If the white male hegemonic forces truly want to find a threat in queer, non-gender conforming art and music, that threat is manifest in False Maria. Heresies, transgressions, psychic self-immolation, and sexual deviance run amok with the litany of confessionals told by this unlikely proposition. According to False Maria, “this is the sound of addictions battled, abuse endured and lovers lost.” Two entities exist with False Maria: the Los Angeles creature of the night Jhane P (she/her) and the mercurial Tomasz C (they/them) from the UK. For the past several years, their transcontinental conjurings have resulted in a steady stream of splits and self-released short-runs, all on cassette. Compositionally, False Maria leans into seasick tape loops and samples that ooze out of the more monstrous forms of Premature Ejaculation or even the Los Angeles Free Music Society (i.e. Solid Eye, Le Forte Four) with Jhane’s vocal recitations of sex crimes and trauma leading the dance.
With their eponymous debut for the Helen Scarsdale Agency, False Maria presents an opus of untidy, post-industrial malaise across this sprawling double cassette album. In comparison to their first fruits, this body of work shows a tremendous leap in production value with adventurous drum and synth programming that seeks to pull blood from the air with a sonic alchemy adjacent to Coil. The pulsing slink from “NHI : No Humans Involved” finds Jhane’s vocals entwined with those of Himukalt’s Ester Kärkkäinen, the Vegas death-industrialist cast from an equally tragic history of sexual anguish. By contrast, the albums’ finale “Mixed Signals : An End” is strangely playful piece of percolating electronics. Yet, the rest of the album plunges into what they have self-prescribed as “uncomfortable electronics” – the lurch and crawl of the “Cherry Sundae” (which is not about the ice cream dessert, mind you), the sidereal crescendos of “Was It A Life : Patterns”, and the menstrual divinations of “Her Blood : Communion.”
This is an album not recommended for all, but to those with a predilection for Zos Kia, Johanna Went, Dilloway-era Wolf Eyes, and the aforementioned Premature Ejaculation might find majesty within all of the grotesqueries.
Additional instrumentation by Meet On Titan, Ester Kärkkäinen and Sean Ragon. Mastered by Grant Richardson.