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Music Geek Track of the Day: ‘Body Betrays Itself’ by Pharmakon

Today’s track of the day is not for the faint of heart. If you’re plugged in with headphones, prepare for the f-cking abrasive onslaught of industrial apocalypse that is Pharmakon’s “Body Betrays Itself”. The first 45 seconds sound like the suspenseful aughts of a slasher flick that you know is going to spiral so deeply and irreparably out of control.

Control is the central theme that is explored throughout these feral, foaming, unrelenting five minutes, wherein Margaret Chardiet yells from her diaphragm some indecipherable plea, or curse, or cathartic chant. Its not necessarily so important what is coming out of her mouth as much as the fact that it is coming out of her mouth. She is willing it and making her presence known in the most animalistic, base way possible. The emanating electronics provide the sonic confines of the track, but they are essentially a straw man just waiting to be set ablaze by her unearthly yell. This is a powerful idea to be able to manipulate and supersede one’s constructed boundaries.

Chardiet explained writing this song in the aftermath of a serious illness wherein she became acutely aware of the difference between body and mind, and how unforgiving a vessel the corporeal self really is. I fell in love with this song because of this quote specifically:

“I felt a widening divide between my physical and mental self. It was as though my body had betrayed me, acting as a separate entity from my consciousness. I thought of my corporeal body anthropomorphically, with a will or intent of its own, outside of my will’s control, and seeking to sabotage. I began to explore the idea of the conscious mind as a stranger inside an autonomous vessel, and the tension that exists between these two versions of the self.”

If you’ve had a frustrating day, you are very welcome for this song. If you’ve had a decent day, sorry to scare the shit out of you. Maybe try playing some Steely Dan at the same time to soften the blow?

Pharmakon’s album, Bestial Burden, comes out October 14 via Sacred Bones.

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