Jedediah Wheeler, who helped produce “Plague Mass” at St. John the Divine Cathedral in 1990, said: “She knows her music; she knows his voice. She was developing her own lyrical tradition, unique to herself and based on an understanding of the repertoire. It was not casual.
Early on, Galás played avant-garde works in Europe with artists like Vinko Globokar and Iannis Xenakis, and back in San Diego, he was part of a rowdy group that would play “free jazz by the standards up to total free-for-all”.
Recorded in a basement in England, the eponymous title of “Les Litanies de Satan” (1982), his first album, puts Baudelaire’s poetry on a crisp background. The message was both terror and power, harshness and grandeur: “The Palace of Despair,” she called it in the even more aggressively distorted “Panoptikon” released on her self-titled second album in 1984.
She wrote “Deliver Me From Mine Enemies,” the first part of “The Divine Punishment,” in San Francisco, at a studio called the Decapitation Center that had an expensive array of synthesizers that roared to her raw howls on the finished album. . His style here may seem like a tune with the industrial music and death metal of the era, but suddenly turns into folksy enthusiasm and ululation. The thunderous incantations of the second part, “Free Among the Dead”, were formed from improvisations with producer Dave Hunt.
When the album was released, his brother was seriously ill, but he insisted on listening to it. “I sat outside the room,” Galás recalled, “and I was crying. And he was sitting there, you know, like when someone’s really sick, he’s just standing there. He was listening with her boyfriend on the couch, and I thought, ‘That’s really cruel.’
Over the next few years, however, she began to realize that those who were ill did not find her music offensive or cruel. Finally, they would tell him, someone had recognized their desperation and helplessness.