Liturgy Fulfil Their Grand Vision on 'Origin of the Alimonies'

BY Bryon HayesPublished Nov 16, 2020

Hunter Hunt-Hendrix threads a complex mythology and an almost religious temperament through her work as Liturgy. She calls her unique worldview Perichoresis, which also happens to be a term used in theology to describe the relationship between the three aspects of the Christian notion of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Hunt-Hendrix's version explores this idea with a more artistic sensibility, describing the relationship between music, narrative and philosophy.

This intricate nexus of ideas has achieved its zenith with Origin of the Alimonies, Liturgy's fifth LP and second to be released on Hunt-Hendrix's own YLYLCYN label. The album is a Wagnerian fever dream that weaves a cosmological origin story, in which a pair of divine beings are separated, rending the fabric of existence. Through this split, the universe is formed as the Four Alimonies, "irreducible layers of reality."

Hunt-Hendrix is joined by long-time collaborator Bernard Gann on guitar, plus Tia Vincent-Clark on bass and drummer Leo Didkovsky. This quartet forms the core Liturgy lineup for Origin, which has been augmented by eight additional musicians wielding instruments more commonly associated with classical music. This 12-piece mini-orchestra have expertly realized Hunt-Hendrix's grand vision, which she both composed and arranged.

Origin of the Alimonies is an opera, complete with three acts, an overture and an interlude. Sonically, it picks up on past Liturgy motifs: minimalism, black metal, classical music and electronic beats. The scope and scale, however, is incredibly vast. Hunt-Hendrix hand-picked the eight additional musicians from among the American avant-garde scene, and each of these players adds depth to the already experimental compositions; they truly shine when given breathing room outside of the seemingly limitless crescendos that are both intensely satisfying and incredibly overwhelming.

The quieter moments on Origin are far from delicate. This is a story of pain, transformation, redemption and love. Such powerful themes lend themselves to oblique sensibilities and the cathartic wrenching of sound from instruments, and Liturgy have certainly conjured up a piece of music that is on par with the ambitions of the lore.

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