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Of Cloven Hoof in Honey

by Nika Mo

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  • Poster/Print

    Limited edition run of album booklets containing essay, lyrics, and additional album artwork, printed on 100% recycled paper in Boorloo. Sculpture by Ella Bunker and photography by Emma Daisy Photo. Graphic design & text setting by Lyndon Blue. Essay and lyrics by Annika Moses.
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One might wonder what is still relevant about the Grimm’s Fairytales; the social inequities and religious undertones of 19th century German culture are so solidly written into these stories, they’re like a fableist brick framework, holding each line firmly in (ideological) place. But in the shadow of the more widely known stories (Rumplestiltskin, Hansel and Gretel, Rapunzel), there are gooier, stranger, more unearthly things lurking. I feel genuine child-like glee as characters sprout feathers and make room-mates with a lion, or without surprise or alarm, communicate with the Devil, and Death; striking bargains and asking for help. I also feel a morbid fascination as a character discovers her sisters’ dismembered bodies then proceeds to reassemble them), or a disquieting queasiness reading the tale of How Some Children Played at Slaughtering, (which you can infer from the title, was not a fairytale ending). I find myself revelling in the fluidity of them; both the literal presence of many fluids (bodily and otherwise), and also the metaphorical slipperiness of the characters’ physical forms.

We often chance upon characters right at the moment that their bodily architecture undergoes a drastic change in design. While some characters have been forced into bodies that they desperately wish to escape, and some characters transform their bodies to escape their fate, there is no sense of finality in any of their transformations. There is the sense that all bodies have the potential to change at any time, moving between various embodiments of human, animal, gender and androgyny; one example being the clever woman who rolls in honey and feathers, becoming a strange adrogynous bird to escape her murderous groom. When honey leaves the pot, and feathers leave the pillow case, they become disgusting and dirty. But also transformative. A material embodiment of liberation, and a messy, dripping, oozey one at that.

The motif of a cloven hoof, an unveiled duality, often appears in the stories. Literary analyst Pauline Greenhill points out that in certain tales, ‘those who appear to inhabit the grotesque and the marvelous (the women) actually embody the non-monstrous, while those who appear ordinary (the men) are authentically fiendish.’ But the duality is not always operating between two strict binaries, (good and evil, male and female, real and not-real). It becomes confused and sticky, not a duality, but a multiplicity. In this sense, the cloven hoof then changes from a symbol of deceit and two-facedness, to a symbol of more complex unknowing, change-ability, tangledness, and mess.

You can read more in the accompanying album essay and lyric booklet, but for now I’ll end on some words from Judith Butler: ‘The critical promise of fantasy, when and where it exists, is to challenge the contingent limits of what will and will not be called reality. Fantasy is what allows us to imagine ourselves and others otherwise; it establishes the possible in excess of the real; it points elsewhere, and when it is embodied, it brings the elsewhere home.’


released April 6, 2021

This album was made in Boorloo, on Whadjuk Noongar boodja. We pay respects to elders past, present and emerging, and give thanks to all First Nations people for their continued custodianship of this boodja on which we live and make.

Annika Moses - voice, synth, recorder, guitar, percussion, composition
Imogen Castledine - voice
Dayna Cullen - voice
Shanay Cullen - voice
Josh Cusack - double bass
Jameson Feakes - guitar, mandolin
Laura Igglesden - voice
Lenny Jacobs - drums
Alex Jones - voice
Zoe McGivern - trumpet
Josten Myburgh - drums, voice, clarinet
Dan O’Connor - trumpet
Ini Ojo - voice
Alex Turner - voice
Brooke Wilson - voice
Nate Wood - violin
Jacob Wylde - voice

Recorded by Annika Moses
Mixed by Dan O’Connor and Annika Moses @ENCODERSound
Mastered by Lee Buddle at CRANK Recording
This project was supported by the City of Perth through its arts sponsorship program.

Album artwork sculpture by Ella Bunker
Album artwork photo by Emma Daisy Photography
Album artwork graphic design by Lyndon Blue
Album booklet design by Lyndon Blue


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Nika Mo Perth, Australia

Making and performing on Whadjuk Noongar boodjar. Sovereignty was never ceded.

Melancholy-folk that makes the Perth mundane sound somewhat poetic. With the newest EOFY drop, 'Coffee
Dreams' we return from the strange fantasy realm of ‘Cloven Hoof in Honey’ to the sobering reality of everyday heartbreak.

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