On January 22nd, International Trans Prisoners Solidarity Day, Psychic Eye Records releases ‘Sacred Spells’, a Darkwave, dark electronics and experimental compilation that benefits TGI Justice Project, one of the first and only legal advocacy and support organisations created and led by formerly incarcerated trans women of colour.
While curating Psychic Eye Records’ first compilation, label founder Akiko Sampson (who also performs as Yama Uba and plays in the post-punk band Ötzi) found no shortage of acts to choose from. “There are tons of great Darkwave bands out there right now,” says Sampson. “And there’s also a lot of really cool dark experimental music that doesn’t fit neatly into that genre description. So, I wanted to put together all these artists whose work I find compelling, and who I knew would be down to support an important cause that doesn’t get covered much in the mainstream.”
The artists on the compilation span multiple genres, with a heavy representation of Darkwave from Twin Tribes, Cruz de Navajas, Ritual Veil, Shadow Age and Sigsaly alongside conceptual and performative Darkwave from The Bedroom Witch, Yama Uba, Aesthetic Barrier and Terminal A. Also featured are Industrial and dark noise sounds from Anatomy, Zanna Nera, Malocculsion and Cyborg Eye, experimental Synthpunk from V.E.X. (members of Moira Scar) and Mentira (ex-RAKTA), the Gothic operatics of M. Lamar, the dark pop of Maya Songbird and techno from STACIAN. The artists span the globe from the United States to Mexico, Canada, France and Spain.
From nearby San Francisco, TGI Justice Project was an easy pick to designate as the compilation beneficiary for Oakland-based Psychic Eye Records. “There are lots people supporting trans rights and a lot of prison abolitionists in the dark music scene, so finding artists to contribute was quick,” says Sampson. “Hopefully our combined efforts can raise some funds for this important organisation, and maybe dark music fans will discover a few new bands that resonate with them along the way.”
TGI Justice Project, formed in 2004, is a group of transgender, gender variant and intersex (TGI) people—inside and outside of prisons, jails and detention centres—whose mission is to create a united family in the struggle for survival and freedom. Currently run by Janetta Johnson, it was formerly overseen by Miss Major Griffin-Gracy, the eminent LGBTQ activist who emerged from the Stonewall Riots to become a prominent trans rights movement leader.
The ‘Sacred Spells’ compilation will be out digitally and on CD and cassette formats.
1. Anatomy – “Hunting Song”
2. Cruz de Navajas – “Ciudad”
3. Lovataraxx – “Ana Venus”
4. Malocculsion – “Wormfood”
5. Koban – “You Don’t Know Where You Came From”
6. Twin Tribes – “Tower of Glass”
7. Aesthetic Barrier – “Public Ambulation”
8. Maya Songbird – “Wicked Attraction”
9. Zanna Nera – “Blood Debts”
10. The Bedroom Witch – “This House is No Longer”
11. Ritual Veil – “All Black”
12. Terminal A – “Chloe”
13. Yama Uba – “Angel”
14. M. Lamar – “Scarecrow Jim Crow I’m a Demon Coming at You (Don’t Give Up on Me)”
15. Shadow Age – “Montrose”
16. Cyborg Eye – “The Death of Captain Rhodes”
17. Sigsaly – “You Carry”
18. Mentira – “Eu e El”
19. V.E.X. – “Tomorrow Never Comes”
20. Stacian – “The Joy of Dance”