Chicago-based musician Whitney Johnson records lush, haunting compositions under the name Matchess. Using pre-recorded cassette tapes, organ drones, delay-heavy vocals, and occasional passages of harsh noise summoned out of her viola, Johnson crafts a textural, ethereal sound heavy on rhythm and atmosphere alike. First issuing her music via limited cassettes, she released the exceptional Somnaphoria in 2015. Sacracorpa, which appeared in 2018, boasted clearer sound, but was no less haunting. Johnson was already active in bands such as Verma and E+ when she began working on her solo project in 2012. Early recordings were released in the form of extremely limited cassettes, with 2013's Seraphastra originally released in an edition of 50 tapes on the Digitalis label before seeing a proper release the next year on Trouble in Mind. The label released Matchess' second album, Somnaphoria, in 2015. Her third album, The Rafter, appeared on Austin label Monofonus Press in 2016. She returned to Trouble in Mind with 2018's Sacracorpa, which was recorded in an earth ship in New Mexico as well as studios in Chicago and New York, where Johnson worked in LaMonte Young and Marian Zazeela's Dream House. ~ Fred Thomas

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