- Is music gendered? If you exclude typically histrionic vocal performances from house divas or proto-macho EBM groans à la Nitzer Ebb's Douglas McCarthy, is there something essentially feminine or masculine about the process of music-making? Is rock music intrinsically male, while electronic music, as mainstream North American would you us to believe, fundamentally feminine and, well, totally gay? In regard to this dichotomy, Simon Reynolds and Joy Press, in their book 'The Sex Revolts: Gender, Rebellion, and Rock 'n' Roll', even posit that "Rock has never resolved this punk [i.e. male]/hippie [i.e. feminine], rebellion/grace dialectic; its history has been a violent oscillation between either extreme", while it is clear that rave culture and techno music thrive from generic ambiguity and a playful redistribution of the signifiers of gender.
Well, it usually does.
Call me a sexist pig, but I couldn't help but feel – and hear – the great gender divide while listening to Damero's first album on BPitch Control, 'Happy in Grey'. In some way, this album SOUNDS profoundly womanish. Incidentally, Damero is classically-trained Marit Posch, the label's promotions clerk, who recorded these tracks at home for fun, with the occasional help of fellow label mates such as Apparat and Zander VT. The end result is not dissimilar to BPitch boss Ellen Alien's first two studio albums, or Warp's IDM star Mira Calix: muted and confessional vocals with an implied sense of loss (that somehow reminds me of what French novelist Marguerite Duras, the epitome of typically feminine alienation and melancholia if you ask me, once articulated so well) over twisted micro-beats and rugged, complex yet fragile melodies. 'Right_Wrong' and 'Okay_Okay' might be effective dancefloor-friendly numbers, but the overall mood is set right away by album opener "Mope": a motherly Posch softly inviting the listener to stop living "life in a hurry" and having "too much to carry".
Album closer 'I Made a Home' is coming from the same delicate place, with restful acoustic guitar and strings; just like the album itself, it is a welcoming track, yet childlike and naive, a lullaby for the clubbed-out Berliner in all of us, and an appropriate ending for an inventive first release.
Watch out, Ellen Alien: there is a new motherly Berlinette in town. We don't see them yet, but she might have sharp claws. If any stereotypical ensuing sexist catfight will explode, though, remains to be seen.
3 Passage to Silence (feat. Apparat)
4 1-1+1-1+1-...=1/2 (feat. AGF)
6 Neck Warmth
7 Gestern_Morgen (feat. Nevis Peak)
8 Capricorn Saltlick (feat. Zander VT)
9 Sweet Thunderheads
10 Things_Gone (feat. he11 I made a home)