Bride of No No: B.O.N.N. Apetit!

Bride of No No
B.O.N.N. Apetit!

The press surrounding this first release from the Bride of No No has circulated largely around Azita, B.O.N.N.’s vocalist and bassist, formerly of the Scissor Girls. While there is no mistaking her central role on this album, such treatment betrays the fact that three other veiled musicians are involved in this project. While prior knowledge of AZ’s work might offer a hint of what is in store for the listener, it doesn’t do much. The Scissor Girls put dissonance, repetition and theatricality to work in ways that earned them the monikers of No Wave and deconstructivist, and while these motifs are still in B.O.N.N.’s mix, it is a project that ultimately stands alone. It rocks, but in doing so it confronts the very notion of rocking. It sounds both theatrical and deeply personal. The result is pretty and terrifying, or pretty terrifying. It is complicated, and operates only on its own terms. This record violently resists context — it is as difficult to imagine where it came from as where one might find an optimal space for listening, which might explain why I keep coming back to it.

In Powers of Horror, Julia Kristeva defines the abject as an abandoned object, which “is radically excluded and draws me toward the place where meaning collapses.” I most frequently recognize my own fascination with abjection in thrift shops, marveling at jettisoned art projects, presumably crafted with care, profoundly unsettling nonetheless. I cannot think of a better way to describe this record. It challenges and repels while it sutures.

The seven tracks of B.O.N.N. Apetit! [sic] are split by the dividing line of the fourth and middle track, which is the untitled, unlisted perforation of the album. Thick, scrappy and distant, it falls in between the density of the first half and the comparatively spare and cohesive tracks of the second half. At over 14 minutes, the endpiece of the record, “At the Stranglehold Ballet,” is long, taxing and compelling. Listening to B.O.N.N. Apetit! is an exercise in radical ambivalence, reason enough to go hear it.