP made available to a larger audience — at least, those not already combusted by her previous work — following two earlier full-lengths and intermittent releases on limited cassettes and CD-Rs.
While Chardiet's worldview is often grim, it's always cut with thoughtful, sharp critique. Contact's closing track, "No Natural Order," is an abrasive piece of metallic skree, as power electronics detonate with zombie-sludge terror and Chardiet howls into the void: "The chance nature of existence / Ours is of no special significance."
She writes to NPR that human existence is "no better than a hog or slab of stone," and argues that humanity must relinquish its perceived notion that we control one another.
With "Natural Order" defined as the concept that humans have an inherent right (and therefore implied responsibility) to continue the human species, which claims humanity as the center of everything in existence — the sole sentient being, master of the universe — I argue that there is NO NATURAL ORDER (and no positive law, and no divine law). That there is no single true history or truth; that all societies, all systems of law, all systems of logic, are constructs that may be deconstructed. We own and are owed nothing. Our existence is chance by nature. No better than a hog or slab of stone. Just cells in a virus.
My interest in making this argument is to point out that if humans could relinquish their ridiculous dream of ownership over the "right" of existence, that they can also relinquish their ridiculous hopes of control over one another. I believe the theory that humans are the chosen custodians of the universe is toxic, and inevitably leads us to the conclusion that in fact some of us have more of a right than others. That this is the source for much of our struggle of power over each other. To stake our claim, find our place. To give our lives meaning over others. If we accept that it's all meaningless, perhaps we could stop cannibalizing ourselves, and ironically have a chance of surviving as a species. Not that it matters if we do.
Contact comes out March 31 on Sacred Bones.