As a person who's been working at haunted attractions since I was 14, and as someone whose job has evolved to include screaming with unwavering voracity, I've come to be able to pick out people who do the fake screaming; yelling from the throat rather than the chest, using mannerisms to punctuate a form of beckoning that otherwise leaves much to be desired. I can tell you that Pharmakon is not one of those people. The work of Margaret Chardiet encapsulates by far the most authentically hair raising maelstrom of shrieks that I have heard in a long time, and the end result of her creative output finds me at the only point where I would use words like "gut-wrenching" for want of better ones.
While I don't own all of her material (it is scarce), and I've yet to have the luxury of seeing her live, I'm also impressed by the bounty of staunchness; the facilitation of quite poetic lyrics and dangerously musical noise elements in a genre whose simple-mindedness often seems to be seen as its strength. While others are releasing short run cassettes on a monthly basis, or performing live with lyrics so precocious that they're written out on crumpled notebook paper (I've been guilty of this); Chardiet's work, which has been in existence for over 3 years, is sparse and pronounced, well produced, and most importantly an opus rather than a document. In the videos of live Pharmakon performances, the absentee accoutrements of studio settings are augmented by a menacingly cat-like swaying, focus and intensity.
In person, I'd be surprised if Margaret weighed more than 100 pounds, but she seems to strike fear in people, and rather than barrelling through the audience pretending to lose her proverbial shit, for her, it looks more like she's using members of the crowd to conduct electromagnetic energy. In the relatively short time that Chardiet has been active, she's also worked with WORK/DEATH, BLOODYMINDED, and Ryan Woodhall (Yellow Tears). The night that she came to Chicago, I absolutely could not make it, but I came home and listened to her EP on repeat for several hours, a danger to myself; brooding, manic, and very angry. All the alcohol in the world couldn't calm me down (but I'll be damned if I didn't try).