French avant-garde performance artist and songwriter Sarasara will release her third album, 'Elixir', on March 1, 2024 via One Little Independent Records. Though consistently creating and experimenting - in 2022 she penned a tribute EP to Serge Gainsbourg - 'Elixir' marks her return to the album format, following 2019's 'Orgone'. An audio manifesto for the angry and disenfranchised, the new LP is fierce, honest and combative.
'Elixir' is brewed from a variety of influences and experiences and, as Sarasara tells us, "[it] contains various ingredients; some dark magic and alchemy, some anarchism, a few drops of 70's indie horror movie essence, a lot of feminism, a bit of punk and rock, some suffragette vibes, some black leather, a lot of anger and revolt, some activism and, as always, a lot of self-examination and time to think".
Once again, Sarasara wrote everything herself before enlisting long-time collaborator Liam Howe for additional instrumentation. Much of the process was influenced by the company she kept between writing in Bristol and Ibiza. In Bristol, she spent time with members of Crass and The Mob, another anarcho-punk band of the 70s and 80s. Frontman Mark Wilson founded the Rockaway Park Commune, where Sarasara began writing and recording demos for 'Elixir' in between deep philosophical debates in the communal restaurant. These inspired many of the more outspoken and political elements of the album, as well as the artwork, which takes direct cues from the work of anarcho-pacifist legend Gee Vaucher.
“Visually It was fuelled by a very strong feeling of disgust and despair after events happening all around the world against women these last couple of years. There is also some reflection of my own experience as a woman in the music industry for the last 8 years. I have had many epiphanies working on this record, realising the amount of micro violence perpetuated daily against us and seen as the norm.”
The album's potent mix of cultural ideas fuses with dark industrial synths and gothic atmospherics to shape her intoxicating, cinematic sophisti-pop. The enthralling, groove-laden compositions are reminiscent of David Bowie and Jehnny Beth, but Sarasara found more influence in political writers; including Bell Hooks, the distinguished professor of race and class; Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, a French socialist and the first person to declare himself an anarchist; and Édith Thomas, the French novelist and bisexual pioneer of women's history. She continues, “I am not sure I can explain what inspired it musically. It was written in different places, cities and countries even, and over a long period of time. It still feels like a bit of a mess to me. I can’t make sense of it just now and it will probably have to be reflected on in the future. I just know I was tired of being called an electronic artist, because that’s not who I am. I like to experiment, but I don’t want to be put in that box. I like old book smell and writing with pens, I like to play with words and dictionaries and analogue things.”
On her new album, there's an actively enraged side to Sarasara. Rather than passive political anger, her frustration with the "big tech fascist surveillance system" is raw and impassioned. The tracks on 'Elixir' may be brooding, even mystical, but behind them there's a seething activist fighting to be heard above the noise. “It all makes me really sad, angry and powerless at the same time. I feel attacked in my flesh and in my heart, I feel threatened daily. There is too much pressure. I guess these pictures are a physical reaction and the way my whole body and mind process those feelings. Elixir is my Anarcha-Feminist album.”