Non Compos Metis is out now via MUZAI Records.
There is something truly individual and idiosyncratic about New Zealand’s i.e. crazy. Her music, in its defiant vulnerability, is raw, confrontational, and so very unnerving. Her debut album Non Compos Mentis is an artistic venture that mesmerises in its catharsis and unrelenting nature.
We sat down with i.e. crazy (aka Maggie Magee) who told us about each of the tracks on the record. The result is an abstract as you would expect.
1. The Ape (Plastic Surgery Song)
Paying tribute to the world’s imitators and impostors, the mimic and the mirror and the mime, a world where desire and rivalry cohabit. Romulus and Remus, Apollo and Artemis, the unblinking eyes of a spectral statue – the Doppelganger is both the harbinger of doom and the romantic ideal of the impersonator, the need to become one with our beloved. Lacan’s trigger of desire is the identification with the desire of another. Absurdities abound! Beauty incubates, mutates! Is born again! Copies of copies! Who has the right? Mannequins move! Uniqueness pervades! Authenticity is dead! The siren song sings on.
2. Praying Mantis
The male praying mantis dances for the female, poised and majestic, his legs artfully outstretched. As they make love or shortly after, she devours his head; decapitation increasing the vigour of his thrust under the duvet of night. Yea, the night shall cover all – Stockholm Syndrome’s blanket; a union of opposites – the primordial lovemaking of Ranginui (sky father) and Papatuanuku (earth mother).
If you put a limb inside me, I will swallow it whole. If you come and sit beside me, I will make you my own. If you put your hand to my skin, I will turn us to stone. So that you will never leave me – hah! hah! hah! hah! Welcome, welcome home.
3. An Incident on the Edge of Town
Exhuming the itchy secrets of suburban closets and agitated carparks, from the backyard to the boys’ school bathroom; the shadowy underpass of a public park to the dusty drawn blinds of the one who always walks home alone. It doesn’t take a full room to be crowded out; it doesn’t take a full moon to act insane.
4. Closed Case
Inhabiting the role of villain, victim and detective, teasing out moral standpoints with delicious care and a perverse pleasure, the boundaries of prescribed “sanity” are blurred. Where the real Maggie lies is anyone’s guess. With a body; quietly bleeding, behind glassy eyes. Cold, chapping, the zipper is broken and the curtain is torn from sky to ground. Sitting in silence while the sirens swing, the circus carries on. They’re all dead. Who’s all dead? There are words for some things (soil, smile, hooks for meat), but not for this thing. Standing on your soapbox, does the witch’s body float or sink?
5. A Child’s Blood
The wet heat of the Waikato amidst flash summer rainfall; boomers in BMWs spinning dust at the heels of horses; the sun beating at the eyebrows of barefoot kids. Describing an “acceptable year” to someone who walked out on you long ago; returning in cycles to soothe his own mock successes and pustulating guilt. Pick the pimple, squeeze the scab. I’ll show you how a child’s blood runs.
6. You’re a Stranger (to me now)
The woozy rant of a jilted lover, a disturbed narrator finding humanity and appeal in the presence of dispossessed bums and randoms browsing the bookshop where she works. More so, at least, than in the dead, black eyes of her one-time dearest, a firecracker since fizzled into a repressed sack of sadness. While a bitter lament for divorced love, the song is also a celebration of the deranged and damaged – that in ourselves we try so hard to hide and civilise. As a wise man named Seal once said, “we’re never gonna survive, unless we get a little crazy”.
7. The Slow Weight
It’s a soft start, our limbs on the leather. Without even lifting your eyes sometimes you know where the night will go. The slop of wine, the stained smiles; the heady glow of a roving ego. The mattress on the floor, the goodnight and subsequent knock on the door; the drunken dance of limbs before you even really ask their name. See the blood bloom in the basin, the morning after, the miscarriage. Chomp the bit and don’t make a sound.
8. A Welcoming Thing
[A song for all my dead friends.] A face so pale it’s like the ash from the smokes we blow out the window – cause the landlord’s coming round any day now. Your hair combed off your face, how you hated it. My wet eyes; these glasses fogging that I have to take off whenever the dishwasher’s done. Every three minutes or so. Then I got blind drunk and lost them; couldn’t see a thing; they pulled me out of the shower at 3am, naked. Waking up without pants. And we’re breathing it in every day, the thick glue of hangmen’s gloves, limping along, looking for something less stupid to say.