Sinner Get Ready

Lingua Ignota

Sinner Get Ready

For the follow-up to her harrowing 2019 album Caligula, Kristin Hayter (aka Lingua Ignota) explores the physical and religious ruins of rural Pennsylvania as a metaphor for personal turmoil. “I think overall the record is about betrayal and consequences and facing the repercussions for your actions,” she tells Apple Music. “Looking at myself and the people close to me, it's about my most recent very turbulent relationship, and trying to love someone who cannot love you, and the resulting loneliness and isolation.” Because she was living in rural Pennsylvania to be in that relationship, she chose to detail the strange history of the area on Sinner Get Ready. “One of the major focuses of the record was to create darkness and intensity, and a very emotional soundscape,” she says, “but to do it without the trappings of extreme music and metal and noise, and to use a totally different palette to create the same vibe.” Below, she comments on each track.
“The Order of Spiritual Virgins” “This track is a bridge between the last album, Caligula, and the rest of the record. The Order of Spiritual Virgins relates to the Cloisters at Ephrata, which was a small monastic society in Pennsylvania in the 1700s. They were hardcore ascetics, and I think a lot of it was based around totally repressing sexuality. I wanted to introduce a lot of the vocals that appear throughout the record—they’re congregational and not particularly refined, but they have real conviction. This song also has the only blatant synth aspect on the record, which is in the Morton Subotnick style.”
“I Who Bend the Tall Grasses” “This song is inspired by a poem by my friend Blake Butler's late wife, who passed away around the time I was writing this record. She's a poet named Molly Brodak, and the poem is called ‘Jesus.’ I found it so striking and moving, and so the language of this track is very much indebted to that poem. It’s probably the most violent song on the record, and it also transitions out of the screaming stuff I’ve been doing for the last two years now. It’s like the last gasp of that for this record, and I believe we did it in one take.”
“Many Hands” “With this one, I really wanted to focus on the repetition of the lyrics because I think they are fairly graphic. I also wanted to bring in part of the world that I've been building previously and to reference ‘All Bitches Die’ by actually pulling the piano progression from that song and then repeating the lyrics and pulling that from the song as well. So that’s actually the first thing you hear, and then it transitions into this other song that is laid over it. They kind of talk to each other throughout the song. I think it has an Angels of Light vibe.”
“Pennsylvania Furnace” “This is an actual place, a defunct community that’s about 20 minutes away from where I was living this past year. And now it's just a big ruin with a concrete slab and some crap laying around. ‘Pennsylvania Furnace’ was another contender for the record title, but I wanted to give it to the song. Musically, I wanted to create a very lonely feeling. We wanted to create something that sounded grand and huge but also extremely close to you. So there’s a very dry, close vocal. It’s a very sad song.”
“Repent Now Confess Now” “The title for this is from a sign on I-70, which is an interstate that runs the length of Pennsylvania horizontally. About 45 minutes outside of Philly, there’s a barn by the side of the road on what looks like an Amish farm. Painted on the side of the barn is the phrase ‘Repent now, confess your sins and God will abundantly pardon.’ But the song is directly about the surgery I had to get this year. I had a massive disc herniation in my lower back that became an emergency situation that threatened total loss of my lower body.”
“The Sacred Linament of Judgment” “A lot of the lyrics on this record are intended to emulate or are directly appropriated from Amish and Mennonite texts from the 1800s and 1700s. And this one comes from a book called The Heart of Man: Either a Temple to God or the Habitation of Satan: Represented in Ten Emblematical Figures, Calculated to Awaken and Promote a Christian Disposition. Also appearing on this song is the confession of Jimmy Swaggart, an evangelist who was brought to accountability by one of the prostitutes he had been frequenting.”
Perpetual Flame of Centralia “Centralia is an abandoned mining town 30 minutes outside Philly where there was a coal mining accident in 1962, and there’s been a fire burning underground ever since. This song was the first song I did in the studio, and I really wanted to focus on creating an intimate space. Vocally, the phrases are very long and there is a lot of breath taken. I wanted to focus on the quality of the voice as it's losing its ability to project or sustain itself. The song is about consequences and judgment.”
“Man Is Like a Spring Flower” “This song was a wild ride. The title is from a piece of Mennonite fraktur, which is the illuminated manuscript that they would paint in their copious spare time. Again, it starts off with this polyphony, which is just me, but it's so grating and abrasive that every time I listen to the song, I start laughing because I think it sounds so gross. We brought in this really, really good banjo player and had him do this compositional technique called phasing, which affects the rhythm of the song. And then I did the most miserable vocal I could muster.”
“The Solitary Brethren of Ephrata” “I wanted the emotional trajectory of the record to be a bit of an unraveling. It starts out with strength and confidence and virulence and ends in total despair, acceptance, and perhaps a wish for absolution. I kept trying to add all this crazy stuff to this one, but we kept taking it out until I was left with a very simple congruent harmony. It seems like a nice, traditional song, but the only curveball is the lyrical ugliness at the end. It really is about the acceptance of loneliness, I think.”

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