The newest venture into the split punisher arena is by none other than Nadia (Ashley Bennett) and Apologist (Rose Actor-Engel). Each side of the cassette has its own merits and poignance, but the interesting meat of it is how the diptych works as a whole. Though both are delicate, the reasoning and decisions behind the work on each side are departures from one another in narrative.
Bennett decides to take a route of character depiction rather than turning in on herself. In recent conversation, after doing hair and make-up, Bennett pointed to herself with both index fingers and said “This is Nadia” and I believed her. The sounds and performances therein are raw and powerful. This isn’t to say they differ from the artist, but a distinct character of control is the motivation for the work. There is not a single shred of vulnerability on the Nadia side of the split. Eerie invocation takes the place of comfort, like sipping from a bottle of water and being told it is something else entirely.
Actor-Engel takes an approach from the other end of the spectrum. Apologist exists as a strong presence, but with a whole different demeanor. The strength exists like a knot in your throat, wrenching your insides and keeping you from speaking. It’s more like an ugly-crying sorry than it is a hole punched in drywall. There is an odd comfort in bawling ones eyes out to the point of feeling physical pain that is so much stronger than the stupidity of physical anger and damage. It’s beautiful and it’s hurt, like walking out on to your steps barefoot to see a first snow. You know it’s cold, but you are willing to face the consequences.
– David Coccagna 4/8/19