artwork CHICKEN: Toño Camuñas
graphics & linocut, print: Maja Osojnik
recorded & mixed 2017, Rdeča Raketa
mastered 2018 by Martin Siewert
2018, MAMKA RECORDS
all rights reserved by natascha gangl, rdeča raketa
supported by SKE-Fonds & Kunstradio – Radiokunst (Ö1)
CHICKEN / NATASCHA GANGL & RDEČA RAKETA (MAMKA RECORDS, MAM01 – 2018)
Wendy, horse, death, Mexico, loss, battle, violence, tenderness, discipline, dream.
Language beomes sound, and sound becomes language. Out of the fragmentary, the density is weaved. From the depths of the fragile, the whole is born. Time structures are questioned and assembled through loops. Field recordings from Mexico meet Osojnik’s singing. Spoken language turns into melodies, while noise turns into bittersweet rancheras.
A-Side: Chicken (3’20”)
lyrics: Maja Osojnik & Natascha Gangl
music: Rdeča Raketa (Maja Osojnik & Matija Schellander)
“Chicken” is a comic song par excellence. “There is a chicken in my heart and it bleeds and it bleeds,” Osojnik sings over polished low-fi audio files that resemble punk rock guitar riffs with bleeding beats. The ‘good girl’ archetype, Wendy, wanders through the psychedelic imagery of Mexico. A mescaline ride through the desert looking for a muse – a skinny horse? The sun is burning, a snake choir is singing: dumb, dumb, dumb! Until the groove vaporizes and the sound animates a chicken to the final flight in an Afro beat. It flutters! It screams! And Kaboom! It’s toast.
B-Side: Die Toten (4’55’’)
lyrics: Natascha Gangl
music: Rdeča Raketa (Maja Osojnik & Matija Schellander)
A Mexican dance of the dead, “I’m not sleeping”, the dead babbling, babbling, babbling. It’s intolerable. They complain and complain. But what to do with this? With ultra-hypnotic beats and the finest spoken-word, Osojnik puts a curse on the stubborn, sleepless dead, which, more and more, becomes a curse on a system that sucks and consumes. Basses rumble under a thunderstorm of words and in between, within and over it: an organ, like the river; the river that has left us, whose absence still drives us, on and on. “The Dead/Die Toten” is a struggle to stay awake and to perceive.
Rarely has there ever been something that could be described as a “party hit” from an award-winning audio play. Groovy, catchy, contemporary and uncompromising, the trio, Osojnik, Gangl and Schellander, succeeds in this brilliant prank, which not only breaks up the tattered genre of the pop song, but basically decapitates it. The light-footedness with which the actors perform this endeavor symbolizes the audio play’s density of the confrontation and deconstruction of references from pop culture, life, suffering and laughter. A sing-along search for identity. The two musical excerpts, “Chicken” and “Die Toten/The Dead” from the so-called sound comic WENDY PFERD TOD MEXICO formally capture the ambivalence of figures and content from Gangl’s textual basis. Exceptionally virtuoso, counter-referential and detail-oriented, while, at the same time, utterly reckless, Rdeča Raketa (Osojnik/Schellander) run a riot on the playing field of “pop song” and turn its conceptual essence into a Möbius strip of elaborated noise, spoken word and the power of repetition. Tried and true principle: Only a well-formed baking dish allows for such fluffy dough! Patrick Wurzwallner (Freistil, Mica, A 2018)
‘Chicken’ opens with a frenzy of analogue synth noise. It simmers to a grating buzz and pulsating electro beat before Maja barrels in with a deep-throated monotone with a barrage of lyrics about a chicken in her heart which bleeds and bleeds, and while clucking electronic bleeps twitter and bleep here, there, and everywhere. It’s weird, it’s noisy, it bumps and thrums, but still has an off-kilter pop sensibility partially submerged in the layers of noise and oddness. ‘Die Toten’ (that’s ‘the dead’ in translation) is rather less accessible, but no less intriguing, engaging, or odd, and in fact, introduces a new level of strangeness to proceedings. It’s low, slow, lugubrious. Simultaneously weird and wonderful, ‘Chicken’ is everything you want – and need – by way of an introduction to partially-accessible, highly idiosyncratic, and extremely engaging weird shit. Christopher Nosnibor (Aural Aggravation, UK, 2018)
„Chicken“ ist das erste Release von Maja Osojnik nach ihrem Album „Let Them Grow“ und zugleich das Debüt ihres neuen Labels, mit dem sie noch einiges vor hat. Es enthält zwei Tracks, die vom Strickmuster her nicht unterschiedlicher sein könnten: Der Titelsong ist ein brachiales Noise(-Rock)brett, das mit verzerrtem Feedback und dynamischen Handclap-Takten gleich auf den Punkt kommt, und wenn die verfremdete Stimme der Sängerin „There is a chicken in my heart and it bleads and it bleads“ verkündet, könnte man sich fragen, ob das nun eine Allegorie ist oder Dada oder beides, doch im Rahmen des Songs wirkt das alles sinnvoll und passend. Brüche und launige Tanzeinlagen mischen die Szenerie auf, und wenn gegen Ende von Handtrommeln unterlegtes Gackern ertönt, kann niemand bestreiten, je ein Huhn derart bluten gehört zu haben. Ganz anders „Die Toten“ auf der zweiten Seite, wo zu dramatisch dröhnenden Orgelklängen ein Text über die Heimsuchung durch etwas Wiedergängerisches aus der Vergangenheit erklingt. „Der Tote labert, labert, labert“ heißt es nicht ganz ohne Komik, und „Hol’ einer die Axt und hol’ aus“, und man bekommt da Gefühl nicht los, dass das nicht einfach ein schräger Song über Zombies ist. „Chicken“ ist der Auftakt zu einer Reihe von Singles, die später zusammen mit einer Hörspiel-CD und einem Comicbuch eine Box bilden sollen – die Wartezeit bis dahin wird also mit einigen Lebenszeichen gehört, zu denen auch eine Tour in den nächsten Wochen gehört. (U.S., African Paper, GER, 2018)
Welcome return here of Maja Osojnik one of our favourite singer-musician-concept artists, with a brilliant single released on her own Mamka Records label. Chicken / Die Toten (MAMKA RECORDS: MAM01) is a sensory overload special, overlaying multiple ideas and sonics elements in the space of about eight minutes…with lyrical contributions from the author Natascha Gangl and musical mayhem from Rdeca Raketa, Maja’s duo with Matija Schellander. Both songs draw inspiration from the visual excess and hallucinogenic maelstrom which Maja associates with Mexico – the ‘Chicken’ song is intended as “a mescaline ride through the desert”, while ‘Die Toten’ wanders through the land of the dead. There’s something quite alarming about the very upfront mix of this record – it has an incredible presence, though I’m still trying to work out which part is most upfront, whether it’s the intense vocals or the beats, but there’s also plenty of studio malarkey to confuse the senses, such as loops, and very extreme time-stretching methods. At any rate, I personally find it alarming, but the Chicken song is also intended to be humourous, and a comedic strain does emerge eventually after a few plays and the heavy guitar work makes way for some processed electronica stabs resembling super-mutant chicken squawks. The obsessive lyric – “there is a chicken in my heart” – is the sound of one woman trying to purge herself of something pretty deep, whether it’s weak emotional responses or general timidity in the face of life, yet this is one of the boldest and affirmative statements we’ve heard from Maja, one who I also associate with a very compassionate and introverted side 1. She’s always good at dealing with uncomfortable emotions, and this Chicken song stands a chance of exorcising unwanted repressions for even the most faint-hearted of us. Speaking of exorcising…the ‘Die Toten’ song is intended as “a curse on the stubborn, sleepless dead” and is no less harrowing in its mood and intent. A torrent of words escapes the singer’s mouth as she tries to bring down damnation on every “dead” thought and action that has held her back…she soon starts seeing ghosts everywhere…scarily, she’s not imagining things, and the whole track is ridden with the voices of these ghostly hags and harridans, all of them symbols of systems and agencies in the world (political, social, religious) which exercise the “dead hand” and block humanity’s potential. More than anything, Maja Osojnik just would like us to be aware of what forces are at play around us, and she tries to shine a light in the darkest zones so that we may “stay awake and…perceive”. With its higher verbiage quotient, this Toten may lack the immediacy of the simple Chicken chant, but it’s got the same driven qualities, and the singer’s multi-tracked voices all sound positively desperate and hollow at the same time. The cover is a hand-made linocut artwork and every print is different; on the label website, there’s an eye-searing video of the all the variant colours overlaid on top of each other, in fine shimmering madness. A must-have; while you’re buying this, be sure to purchase the second catalogue item Mi Corazon. From 30 October 2018. (Ed Pinsent, The Soundprojector, UK, 05/2020)