Patriarchy takes on the patriarchy with a Reverse Circumcision

The musical project Patriarchy excels at much of what the patriarchy itself hates and fears most—like when a woman chooses to express herself in a sexually uninhibited manner or insists upon her own agency or mocks the self-serving rules and taboos of the patriarchy through sharp satirical humor or creates music that signifies and demands the power and the privilege inherent in not giving a fuck.

Quoting directly from their song “Hell Was Full,” it’s this writer’s theory that lead singer/songwriter/stylist/director and actress Actually Huizenga—one half of the self-described snuff-pop duo—has taken on the proverbial role of “the apple in the pig’s mouth [that’s] trying hard as fuck to swallow,” bringing about the downfall of the patriarchal pig whom she compels to “choke, choke, choke, choke” on his own lust and greed and “on the words that you never knew the meaning of” where one of those words could be “patriarchy” itself since Patriarchy clearly has a thing or two to teach about domination and authority. But whatever the validity of this interpretation you can and probably should click HERE for Huizenga’s own compellingly clear-eyed view of the patriarchy and of Patriarchy.

Patriarchy is the nom de bande of Huizenga alongside co-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Andrew Means (3Teeth) and their overall vibe and sound is perfectly summed up in the promotional copy that accompanied their late-2019 debut Asking For It so I’ll just quote from it here (paraphrasing slightly) with the album described as “a work exploring themes of sex, power, subversion & death with what appears to be an intense interest in Ancient Greek Mythology & 80's slasher films, a heavy dose of Mulholland Drive, and a sound that is equal parts ABBA and NIN but leaning more toward the darker, heavier side of synth-punk/new-wave & industrial music.”

Skipping ahead to the present, earlier this year Patriarchy released Reverse Circumcision which true to its title adds new layers of transplanted “sonic skin” to songs first heard on Asking For It with individual tracks remixed and reimagined by a cavalcade of all-stars from EBM to industrial, darkwave to dream pop, ranging from key members of legends like Nitzer Ebb and Front Line Assembly and This Mortal Coil to fellow Angelinos like Drab Majesty (who adds a death disco sheen to “Burn the Witch”) and Geneva Jacuzzi (who turns “I Don’t Want To Die” into a pulsating electro-funk workout) and plenty of others who all combined will make you wanna “take your dick out and put it on the speaker” as commanded by Ms. Huizenga in the opening lines of “He Took It Out.” And don’t fret if you don’t have that particular appendage because everyone knows the phallus is nothing but a cultural construct so put your cultural construct on the speaker instead should you so choose.

One other neat thing about Reverse Circumcision is getting to hear different interpretations of the same track as we do for two Patriarchy originals. But the single takes are equally compelling, like the version of “Grind Your Bones” by Rhys Fulber (Front Line Assembly, Delerium) wherein he takes one of Patriarchy’s heavier riff-based numbers (“as the vultures tear / at your underwear / I’ll be there”) and surgically removes the riff and cuts up the song’s lyrics, transmutating the whole into a glitchy miasma of sound that’s either incredibly sensuous or cataclysmic or both, depending on your own ears, culminating with doomy ethereal synth chords and a distorted feral howl.

And if this gets your goat you can see and hear Rhys Fulber, along with Bon Harris of Nitzer Ebb, in conversation with Ms. Huizenga on Patriarchy’s recently live-streamed Bottom of the Pops (nice title) that first aired as a Christmas special (!!) featuring performances not available elsewhere plus some seasonally appropriate HSN style shopping segments. Just be forewarned this Xmas special is a long way from Burl Ives and not for the delicate of constitution which in our book makes it the best possible kind of Christmas special. 

And speaking of special, the follow up to Bottom of the Pops is on its way, slated to stream on March 20 at 6pm PST/9pm EST so check out Patriarchy’s Youtube channel and mark your calendars and while you’re waiting feast your eyes on some of Patriarchy’s existing music videos (plus Actually’s pre-Patriarchy body of work) because these self-directed clips tend to be visually lavish and gleefully transgressive and slyly amusing and overall something to behold. 

Which at last brings us (or maybe just me) full circle since I first learned about Actually Huizenga through the music visual dramatical arts—namely, her inspired performance in the likewise inspired Cody Critcheloe (aka SSION) directed clip for Lower Dens’ “To Die in L.A.” in which Huizenga commands the screen as an aspiring Hollywood screen siren who’s prone to waking dreams relating to bloody tooth trauma and buff pool boys and award acceptance speeches. (Jason Lee)