Torschlusspanik – Intersexual Healing
Tennessee’s experimental artist Torschlusspanik delivers an astonishing album of cathartic and vulnerable compositions. Strange Mono, in collaboration with fellow Philly label No Rent Records, is releasing Intersexual Healing as a deluxe double cassette on December 13th, 2022. We see this album as a vital proclamation to the world, casting light onto the overlooked and underserved intersex community.
Originated in 2013, Torschlusspanik (Luna Mitchell) is “a middle-aged Tennessee gal’s outlet for mostly unpleasant and nonrealistic music” that has been summarized as “maximalist electro-acoustic” in the past. A wide scramble of sounds are “crudely forced into sound collage and (vague) song format intended for weaponizing emotional overstimulation and mulling over lost opportunity as time is near expired”.
Luna explains ”This collection of songs has been the first, after decades of centering most of myself as a musician, that feels like it could finally be my final important work. I’ve had a nagging voice in my head telling me for an embarrassingly long time now that I’ve been expecting (or at least hoping for) some sort of euphoric therapy that will likely never come from the creation and distribution of this type of music. But each time I’ve considered deleting everything and giving up I suppose that perhaps that excitement and healing can manifest in listeners instead”. This finality can be felt in the track “open carry” in its use of percussive bells, shattering glass, and rifle shots.
Across the album on tracks like “gerascophobia”, which crescendos in a chorus of modulation blending livestock and human voice, there are a myriad of sounds reflecting the artists upbringing. “I grew up in a very small town in west Tennessee called Atwood (population 949). Incidentally, I have been living in the same house again all year, with my wife and mom. We never had a farm ourselves, but family and friends did and those left impressions on me. I remember being very young, witnessing my first birthed calves and discovering groups of piglets crushed beneath their mother during the same week-long visit with my aunt”.
Expanding on the origins of the project Luna states “I got my start as a solo musician around 2003 when I picked up two synthesizers from the Goodwill store where I worked and recorded some doodling that I thought sounded neat. Harsh noise and other “experimental” stuff had started to replace indie rock as my main interest by this point, so I wanted to start a CDR label for my solo work as well as a duo my friend and I started called ‘Beesty’. I stumbled my way through those years, forcing a path through an extremely unstable and unhappy period until I would repeatedly collapse briefly and then reemerge with some new ideas to try again under assorted names and genres. I moved to South Carolina for 2008 and fell into extreme reclusion for over 5 years, and then Torschlusspanik started out as yet another one of those self-destructive attempts until gradually learning how to better exploit my strengths, predict my weaknesses, and hone in on the aspects of art that I had been longing for this entire time.”
The albums namesake, and heart piercing final track, “intersexual healing” forces the listener into a confrontation. The crib sounds and the delicate melody of a music box juxtaposed with grinding, metallic, scapes illustrates the complexities of internal conflict. “My process for this album began with finding hundreds of sample sources that I felt sounded good together, nothing more. I used to place more value on creating the majority of my own samples, but I wanted to relax that standard. Most tracks have no additional recordings from myself included this time around. As I began to manipulate and “play” these samples together, forming the earliest demos in late 2021, I realized what kind of narrative and emotional portrait I ultimately hoped to create. It’s a little over a year later and I don’t think there’s anything left but to see whether others feel as strongly about these songs as I do.”
Proceeds from our release of “Intersexual Healing” benefit interACT. InterACT uses innovative legal strategies to advocate for the human rights of children born with intersex traits. Fostering youth advocates and raising awareness via media, the team works to end non consensual surgeries on intersex children.