ANOHNI’s Religion Is Kindness
Paradise has been released as a companion EP to ANOHNI’s 2016 album, Hopelessness and features more collaborations with Oneohtrix Point Never and Hudson Mohawke. It is the overtly political and feminist statement that the world needs right about now.
The six-track EP opens with “In My Dreams,” which literally starts from nothing and slowly adds electronic minor textures and briefly, towards the end, tribal-inspired vocals that sing, “in my dreams you don’t want the best for me / in my dreams you don’t love me,” before fading out completely again, creating an element of darkness and intrigue that sets the tone for Paradise. “Jesus Will Kill You” is heavily tribal, incorporating heavy drumming and syncopated, rhythmic singing atop church-like synthetic organs and other sounds. It evokes a church-like ritual, although ANOHNI is singing “Jesus Will Kill You” repeatedly, which makes for a rather interesting contrast. “Paradise” has an electro hip-hop beat that is danceable with experimental flairs, in which she showcases her more melodic vocals. “Ricochet” also incorporates a tribal drum pattern with dreamy synths as she curses, “I don’t wanna ricochet … if this keeps going / I’m gonna curse you, my god / I’m gonna hate you, my god.” In “She Doesn’t Mourn Her Loss,” ANOHNI laments, “she doesn’t mourn her loss, she just loses / she doesn’t mourn her changes, she just changes,” in a stunning and gentle ballad fit for a funeral service. This ends in spoken word of a native tongue, then translated to English, “we are wondering what is happening to the world, everything is changing … how are we going to work together to make the world a better place to live — all of us?” The track then slides into “You Are My Enemy,” in which ANOHNI sings, “I gave birth to my enemy,” in a closing track complete with gospel choir and organ.
The elements of organ and gospel paired with lamenting vocals and lyrics suggest that this world is our church, which is why experiencing Paradise is like attending a brief but life-changing mass — one that is rooted in respecting each other, our Earth, and who’s religion is kindness.