Over three years since we welcomed her atmospheric sludge / post hardcore project MAR to our pages, Kay Belardinelli, an interdisciplinary artist exploring psychological trauma and its effects on the body, presents her new solo project Mariassunta. Recorded in pandemic isolation earlier this year, her new offering “Il Vulcano” comes as volcanic, atmospheric, haunting, mournful, yet hopeful dark ambient laced story of longing, burning, and starting over.
Somewhere between a misty dream and a supplication to the gods, Mariassunta blends hypnotic chants with distorted guitar, airy vocals, and atmospheric field recordings, to give you even more eerie flavour to your autumn evenings. Today, we have teamed up with Kay to give you a special insightful commentary about the contents of “Il Vulcano”.
“Il Vulcano” is available via noise label Divergent Series on the 10″ lathe-cut vinyl.
Mariassunta weaves through 8 tracks of unearthly guitars, haunting vocals and smoldering drones that ebb and froth until the surrounding area is irrevocably transformed. Like its namesake, there are hidden nuances on “Il Vulcano” that coalesce to create an ethereal tapestry. Definitely an appropriate accompaniment for an uncertain world.
Words by Kay Belardinelli
There is a lengthy scene at the end of the old Italian film Stromboli, in which the protagonist scales a volcano on foot, after escaping an oppressive environment.
Her personal belongings fall away as she is enveloped in the thick smoke. As she ascends, she contends with an adversary even more formidable than the violent man she left behind: the volcano, expelling fiery ash. Early this year, I watched this scene many times.
One day I awoke from a dream with a sweet melody, and these words hanging in the air: “I can only be loved if from afar / Always a screen, or a veil”.
Though COVID-19 had not yet hit the US, I was already feeling the pain of isolation (or perhaps a premonition of the forced distancing, masking, and digitizing of society to come).
A couple weeks later, I performed this song in Boston as part of a live score to the Stromboli volcano scene.
That night, those of us in the screening room got word that the coronavirus had just arrived in the US.
Five months later, the country was on fire after the loss of several black lives by horrific means, at the hands of police. Oluwatoyin “Toyin” Salau was one woman speaking out against the brutality. While fighting fiercely in the streets, she was herself unhoused and vulnerable to society’s many failings.
𝐻𝑒𝑟 𝑙𝑖𝑓𝑒 𝑤𝑎𝑠 𝑒𝑛𝑑𝑒𝑑 𝑤𝑖𝑡ℎ 𝑢𝑛𝑢𝑡𝑡𝑒𝑟𝑎𝑏𝑙𝑒 𝑣𝑖𝑜𝑙𝑒𝑛𝑐𝑒 𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑏𝑒𝑡𝑟𝑎𝑦𝑎𝑙.
At a candlelight vigil for her in Providence, one woman cried out “the world should burn to the fucking ground for her”. I want to see the earth cleansed by the flames. I want us to build and hold something new in our hands.
Until then, I am alone and looking out of a little old house in Providence, Rhode Island. In the throes of a pandemic lockdown, the Aaliyah song “Come Over” takes on added weight. A consuming loneliness creeps in when she sings, slowly, “Can I… stop by… to see you… tonight?”
The record ends on a hopeful note:
“𝑖𝑓 𝐼 𝑏𝑢𝑟𝑛 𝑖𝑡 𝑑𝑜𝑤𝑛 … 𝑠𝑜𝑚𝑒𝑡ℎ𝑖𝑛𝑔 𝑚𝑖𝑔ℎ𝑡 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑤 𝑓𝑟𝑜𝑚 𝑡ℎ𝑒 𝑔𝑟𝑜𝑢𝑛𝑑.”