In the past few months I’ve dipped my toes back into some old school noise. I’ve been trolling Discogs for old Wolf Eyes, Aaron Dilloway and Sick Lama CDR’s and have managed to snap up a few. When I scroll through a Discogs noise seller’s inventory there is invariably a coupe of The Rita CD’s up for grabs as well and I suspect that these records probably haven’t necessarily got the attention they deserve.
I’ve got a fair few The Rita records and this is one of my favourites. For those of you who haven’t heard of him before, The Rita is the pseudonym of Sam McKinlay, a Canadian noise artist who specialises in that most specialist of noise sub genres, Harsh Wall Noise. HWN is pretty well described by its title. It is usually identified by tracks consisting of thick walls of static with very little or absolutely no compromise to anything that may comfort the listener by way of any recognisable musical forms. There are certainly no beats or homages to industrial noise – the sound can either be overwhelming or strangely trance inducing and on occasions exceptionally boring.
I can assure you that The Rita and specifically The Voyage of the Decima MAS are not boring. The Decima MAS were an Italian frogmen unit formed during the second world war. McKinlay references the subject matter by interposing snorkel sounds that he recorded in Vancouver Harbour as breaks in the walls of static that he conjures up. It’s not the first time he has used nautical subject matter and related field recordings, his Thousands of Dead Gods CD from 2006 used recordings of a great white shark dive cage to weave through all the static. I suppose the reason I like both these records so much is that unlike most harsh wall noise, my listening experience has been active rather than passive as I anticipate the use of the field recordings.
This record is pretty great but if you decide to pick up a copy expect something brutal, harsh and noisy.