Looking an avant garde indie artist the like of whom has not been seen since the days of  Tori Amos, Bjork or Siouxsie Sioux? Enter Swiss synthpop artist, Verena von Horsten.  Her sophomore album, Alien Angel Super Death is definitely on par with the hyper-musical greats when it comes to experimental and emotive weirdo-pop. While her first album was highly emotive, and real psycho-drama, Alien Angel Super Death is even more personal and thus, shocking. Having lost her brother to suicide last year, von Horsten dedicated this album, as well as her personal healing process, to those who struggle with mental illness.

The single “Fire” released prior to Alien Angel Super Death, and its corresponding video gives newcomers a glimpse into the visceral nature of von Horsten’s musical world. The main melody in the song connotes the torture and anguish those suffering with mental illness, but it is punctuated with classical, beatific vocal interludes. These two extremes within the song can show the devastation of suicide as well as the healing and hope which can come from creating around such tragedy.

The video for “Fire” doesn’t shy from uncomfortable subjects any more than the song. The first images in the video are of von Horsten taking a torch to a sign reading “suicide”, and pictures of her own brother who paid the ultimate price to mental illness. As von Horsten dances in an ecstatic way against this backdrop, the acts out visually all the emotions she’s produced musically on this single. It’s a stark declaration of healing and solidarity to those who suffer in silence.

The emotional fearlessness extends to the rest of Alien Angel Super Death in spades. This willingness to stare into the darkest psychological void along with her expert musicality is why von Horsten should be counted among the greats of avant garde indie music.  Alien Angel Super Death is available to stream or purchase on von Horsten’s Bandcamp pageCheck out the video for “Fire” below.

Written by Layla Marino

Blog: (Dropping) Weird Science

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