Kira McSpice Bleeds Mournful Sweetness in Her Video for the Dirgeful Aria “Knife like a Spile”

Kira McSpice Bleeds Mournful Sweetness in Her Video for the Dirgeful Aria “Knife like a Spile”

Kira McSpice introduces a compelling metaphor for mournful beauty and sweetness in her video for the dirgeful aria “Knife like a Spile,” a song from her aptly titled new album, The Compartmentalization of Decay. McSpice’s compelling voice, combined with the enduring strength of her compositions, creates a profound atmosphere laden with deep poetic motifs and an emotional intensity that chills to the very marrow with its beauty.

The song “Knife like a Spile” is a somber reflection akin to a sad dream, where the cello’s lament withdraws all color from the world, encapsulating sorrow in its purest form. McSpice’s operatic vocals elevate the piece to a baroque and cathedral-esque realm, reminiscent of the intersection where Miranda Sex Garden meets Loreena McKennitt. Like the work of Lisa Gerrard, this composition transcends the boundaries of dark post-punk, embodying a classical gothic elegance with a somber grace that is undeniably poignant.

The song draws upon the metaphor of a spile—or a spigot—embedded into a tree, akin to a wound inflicted by a metaphorical knife, bleeding out the sweetness akin to maple syrup. This analogy serves as a testament to the cathartic power of music in transmuting trauma into beauty.

The video strips away all color to mirror the song’s dirgeful essence, portraying McSpice in a state of supine lamentation, as if mourning her own existence. This visual representation perfectly complements the depth and intensity of the musical composition.

Watch “Knife like a Spile” below:

In The Compartmentalization of Decay, Kira McSpice delves deep into the intricate process of how trees manage decay, as described by Alex L. Shigo: “Animals heal, but trees compartmentalize. They endure a lifetime of injury and infection by setting boundaries that resist the spread of the invading microorganisms.” This concept profoundly mirrors McSpice’s own journey in her latest album as she navigates through her experiences of trauma not with the intent to heal, but to survive and compartmentalize.

Drawing a parallel between her personal trauma and the natural world, McSpice likens her experience to the methodical tapping of a maple tree, a process that symbolizes not just an act of harm but a prolonged siphoning of essence. This metaphor forms the backbone of the album’s narrative, with instrumental characters embodying elements such as The Red Sky, The Sun, The Fog, and The Spile—the device used in tapping.

McSpice articulates her approach to managing her trauma through the creative process of the album:

“[My assault] made a wound very deep and I decided I probably couldn’t heal from it, so I wanted to compartmentalize it,” McSpice says. “Containing it in an album was the best way to seal the hole inside of me. I created a story and characters and I drowned the whole thing in metaphors so that I could do this work. During the writing of it I had a lot of bad dreams and it was very hard to get through. Once I had completed the writing I felt that I was beginning to seal it off. Recording felt very therapeutic because everything was being captured and collected and held in place. By the time I heard the masters and heard the last song I knew I had dealt with my trauma. I know it’s still inside of me and that hurt will always be there but it feels contained. Because of this it was very important that I made vinyl for this record. I wanted to be able to hold it in my hands, contained in rings –– what feels like a sliver of a tree –– outside of myself.”

McSpice’s vocal prowess stands out remarkably across the album, sure to captivate fans of artists like Lingua Ignota, Circuit Des Yeux, and Jarboe. Her songs traverse a wide emotional and sonic landscape, from minimalist arrangements to rich, layered compositions, all carried by McSpice’s captivating operatic tones.

Through The Compartmentalization of Decay, McSpice not only pays homage to the resilience of the natural world but also to the human capacity to find survival mechanisms in the face of adversity. Her work resonates as a powerful anthem to the transformative power of art, beautifully echoing the human tendency to find parallels in nature and draw strength from its enduring processes.

The Compartmentalization of Decay is out on April 12th, 2024.

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The Compartmentalization of Decay by Kira McSpice

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