Scott Hardware - Engel
On April 3, 2020, Toronto’s Scott Hardware will be releasing Engel, his second full-length album, and first on Telephone Explosion Records. It will mark the end of a three-year process of writing, recording and letting down his guard (for better or worse.)
Within a year of moving back (to Toronto) from Berlin, Scott watched Wim Wenders’ Wings of Desire and was immediately filled with its inherent curiosity. The film, in short, follows angels around pre-unification Berlin as they listen to the thoughts of the mortals they are surrounded by.
In the title track, the subject is in a relationship with a mischievous angel (named Engel,) who is probing his mind against his will. “Here he comes to comfort me, but like a fly around my head I’d sooner swat him dead,” is sung over an off-the-grid deconstructed house piano. A symphony of creaking trains and industry envelops the banging piano and delicate strings on the chorus while our hero complains “He’s here with that look again, he knows what’s happening, inside,” not, it would seem, ready for this level of vulnerability.
Engel’s cover art is adorned by an image by artist Chris Curreri called the Insomniac. Curreri’s work winks and nods to queer sex, emotionality and darkness, and this piece is no different. This is work that reaches back to queer artists such as Francis Bacon and brings back with it a timeless everyday horror faced by queers: shame.
These are artists who visualize monsters and demons hiding in plain sight. Like singing to dead queer ancestors on Mutate, Repeat, Infinity, Hardware is trying to make sense of another queer cross-to-bear, this time coming from within. The image is gory and difficult, not unlike the process of digging shame from one’s spirit. Engel, in its preoccupation with angels, the afterlife and private thoughts holds hands with the image.