‘Sustained Resistance’ is the debut album of steadfast techno punks, Maelstrom and Louisahhh as they celebrate a decade of collaboration. Released on their very own ‘RAAR’, a label known for its commitment to benevolent anarchy, with past releases including work from celebrated heroes like Dave Clarke and Peder Mannerfelt, in addition to lesser known (but no less thrilling) up and comers such as SIN/NER and Walter Gross.
In alignment with the label’s values of releasing beautiful, challenging and unique work, ‘Sustained Resistance’ speaks to the darker parts of the psyche: depression and angst in the slow-building hammer of ‘I am Not a Casualty’, self-betrayal in haunting ballad ‘War in Me’, the pain of love (‘If I Could Hold’) and political outrage at the loss of bodily autonomy and security (‘Vixen’, ‘America’). This record is about ferocious hope shining through post-post modern disillusionment, and about creative kinship, trust and fortitude honed over a decade.
Shifting fluidly between ‘industrial jungle’, breakneck, break-beat techno poetry, cinderblock drum-less drone stutters and roaring, seething near-gabber, ‘Sustained Resistance’ also manages more tenderness and truth than Maelstrom and Louisahhh have previously accessed together, marking a new chapter in their creative growth as collaborators and as friends.
Both members of the duo are powerful artists in their own right, with Louisahhh and Maelstrom making great creative leaps in the last few years independently. Maelstrom released his second album, ‘Rhizome’ in 2021 as part of a larger exploration of creative interdépendance and ecosystems. Digging still deeper into this theme with multiple critically revered mixes (his ‘Ensemble’ mix named among ‘Best Mixes of 2022’ by Pitchfork) that act as proof of concept for the possibility of financial/creative models that serve artists fairly, using web3 and blockchain tools to create better and more fair conditions for producers and artists.
Louisahhh released her debut record, ‘The Practice of Freedom’ on He.She.They/BMG in March ‘21 (unintentionally on the same exact day as Maelstrom’s Rhizome was released) and has been touring the record as a live band in which Maelstrom gleefully terrorizes machines as Louisahhh storms, seethes and howls around the stage in a cage made of light. The record has been critically acclaimed as ‘the missing link between Nine Inch Nails and Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ (NPR); the music and the performance of it have been an experiment in courage, presence and speaking truth to power, themes which carry over into ‘Sustained Resistance’.
While autonomously motivated, Maelstrom and Louisahhh’s most powerful work often comes as a duo. The pair’s collaboration started in February of 2013, when Louisahhh arrived on Maelstrom’s doorstep in Nantes, on her second day living in France. This connection was made at the behest of Louis Brodinski, who suggested that the two would make a great team. Through producing 4 EPs together for Bromance, founding a label (now 14 releases deep), touring internationally as a duo (and eventually as ‘Louisahhh Live Band’), playing celebrated festivals and venues the world over (including label nights at Concrete, Razzmatazz and Fabric), this prophecy proved to be true.
‘Sustained Resistance’ is a statement of collective survival and evolution while trudging towards a true north, a bruised and valiant hope in a torturous time. This body of work was carved from darkness, and not in a kind of goth trope, but more of a lived horror-show: post-pandemic disillusionment and disenfranchised grief, rage at broken systems doing exactly what they were designed to do (serve the few at the expense of the many), the overturning of Roe Vs Wade in the United States; all of these external factors have demanded a new urgency and fearlessness in the kind of work that Maelstrom and Louisahhh are creating.
This record travels in a gritty and fierce direction, directly engaging with present issues with timeless execution, as if finally there is no reason to sugar coat anything, there are no holds barred at this point. These factors combined, plus the incredible interpersonal security in the collaboration – the trust between Maelstrom and Louisahhh after a decade of musical partnership – allows the work to go farther than it has in the past; this environment has created this very brutal, brave and beautiful body of work. As the lyrics of the album suggest: ‘What meaning will I make of this?/Graceful under the weight of it’. Equal parts heavy and graceful, ‘Sustained Resistance’ will be available everywhere February 10th, 2023.
The single ‘If I Could Hold’ via Bandcamp out now: https://labelraar.bandcamp.com/track/if-i-could-hold
01. War in Me
02. I Am Not A Casualty
07. The Seed
08. If I Could Hold
09. Fan The Flame