One of the coolest aspects of being an artist, no matter what the medium, is the ability to change and alter your story and aesthetic. For example, by day, I’m your average corporate blood sucker, working a 9-5 to get by, but by night, on stage at shows, it’s something different. It is whatever I make it – I can chew the head off a bat or tell everyone I sold my soul to Satan. I can denounce things I honestly believe in and embrace that which is horrific. And anything that I release, such as an album or merch, will somehow be a representation of my art. Lisbeth Plagve is an artist that not only sees the value in articulating her personal aesthetic as an artist, but also seems to have a fun time playing with it.
Lisbeth “Plagve” Martinez-Phoennex started her misadventures in music co-founding and playing bass for the New Jersey hardcore outfit ASHES (previously known as Ashes of My Regret). She would go onto start the project The Azrail Noir that “legend has it was fueled by demonology and on-stage possession” before she eventually “encountered a secret occult order who had a bounty on the demon. At the end of the last Azrail Noir show, she turned him in and was rewarded with membership and a wish. With their elite influence, she chose to resurrect the Emo Scene and reinvented herself as an ambassador of the future of Punk.”
An so Lisbeth Plagve was reborn, to date, having released 2 albums – Stardust and her most recent effort Pretty Busaiku. She shared that, “even though I started writing and recording for Pretty Busaiku last January in Montevideo, Uruguay, I feel like the album has been inside me for years… I went back to my roots because a big theme here is resurrecting your truest self with all the wisdom you have now.” She continued by stating “Making this album was all about finally unleashing an artistic venom but also a pure love within me that’s been chained up for a long time.”
At it’s core, Pretty Busaiku (which Japan-guide.com describes busaiku as “literally meaning ‘non-craftsmanship’… used to mean the ugliness of a facial figure“) is a strong EDM record with obvious influences from hardcore, emo and goth rock. While there is a heavy emphasis on the instrumentation of the record, Plagve goes beyond the realms of EDM and adds her flavor of dark, reverb rich vocals that are sure to send chills down your spine. The music is very chaotic and unpredictable and the vocals go further in emphasizing this by following suit – she can go from a soft, dark crown to a menacing growl all in the same song. Tracks like “Flavor of the Millenium” showcase this, while the following track “iHexRadio” showcases her knack for crafting a more melodic and chill song.
There’s plenty of bizarre and experimental digital instrumentation to keep you rocking along and bumping to the deep bass. The track “Polybius II: Abre Los Ojos” is a good example of this, but the standout track, and easily my favorite, has to be the 7+ minute “Busaiku Superstar Blues” – a tour de force of a track if there ever was one. It captures some of that which makes Plagve’s music unique – mashing in catching pop hooks and beats with death-metal growls for example – and, most importantly, fun.
Lisbeth Plagve is for fans of Poppy, At The Drive-In, Grimes, Chiodos, and The Birthday Massacre. If you want to listen to “Pretty Busaiku” and more, check her out on Bandcamp; and to further support her music give her a like on Facebook, subscribe on YouTube and a follow on Instagram.