Under the name Lingua Ignota, Kristin Hayter makes raw, heavy, operatic music that’s virtually impossible to define in pedestrian genre terms. Earlier this year, Hayter released Sinner Get Ready, a deeply intense and moving album recorded with traditional Appalachian instruments. On her song “Perpetual Flame Of Centralia,” Hayter used a sample of disgraced televangelist Jimmy Swaggart praying for forgiveness after being caught paying for success. On a new release that came out today, Hayter digs deeper into the resonance of that whole Jimmy Swaggart story.
Today, for Bandcamp Friday, Hayter has shared a new Lingua Ignota release called Epistolary Grieving For Jimmy Swaggart. The four short tracks are mostly spoken word, with haunted musical accompaniment. Hayter recites letters written to Swaggart — who, it bears mentioning, is still alive. It’s as dark and powerful as you might expect: “Dear Jimmy, my mouth is full of blood. Jimmy, when you spoke of Hell, did you mean this place? Did you mean me?”
On her Bandcamp page, Hayter describes what she’s doing with this record:
I STARTED WRITING LETTERS TO JIMMY IN OCTOBER 2021 AS A WAY TO PROCESS TRAUMA, ELIMINATE SELF DOUBT, AND AUGMENT THE CIPHERS AND THEMES OF SINNER GET READY. THIS IS INTENTIONALLY NOT ABOUT MUSIC, IT IS ABOUT LANGUAGE AND IMAGE, AND HOW MEANING SHIFTS BETWEEN MEDIUMS, WHO IS SPEAKING AND WHO IS BEING SPOKEN TO.
Epistolary Grieving For Jimmy Swaggart is out now at Bandcamp. Read our recent feature on Lingua Ignota here.