The Protestant history that proliferates in rural Pennsylvania is typified by a fundamental focus on community. This sense of unity tends to coincide with the local body politic, or church denomination, as opposed to an overarching ecumenical stance. The religious positioning of these societies resulted in varying spiritual stereotypes that border on the cultish. Kristin Hayter draws deeply from the baptismal pool of her home’s regional history and lifts forth a chalice forged in the kiln of the earth by the roaring flame of Centralia. It is filled with the liquid fire and brimstone that form Lingua Ignota’s Sinner Get Ready.
Hayter’s deep appreciation for her home in tranquil rural Pennsylvania shows through with harrowing beauty on Sinner Get Ready. This is made blatant in that three of the track titles contain allusions to communities in The Keystone State, and more subtly through the emphasis on salvation through Christ. Whatever combination of factors within Lingua Ignota’s grasp may be they have resulted in a soundscape that fits the region with an uncanny sense of grace, melancholy, and rage. ‘The Order of Spiritual Virgins’ burns this aura deep into the mind of the listener with a raw offering in a style reminiscent of a folk inspired hymn. A sample of a man discussing his spiritual connection with silence ends the track. The gentile’s concluding hums spilling into ‘I Who Bend The Tall Grasses’. The lyrical brutality Lingua Ingota unleashes paints a scene akin to the violent, transcendental depiction of the Crucifixion:
“Take hold my of my gentle axe and split him open. Gather up my quiet hammer and nail him down. Use any of your heavenly means, your golden scythe, your holy sword, your fiery arrows studded with stars. I DON’T GIVE A FUCK! JUST KILL HIM! YOU HAVE TO! I’M NOT ASKING!”
These angelic intonations tinted with barbarity are not just aimed at spirituality, but also the continued plight of many rural communities in Pennsylvania. Hayter turned her eye and voice towards the abandoned and blistered mining village of Centralia. In the 1960s and fire began in the nearby anthracite mine, and grew out of control. In the 1980s the state of Pennsylvania took control of the area due to the increasing health and environmental risks within the area. The seventh track on Sinner Get Ready, ‘The Perpetual Flame of Centralia’, is perhaps an ode to not only the pain experienced by Mother Earth from the mishaps of mining, but how her existence has been ravaged by caustic life.
Through Lingua Ignota, Kristin Hayter has once again created a powerfully unique and ethereal work. With Sinner Get Ready Hayter connects to more than just the waves that we hear. She made a connection to the land with her heart through unparalleled musical compassion, creating a spiritual experience akin to being a country church — sonic salvation.
Sinner Get Ready is out today via Sargent House and can be ordered here.
Words: Garrett A. Tanner