The Brvtalist is pleased to premiere a new track from 51717. The New York-based artist has long been a fixture in the city’s DIY electronic music scene and has built a name for herself as one half of the duo, Shadowlust (L.I.E.S), as well as through 51717 releases on Jealous God and Total Black. The artist now returns to the L.I.E.S. imprint with her debut solo LP, Paranoia Star. The record is a collection of works composed at various times between 2013-2018 and inspired by travels and trauma. Her signature raw, minimal electronics and chilling vocals examine various states which are often disturbed, erotic and unnerving. Today we premiere the lead track, “Guide For The Perplexed” and also speak with the artist herself about her history, the record and more. (see below)
The Brvtalist: For those who don't know, tell us about the inception of 51717. What is meaning behind the name?
51717: The project began around 2005, in Washington, DC. I was studying koto and using a laptop to experiment with the instrument. Then, I finished school and moved across the country and on to Japan, then to New York. Along the way, the project became a personal diary. Shedding my possessions with each move, I shifted towards compact, electronic equipment. Coinciding with these events were regular, paralyzing panic attacks. Thus a consummation of my prisoner 51717 status.
TB: You've been active in NY for some time (with projects like Shadowlust, etc). How is 51717 a different outlet or evolution of your sound?
51717: 51717 is my world. The collaborations are sometimes conceptual and fantasy-driven, more playful, more gear-oriented.
TB: Tell us about Paranoia Star. What was your approach and any concepts or inspiration behind it.
51717: A meditation on trauma, alienation, and self-hatred, lust and memory. During the making of this record, I spent a lot of time with a book called “Shivitti: A Vision”. It is a memoir by Ka-Tzetnik 135633 about the LSD therapy he underwent in an attempt to recover from his time at Auschwitz. While he hallucinates, he goes into great detail about experiences he had there which were since repressed. It is a beautiful and terrifying book and it inspired a psychedelic trip to Sachsenhausen in summer 2016. That experience laid the groundwork for my live set at Berlin Atonal which opened up the gates of intent for this album. I revisited certain traditional Jewish songs and melodies to feel the sense memories wash over me. I wanted to encrypt the experience of my feelings.
The title Paranoia Star comes from the manga by Maruo Suehiro. It encapsulates the nebulous cloud of trauma, alienation and self-hatred, lust and memory..
TB: Love your use of ancient themes, whether it be Jewish mysticism, biblical elements or otherwise. Talk about the effect these things have on your output as an artist.
51717: I am trying to create a moment in which time does not exist.
TB: What's coming up next?
I will be performing live at the Hospital Productions Festival on December 8 in New York. Otherwise, internal martial arts and audio forensics!
Paranoia Star is out on November 1st. You can pre-order the album here.