Perel’s Hermetica is a record that shapes itself out of the ashes of its influences; drawing heavily on both post-Berlin wall club culture and punchy early 80s synth-pop. It’s an album that isn’t afraid to do things a little differently; a discrete entity despite straddling the blurred lines between electronica, dance, and pop.
Five of the nine tracks on Hermetica clock in at over six minutes, and Perel’s sparsely distributed German lyrics maintain a distance that will be unfamiliar to most English-speaking listeners. It isn’t until fourth track “Alles” that we really hear a vocal performance from Perel (real name Annegret Fiedler). Crediting Annie Lennox as a major inspiration, she lifts her menacing delivery from “Who’s That Girl?”-era Eurythmics, casting a shadow even sharper than Annie’s against her own silvery beats.
Highlights of the record include the meandering “Si”, reminiscent of the work of Syrian musician Omar Souleyman in its dizzying complexity, and the glittering “Myalgia”. Whilst its name refers to a deep muscular pain, “Myalgia” is one of the record’s lighter and more accessible tracks, featuring chugging bass overlaid with playful synth lines. “PMS” and “Signum Viridi” could both have been lifted straight from the Stranger Things soundtrack, the former with its amped-up reverb and unnervingly deliberate sub-bass and the latter peppered with squiggling radio tuners.
The original Hermetica were ancient Egyptian-Greek texts intended to impart wisdom through their fictionalized dialogues, introducing the reader to a breadth of concepts. That one of these topics was alchemy seems strikingly appropriate, given Perel’s gift for cooking up gold from the most familiar of ingredients.