The Pylon II dance performance—choreographed by Coleman Pester as part of the 9e2 festival—was an overwhelmingly beautiful and harrowing experience. (Read Jen Graves's review of the October 26 performance at King Street Station.) Contributing tremendously to the success of the piece was a high-impact soundtrack created by Nordra, aka Seattle musician Monika Khot. Her post-industrial electronic score ratcheted up the tension to near-apocalyptic levels at several points during the dance, and generated passages of uneasy calm at others—proving her a master of suspenseful dynamics and an epicure of extreme textures. Known for her drone-based work with guitar, pocket trumpet, drum machine, and effects pedals, Nordra added synthesizers to her arsenal for Pylon II , and has become an adept acolyte of Heldon's Richard Pinhas, Bernard Szajner, and John Carpenter, and other harnessers of malevolent tones.
Right from the start, "Vogue" casts you into the inferno, sounding like pitch-black, end-times techno that would give Porter Ricks tremors. "Unaware" economically exudes unsettling moods through murky oscillations and sporadic, long-decaying cymbal hits, as does "Fleeting Memory," sans the cymbals. "Ships" shudders with punch-press kick drums while hissing shakers and a chromium drone increase the drama in the middle distance. "Control" is a pitiless display of panic-building and impending mechanical malfunction. "Destruction, Aftermath" could be Nordra's self-descriptive theme song. As with most of her output, dystopian vibes are encoded in its very DNA.
While Nordra's music worked very well for Pylon II's modern dance purposes, it's not a stretch to imagine hearing her scrupulously sculpted pieces transitioning into some adventurous director's cinematic creation.