I Started Wearing Black


"Haunting, spooks, ghosts and apparitions are an almost constant presence on I Started Wearing Black, the second album by the Cologne-based artist Sonae (pronounced "so-nah"). . . . I would like to rehabilitate hauntology and use it properly to characterize I Started Wearing Black, because the term is rarely as compelling to describe music as is the case here. The most recent other example could be Asiatisch by Fatma Al Qadiri (2014), but with a completely different frame of reference. [This music] rustles, crackles, ruffles, crunches, rattles, scrapes, sometimes a beat emerges from the constant noise, sometimes an obscure voice mumbles incomprehensibly, sometimes a melancholy piano figure is prevented by this noise from coming too much to the foreground. It definitely is eerie . . . In British pop-jargon, eerie first occurred to me more often when referring to particularly leftfield, spooky and... well... ghostly dub, a bass-heavy, echoing noise, from Augustus Pablo to Creation Rebel to Burial. . . . Sonae is not a kind of neo-romantic veiling with a tendency for escapist nebula. It is more a noise of latency. The noise signals a latent -- not necessarily acute -- threat, a latent uneasiness about... yes... about what? About a 'System Immanent Value Defect'? That's the name of a track on I Started Wearing Black where something that sounds like a French Horn (or a foghorn?) battles for attention through or against the background noise. . . . In the title track, after 184 seconds of rattling and hissing, a beat is unleashed, like an arrow released from a spanned bow, a beatific relief, if there is such a thing. 'White Trash Rouge Noir' first meanders along spookily, then after 144 seconds it transforms itself into a distant cousin of Einstürzende Neubauten 's 'Yü-Gung', but there is no Big Male Ego to be fed here . . . Furthermore, I Started Wearing Black was finished long before the black dresses were worn at the Golden Globes as a sign of protest against sexual violence. . . . The political dimension of gaining weight, feeling ugly and therefore dressing in black in I Started Wearing Black lurks within the noise and never becomes explicit and only rarely manifest -- or a manifesto." --Klaus Walter "Dream Sequence" features Gregor Schwellenbach. Black-on-black cover print; Includes download code.