Shitney is the trio of Copenhagen’s finest, left-of-center and wicked musical minds – Estonian sax player Maria Faust, Swedish vocalist and keyboards and electronics player Qarin Wikström, and Danish Katrine Amsler who plays on a small army of homemade string and spring instruments, electronics, and programmed drums. Shitney (yes, originally titled Shitney Spears) was formed in 2015 with a sacred mission: to experiment and explore the confines and the paradoxes of its acoustic-electric sonic pallet. On its debut album, «Earth Core» (Ilk Music, 2017), Shitney sounded as the hyperactive female rulers of Sun Ra’s Saturn colony, excavating their own way to imagined, far away universes, with a strong, feminist perspective on free music.
«Post Vocal», the much-anticipated sophomore album of Shitney pivots to darker, apocalyptic territories, befitting the current, pandemic dominating times, but, still, stressing a bold and overtly feminist mentality. Shitney examines its very own genre, the Post Vocal, with their ever-developing mindsets and eccentric musical voices, and offers an enlightening and poignant critique of structural bias, masculinity, and misogyny, in the past, present, and assumed future of the so-called modern society.
The sonic envelope of «Post Vocal» still matches the organic with the synthetic, and often resonates with ancient themes, but offers little, if any comfort. It invites the listener to a journey into a series of sonic puzzles with more and more labyrinthian ways but without visible exits. The folky, accordion-tinged melodic introduction to the opening piece «Ivan» drowns quickly in a quiet dissonant storm. The title piece flirts with Robert Wyatt’s melancholic-depressive Rock Bottom-era but settles in a rough and uncompromising techno beat. The brief «Do you like it» suggests a nightmarish experience of all the things we would not like, and the disturbing «Wonderful», with its fractured rhythmic patterns, reminds us of some of these experiences. The contemplative «Hell Herring» let us know that we are dealing with women with delicate tastes who would not tolerate delicacies like this hell-ish herring.
«Sword dance» invites the innocent listener to a futurist, playful duel with an alien with a strong rhythmic sense. «Epicœne» matches Faust’s dark choir of saxophones with unsettling, threatening electronic sounds. «Dysprosody» captures the essence of «Post Vocal» and sketches the apocalyptic, noisy drama, as we are all propelled into the critical phases of the climate crisis by greedy politicians and corporations. The following, elegiac and lyrical «Booby Marinada» sound now as a kind of lament to our world, as we know it, and the last piece, «Milk the Universe», with its rainy background and its distant and scratching vocals and sounds, reminds as again about the perils of apocalyptic, acid rain.
If I may quote Laurie Anderson, the spiritual mother of Shitney, who almost forty years ago warned us from a collective crash landing: «This is the time. And this is the record of the time».
Katrine Amsler (micro g, Awillo Springs, Lyra organismic synth, drum prog), Qarin Wikström (v, elec, N/I); Maria Faust (s, eff)