Started by FreakAnimalFinland, November 20, 2015, 03:46:36 PM

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Zeno Marx

Quote from: minimal.impact on April 11, 2020, 11:02:02 AM
Where does the crackle pattern / The Rita connection come up?

Searching this term brings up its definition in relation to art conservation, so I take it this might reference his production or methodology.
One of the more recent Noisextra podcast guests mentioned it.  I can't remember which one.
"the overindulgent machines were their children"
I only buy vinyl, d00ds.


It was me. I mentioned it. I don't know if the exact two words "Crackle" and "Pattern" are something he copyrighted, but I was simply saying that Sam is a person who goes out of his way to isolate the exact set of textures and frequencies that he engages with in harsh noise and strip down/focus his sound until he gets those exact frequencies, textures, and pressures. If you find a copy of As Loud As Possible, his "Politics of HNW" article has him musing on the exact textures and frequencies of the then-emerging HNW as a genre and asking Skin Crime, Richard Ramirez, Paranoid Time, and Hum of the Druid their own takes on distortion and texture. If he doesn't outright say "crackle pattern" in there, he says "crackle," "distortion lines," the "vicious details of Harsh Noise," etc.

I've heard him say crackle patterns and distortion lines (or something similar) when talking about this stuff in person, though I can't point to interviews or anything. The point was that Sam doesn't just "vibe on these noise jammmmz," he methodically narrows and adjusts his listening and production into a specific set of tonal and textural criteria that pleases him.


Here's a few paragraphs of what I'm talking about, from the "Politics of HNW" article:

In the last few years, one topic of debate within the harsh noise world has been the defining factors that have built up around what is now known as the sub-genre 'Wall Noise.' Power Electronics discussion used to dominate areas of disagreement, contrast, and arguments over stylization and content, but as of late, I have witnessed even longer, more in-depth discussions/arguments over the tonal qualities and supposed purpose of Wall Noise. This facet of harsh noise has been met with violent opposition from some artists, as the tonal statements it presents can put some people over the edge. Wall Noise is seen as a threat to some, as it can disregard themes that some harsh noise fans feel need to be infused in harsh noise, such as drama, story, entertainment, etc. But does Wall Noise actually ignore the standards that previous harsh noise classics have achieved? Is the motivation behind this style of noise completely different, or is Wall Noise part of a healthy and creative growth pattern of Harsh Noise that simply carries the form to extremes for fans of heavy noise?  

Before we get into this further, I should discuss in plain English the developments of Wall Noise over the years. Sound artists have obviously meditated over themes of minimalism in tones and 'noise' for the last century. Even a cursory overview ranges from the Futurists' examples of violent engine sounds, to Philip Corner and his 1962 work 'Black Hole' (from Oracle, an electronic cantata on images of war: strike week version -- a piece which scarily sounds a lot like contemporary Wall Noise works), to LaMonte Young's minimalism, the immense volume and snapping violence of Zbigniew Karkowski, Francisco Lopez and his soaring works, all the way through to something like the minimal and quiet works of Bernhard Günter. The range of noise study is long and surely accomplished, some works being examples of noise for noise's sake, and others acting as examples of stages of tonal and sound study, as an artist like Chop Shop would display in his levels of study and experimentation. The academia behind the works of sound artists of the past century plays a critical role in the establishment of Harsh Noise into the late 1970s, '80s and '90s, as projects like Merzbow, Hijokaidan, The Haters, Incapacitants, etc. took form with acute knowledge of the past techniques and ideologies. But Wall Noise took a very different path of influence and workmanship, which is one of the most important aspects of the sub-genre. Rather than from sound art, Wall Noise has grown from the roots, sound, and mania of the 1990s 'Americanoise' culture.  

First of all, in subtle contradiction of what was just stated above, Wall Noise is nothing new. It has indeed taken some forms of harsh noise to new levels of study and heavy interest, but most wall noise artists take their influence from very defined past works. Japanese harsh noise obviously has its prime examples of massive cascading walls of noise with projects like Hijokaidan, Incapacitants, and Monde Bruits, each taking different aspects of harsh noise generation and layering them into mountains of sound. To a lesser extent, Merzbow's stylizations can be evaluated with many of his studio works, but his live works have been focused in the past on massive layers of continual sound. The Japanese had a major influence on the harsh noise movements of North America (for those not already acquainted with something like The Haters or early U.K. Industrial projects) in the 1990s, perpetuating the popularity of American projects like Macronympha, Skin Crime, Richard Ramirez, Black Leather Jesus, Taint, etc. Something that one notices almost immediately about 'Americanoise' (the term used initially to describe the heavy and dark distortion-laden Mother Savage Noise Productions cassette compilation from 1995, and then used frequently to describe the North American harsh noise style of the 1990s) is the style, the sound. American harsh noise back in the 1990s was noticeably dirtier, concentrating on the crunch and rumble a lot more than the squeal and jolts of some Japanese artists with their cleaner feel. American harsh noise was representative of something a little meaner and more dangerous, and this instigated a new way of interpreting the harsh noise form of the time. The culmination of this 'sound' can be heard in Joe Roemer's (Macronympha) side project OVMN, which stands for 'Optimum Volume Maximum Noise.'  OVMN is a virtual avalanche of harsh noise that is purposely the harshest possible, culminating in massive walls of sound while representing the American noise ideal with its grit and darkness. Contemporary Wall Noise artists are the children of the 1990s Americanoise, with a strong interest in the characteristics of the genre as a whole. The Incapacitants and crustier Japanese acts such as Cracksteel and MO*TE are also driving influences, but it's the cassette culture and sadism of the North American sound that you can really hear in the heavy distortion lines of modern Wall Noise artists.

Zeno Marx

Thanks so much.  VERY much appreciate the excerpt and where to look.
"the overindulgent machines were their children"
I only buy vinyl, d00ds.


Another thank you for sharing, fascinating read.


Quote from: Zeno Marx on April 16, 2020, 06:04:16 PM
Thanks so much.  VERY much appreciate the excerpt and where to look.
Quote from: Neanderthal on April 17, 2020, 08:50:02 AM
Another thank you for sharing, fascinating read.

Agreed! Thanks!


Just finished watching this -

Delves into Sam's obsessions pretty thoroughly for a 25min documentary.

QuoteThe Rita is the noise project of 45-year old Vancouverite Sam McKinlay. A pioneer of harsh wall noise (or HNW) who began in the late 1990s with Italian horror-influenced releases like Crusty Etruscans (1998) and Possessed Nun Sleaze (1998). After a brief hiatus to finish a fine arts degree, he returned with a vengeance in 2004 with Bodies Bear Traces of Carnal Violence, which would kick off a highly prolific period that hasn't let up since, and has taken him (and his audience) in a variety of surprising artistic directions.

McKinlay's cinematic obsessions – which become quite literally the foundation for his sound pieces – have followed a fascinating trajectory from giallo and krimi films, to sharks and Italian frogmen to his greatest love: the classical ballet. We asked McKinlay to create a sound piece inspired by the 1960s B&W roughies and he zeroed in on Whit Boyd's Spiked Heels and Black Nylons (1967), featuring beehive hairdos, black nylon worship and 1920s-style heavy black makeup. Here, the Rita translates the film's visual aesthetic into a crackling analog soundscape by mic'ing and overdriving vintage black nylons themselves as they stretch and move over participating women's thighs.

To accompany The Rita's sound piece, McKinlay's brother—documentary filmmaker and professional skateboarder Mike McKinlay—has created the 30-minute documentary Tights Worship. The film traces Sam McKinlay's early days as a punk skateboarder through his academic development as a conceptual artist into a highly esteemed noise practitioner whose work bridges the gap between the gallery world and the sleaze of exploitation film imagery. It documents the physical processes of his work and the distillation of visuals into sound, most notably addressing the appeal of abstraction—from the cheap effects of old monster movie makeup to the 'masks' created by the heavy cosmetic makeup of 1920s flapper culture and actresses like Pamela Stanford in Jess Franco's Lorna the Exorcist (The Rita has albums or EPs named after several eurotrash actresses, including The Nylons of Laura Antonelli (2009) and Monica Swinn/Pamela Stanford (2016)).


There is a new book from The Rita on Amaya Productions that looks great. I ordered a copy with the slipcase and look forward to checking it out: Order Here

Description from the publisher:
QuoteCredited as one of the pioneers of 'harsh noise wall'; influential artist Sam McKinlay (b. 1974, CA)  has been operating under the alias The Rita for over 25 years. Having performed extensively  and credited with over 200 releases, the project has grown into a laser focused multidisciplinary venture and is celebrated for pushing the boundaries of 'harsh noise'.

Accompanying The Rita's singular and often unpredictable sonic output is an inseparable and distinct visual language. By combining McKinlay's fine arts education, research, experimentation, and collaboration; the project visually and texturally unites the artist's interests in minimalist design, noise, ballet, sharks, choreography, and film.

'Correlations' presents some of the images and documents McKinlay finds most definitive in his practice. The monograph is designed to provide a cohesive understanding of the artist's creative trajectory, as well as illuminate The Rita's uncanny process that visually, conceptually, and historically 'connects' seemingly unrelated subjects.

Published by Amaya Productions and curated by Andrea Stillacci; the monograph includes essays by the author and Centre Pompidou art historian Nicolas Ballet ('Shock Factory: The Visual Culture of Industrial Music'), associate Professor and harsh noise artist Lexi Turner (Cornell University), and author, writer, producer Kier-La Janisse ('House of Psychotic Women').

'Correlations' is 9.5" x 12.25", 200 pages, full color offset, edge painted 'ballerina pink', hardcover wrap with debossed cover text. Printed by Graphius (Gent, BELG).

ISBN: 9798218294854

Zeno Marx

Someone who can articulate their process, their ideas, their work, etc (via words or otherwise), shouldn't be confused with "intellectual arty shit".  I personally find it refreshing and incredibly valuable; to both myself, but more importantly, to this culture.  Richard Serra was a real gift in this way.  Bumbling through likes and dudes is fine too.  Casual conversation is also necessary.
"the overindulgent machines were their children"
I only buy vinyl, d00ds.


Quote from: Spectral_Hiss on March 02, 2024, 05:51:54 PMThat said, when you're talking about a genre that consists of walls of white noise, too much "meaning" spoils the minimalism and delectable poverty of the sound.

Your comment got me thinking---how minimal really is The Rita?  Some of his projects require an immense amount of effort in order for the source sounds to be recorded or compiled (definitely much more than many supposedly "maximalist" noise recordings).

Bloated Slutbag

Quote from: Spectral_Hiss on March 02, 2024, 05:51:54 PMtoo much "meaning" spoils the minimalism and delectable poverty of the sound.

Right, and who is that on?
Someone weaker than you should beat you and brag
And take you for a drag


Total worship for the first releases/concepts (Zombi, Edwige Fenech, Sharks, etc), although the number of micro-releases makes it for me impossible to stay behind everything (and probably it's not even that necessary), up to the 3LP box "Escorting", for me his best release (thanks also to the top-notch collaborations in it). Afterwards, he started to kind of "intellectualise" his concept and also the sound shifted from a corrosive wall of noise to a more "abstract" and, for me at least, sometimes senseless sound. Still, the violent physical matching between his obsessions/imagination and noise remains the main trademark of this project.

I was waiting for ages to be able to see him live, but when it happened last year (in the tour with Black Leather Jesus, etc..) I have to admit that his performance deluded me a bit. It was kind of boring and not the massive wave of sound I was waiting for. But I think it depends on the fact that I am never been such a huge fan of his "buzzy" releases. (Industrial / ambient)