"...a wizardly example of the liminal spaces and uncertain areas that Midwife has made her own." - Beats Per Minute
As multi-instrumentalist Midwife (Madeline Johnston) prepares for the release of her third full-length Luminol (out on July 16 via The Flenser), the artist has revealed the album’s second single “God Is A Cop.” Pensive and hypnotic, this new track has Johnston’s musical prowess on full display. Airy keys are coupled with smoky guitar tones to create an atmosphere both dream-like and dispiriting.
Johnston lives and works in San Miguel, New Mexico by way of Denver, Colorado, where she spent the better half of the past decade developing her experimental pop project, Midwife. When 2020 began, Johnston had several national and international tours planned (including a highly anticipated set at the year’s Roadburn Festival) to promote her album released just prior, the critically-acclaimed Forever. Unfortunately, the pandemic rescheduled everything and Madeline shifted her focus back to recording and back to her internal landscape. Luminol was written and produced during this time, and the album features 6 new songs which explore dark subject matter in her trademark dark yet crystalline manner.
Luminol is a chemical used by forensic investigators to reveal trace amounts of blood left at a crime scene. When it reacts with blood, luminol emits a chemiluminescent blue glow that can be seen in a darkened room. In the same way this chemical reveals evidence at a scene, Midwife is interested in profound truth— turning trial and tribulation into sources of light. Luminol navigates themes of incarceration, locus of control, clarity, self harm, confinement, agency, and truth-seeking, all erupting in a bioluminescent Rothko color-field of blue.
The Luminol album cover shows a dark figure standing at the edge of a body of water. It symbolizes the way humanity had been on a precipice throughout 2020, to later find out they had been there all along. Being one of Midwife’s most personal records, Luminol's cover artwork is a picture of Madeline Johnston's mother taken in the 1980’s, when she was the same age as Madeline at the time of the album's recording. By redacting the figure, Johnston hopes that anyone could see themselves there, by the water, as a form leftover when all the elements of their lives are stripped away and what is left is a host.
Luminol features collaborations from various artists including Flenser label mate Dan Barrett (Have A Nice Life) as well as Tucker Theodore, Angel Diaz (Vyva Melinkolya), Zachary Cole Smith, Ben Newman, and Colin Caulfield (DIIV).
Luminol will be released on July 16th via The Flenser and is available for pre-order here. Revisit the music video for Luminol’s first single “Christina’s World” here and look for more Midwife music to surface soon.
Luminol, track listing:
1. God Is A Cop
5. Promise Ring
6. Christina’s World
Top Artist photo by Alana Wool.