knifesex‘s Babalon begins with hypnotic intensity, building in a brooding crescendo as creatrix Vanessa Irena whispers: “Holy is the whore.” She repeats this phrase, mantra-like: a fitting beginning to a sonic offering to Babalon. Alternately sinister and celestial, fusing noise, trip hop, and synthwave, knifesex’s first full-length release is a soundtrack for destroying the divide between sacred and profane, and blurring boundaries between worlds. Babalon is a devotional for the divine whore — the untamable, fecund goddess of desire — and perfect for putting on before acts of ecstatic dance, sex magic, or meditative reflection.
Babalon is out on 3t3ernal Records today. We asked Irena about the making of Babalon and how to honor the goddess if you are so moved to.
I had been wanting to do an album dedicated to Babalon for a while. I have always been fascinated by Her, going back to my days in Catholic school. She is such a powerful figure and to me she symbolizes everything that people hate and fear about women. She has been in the back of my mind for a long time now. I did a self-portrait of myself as Her about 5 years ago that I still love. I know it’s corny to say “she chose me” but I hadn’t really planned on working with Her formally, and after a ridiculous amount of extremely unsubtle events and synchronicities I couldn’t really ignore the connection anymore. When I went to make the record I presented Her with offerings and told Her my plans. By the end of the weekend I had most of the instrumentals finished. I had hoped for maybe one song to be done by that Sunday? It’s extremely unheard of for things to come together that quickly for me—the whole thing ended up being created in this frenzy/fugue state over the course of about two weeks. I don’t remember much about it. Looking back there are things I would maybe have changed or done differently. The vocals mainly aren’t very “technically good” to me, but this was a performance piece in a lot of ways, and functions similar to a talisman in that it is something tangible which captured that time and state of being.
This record has been my biggest tribute and offering to Her, but I honor Her in several different ways. I think She is such an important figure for our time considering how we treat women/femmes/non-binary people in our culture and how fucked up we all are about sex. I think one of the best ways that people can honor Babalon is to treat our bodies and the bodies of others with respect, and to treat pleasure as divine. Pleasure is so devalued, even often within spirituality, and that is such a destructive Cartesian mindset. Beyond that, it’s best for people to reach out to Her in their own way and develop their own praxis. Get a picture of her, preferably on a Friday, light a candle, and talk to Her. She will let you know what she wants. Anything beyond that would just be my own UPG. But if people are looking for a good place to start, I recommend reading The Red Goddess by Peter Grey, and this article by Alkists Dimech.
Photo Credits: Vanessa Irena