The heart. The core of it all. A bloody, meaty muscle the size of a fist, pumping perpetually. Working, all day, everyday, against the clock. Nature’s own metronome. Sometimes you feel it throbbing in your throat, spasmodic, wanting to escape. Occasionally it explodes in warmth, sending sharp little electric needles of euphoria through the body. Now and then it sinks down to the stomach, acid, heavy like lead.
And one day it breaks — it is broken —, it shatters, quartered as if pulled apart by horses. It hurts. And the sharp pain, imploding, feels inescapable. A solitary ache, a blow, a deep hole which cannot be seen or explained. But you try to mend it. You reach for the glue and the duct tape. You pick pieces of gut and tripe and patch it back together. You shield it and harden it with leftover scrap metal. As long as it’s running.
Could heartbreak hardcore become a subgenre? A cathartic, visceral style nudging itself into the tradition of the hardcore continuum, written and produced by heartbroken musicians?
Heartbreak is the painful devastation left behind by the fact that we are no longer one. Most of us don’t know what to do with it. There is no funeral, no mourning. The capitalist structures which surround and smother us have no cure, no solution for heartbreak. There is no time for it: pain is not productive. That is: we cannot value it as we value a commodity, unless it is deeply enmeshed in layers of meta-post-ironic subterfuge, lest we seem vulnerable. Abstraction upon abstraction, we’ve forgotten what pain is and we’ve tried to hide it. Violet does not, because she cannot. Her approach is violent, immersive, euphoric sincerity. That’s the only way to escape.
HEART opens the EP with early-morning IDM inclinations, cushioned by a dubstep-y, wobbly bassline. It melts into angelical, nostalgic pads, topped with a dusty piano that morphs into some sort of brass instrument - and then back, like an indecypherable instrument, yet unknown to those who touch the earth. The track takes inspiration from one of Violet’s biggest influences, Jamal Moss AKA Hyeroglyphic Being and other sonic experimentalists who push the boundaries of palpability.
BREAK delves unbashedly into DnB territories, with a sub-bass piercing the mix in the pad-led oneiric intro — which leads us into a surprise jazz breakdown — and then a drop with a saturated, nasty jungle rave stab, deliberately navigating between opposing frequencies and states-of-being, like one does when heartbroken.
HARD is a no-frills (for Violet standards) ode to techno realness, to those propulsive dancefloor moments which help us believe that it's worth it to keep pushing through the pains of being pure at heart. It’s highly inspired in the UK techno tradition, with a pinch of dub and percussion for days.
CORE comes as an unexpected treat, the record’s closing act. A genreless groover that seems to melt all sorts of influences — from Depeche Mode to DJ Satélite. A fast-paced slow-burner, the track is chock-full of intricate sound design and romantic moments coming from layered pads. Everything, all at once.
If heartbreak is the core of this record, the cover art by Lisbon artists Shcuro and Postmodern Bot suggest tranquil blue skies are just around the corner. After all, we’re naive over here - and Violet still wants to die an optimist.
text by joão biscaia
released February 14, 2023
mastering by Ten Eight Seven
cover art by Postmodern Bot and Shcuro
supported by 10 fans who also own “Violet - HEART/BREAK HARD/CORE”
Everything Octo Octa releases is just delicious. This EP is especially important as part of the profits are going to SRLP. In an increasingly anti-trans context, uplifting and supporting trans-led orgs is of utmost importance. And you can do so by listening to great music and supporting an amazing artist! éloi