Without any context, the latest full-length from Pulsatile Tinnitus, The Finer Art of Heartwork, is a masterful composition of immersive ambient soundscapes that ebb and flow into states of entropy, unfurling with static and noise. The apex of the record, a track called “Itch”, unleashes a feeling of buoyant, joyful, dance. It’s an experience that invites meditation and loud playback to let it really drag you in.
However, context is everything. In this case, it’s fascinating to consider the intention of the record and the performer creating it. The intention is clear from the writeup included on Bandcamp:
Doing the work of your heart is a continual mending of soul wounds; heartwork is an act of re-membering; it is a ceremony that allows us to learn from woundings to re-member, put ourselves back together, and transform beyond the spiritual scars that try to keep us bound in darkness. Heartwork brings us back to that original breath of life and light of spirit.
The album itself is that ceremony, an ebb and flow of hardships and release. A soundtrack to allow you to feel those pains and take something away from them.
The performer behind it all is Kayla Phillips, whom is likely best known for her work in grindcore band Bleed The Pigs – an absolutely brutal onslaught of impassioned screams and guttural vocal work. Pulsatile Tinnitus, Phillip’s pseudonym for her solo work, is not the same undertaking aurally but there’s a compelling overlap in cathartic emotional release between the two endeavors.
The Pulsatile Tinnitus catalog of works reaches back to 2015; including a bounty of EPs, singles, live performances and albums. The Finer Art of Heartwork did not suddenly emerge from nothing, it’s the result of years of practice, of refinement and of listening to one’s self. It’s not ironic that the name of the band is also the name of a “debilitating condition of noise in the ear or head that is audible only to the sufferer.” Your own pains and conditions are felt only by yourself. Hopefully The Finer Art of Heartwork can provide a conduit to hearing them.