Album artwork for In Death’s Eyes

In Death’s Eyes Petra Hermanova

Release date: October 13, 2023
Cat No: UGD-009
Barcode: 4250101460999
23,90 €
“Praying to god whether or not I believe there is one” - PH

Petra Hermanova and Unguarded announce In Death’s Eyes (UGD-009), the debut solo LP under the artist’s own name. This LP features nine tracks utilizing folk and sacred musical technique and instrumentation which drift between song and heavy distorted drones. In a disciplined display of beauty, pain, and astute musicianship, Hermanova brings forth a notable accomplishment of an album. In Death’s Eyes confronts death from start to finish with a rare fervor that leaves one feeling it was utterly necessary for Hermanova to produce - to survive. The transcendent impulse, or the influence of religious music, bears heavily on Hermanova’s compositions in her choir arrangements, but is most apparent in her use of pipe organ, opening the record on Black Glass. Having written organ parts for a significant portion of the record, she sought out the renowned organist Denny Wilke to record with her in the Merseburg Cathedral. Captivated by Wilke's profound skill as a player and knowledge of the Ladegast organ, Hermanova invited him to collaborate on Two Deaths where he delivers an impressive improvisation. While religious music offers spiritual solace from grief, folk speaks to the human and earthly as told by the individual, be they songs of suffering or joy, sin or salvation. To Hermanova, the clean promise of liturgical music is not enough to alleviate the blunt pain of grief. Contrasting the spiritual is the voice of the individual sufferer - the folk musician. For Hermanova, the autoharp embodies this contrast. The autoharp, a familiar sound in Appalachian folk music since its mass production in the late 1800’s, is an affordable instrument designed for the unskilled player. It is the antithesis of the organ which is costly, gargantuan, reserved for skilled players, and quite literally a part of the church. Through In Death’s Eyes the sounds of transcendence blend with the worldly, the tension between them poignantly expressing Hermanova’s struggle for spiritual resolution against the reality of death and loss. Like Hermanova’s lyrics, the artwork, conceptualized by Enes Güç and Evelyn Bencicova, is riddled with symbolism and allusion. We find Hermanova on the cover, digitally rendered. Reclining like an anatomical Venus, her vital organs are exposed, suggesting she is denied a transcendent death and is instead immaculately human. Bearing a sickle, her legs are metallic like armor, both symbols of protection. We see here in this image, as we hear in the nine tracks of IDE, the metaphoric state of someone ravaged by loss, choosing to tear herself open in an attempt to heal. - Reece Cox Petra Hermanova is a musician and visual artist based in Berlin. In 2018, Hermanova began working with the autoharp, which has since become the central pillar of her musical practice. Drawing inspiration from folk, medieval drone, and contemporary textural expressions, as well as Appalachian autoharp music, she creates emotionally driven arrangements accompanied by vocals. In her lyrics, she speaks to the fragility and tenderness of the human condition, religious conceptions of death, and introspective landscapes through narrative and symbolism. Hermanova debuted live at the Berliner Festspiele event The Sun Machine is Coming Down, performed at Trauma Bar und Kino accompanied with her choir, and recently took part in Sorour Darabi’s durational performance From the Throat to the Dawn. Her debut solo album, In Death’s Eyes, is set for release in 2023 on the art platform and label Unguarded. The album, where she wrote for the autoharp, pipe organ, solo voice and choir, features the acclaimed organist Denny Wilke playing the 19th century Ladegast organ of the Merseburg Cathedral. She has toured internationally with previous projects, including extensive sound and visual collaborations with Jon Eirik Boska (Hydropsyche) as well as with her award-winning band Fiordmoss. She was recently announced as a SHAPE+ platform artist.

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