The Rita - Retrospective [Pointless Blank Records - 2010]‘Retrospective’ brings together nine (mainly) early & extremely rare releases by the highly respected and influential harsh Noise and HNW innovator Canadian based project The Rita(aka Sam McKinlay). This release offers up nine original (mainly) tape based releases on a single region free data dvd in Wave and MP format. And along with the DVD comes twelve 5.5×8.5 cards printed in black and white which feature original tape art work and details of original releases information. Both DVD in paper shelve and cards are packaged in a heavy duty plastic bag.
The set to starts with takes us right the way back to the start of The Rita's career in 1996 and the first offering of the set is ‘Creature Drowning You’ which originally appeared on Canadian label Almos Records. This release is presented as two wave or MP3 files keeping the original two sided tape like format(all the releases are presented like this here). Sonically the two quarter of a hour tracks that make up ‘Creature Drowning You’ are best described as very nasty, coarse and at times quite sludgy sounding harsh noise with a distinct US noise feeling about it. There are a few ‘wallish’ like dwells here and there, but this is a lot more active and shifting then the sound McKinlay later become know and respected for. Each track/side of tape is made up of mixture of juddering grey rumbles, chugs and roars, with nice screaming and seared sudden risers as the tracks/sides move along.
Up next is ‘Cartilage Deposit’ which was The Rita’s second release and it was once again orignally in tape format. It was released in 1996 and appeared on the short lived Almos Records. The two fifteen minute parts of ‘Cartilage Deposit’ are lot more active and shifting then the grey judder and rise of 'Creature Drowning You’ . This release finds McKinlay building these two tracks out a rapid scuttling tones, effect peddle seared vocal belchers, grunts and groans, forking feed back, swirling phaser bombardments and trenchers of roaring and billowing noise. You can also pick up here, especially on the second track, melted and stuck musical elements which I’m sure come from either late 1950’s or early 1960’s dramatic horror movie music.
Next up we have the originally self released ‘Refulcilized’ (Re-Fulci-lized) from 1997 which has very fitting artwork using the German poster of Italian Luici Fulci’s first ultra voilent zombie movie ‘Zombie Flesh Eaters’. These two fourteen minute tracks are all about roaring and swirling noise attacks which find high pitch grates locking horns with crashing lower tones. There’s also some quite rhythmic and structured almost extreme industrial like tendencies with-in these two tracks too, though this is still very much brutal and ass kicking Harsh noise.
Up next is a very rare and never released before half an hour track from a purposed split with noise project Antibody. This track was recorded in 1998 and it finds McKinlay building a nice thick and crusty Harsh noise track which has some great and longer ‘wall’ like drifts. The tracks built around a thick, rumbling and deep, mid-pace to slowish crusty juddering tone that’s seared by the odd sudden rises of higher pitched feed back rips, folks or roars. The is one of my favourite rleases of the set as it's got such an nice, nasty and crusty feel to it and of course it does have at times almost half a minute 'wall' dwells running through-out the track.
For release number five we have ‘Living Dead Girl’ from 1998 which was original a self released tape and offered up two fifteen minute tracks. Both tracks are quite searing and fast moving to mid-pace examples of Harsh noise matter built around roaring, ripping and serrated tones that are smashed, drilled, bour and rip into each other to make very violent, noisy and shifting soundscapes that tear and bombard your head. There are some slightly more active and roaring junk like tone clamourings detectable in parts of theses tracks, but there are certainly no real ‘wall’ moments present here.
Release number six is ‘Possessed Nun Sleaze’ from 1998 and it was original released on the labyrinth label in tape form, and offers up two thirty two minute tracks. These two tracks are built around a collection of expanding and reducing deep noise roars, judders and nasty purrs. Each track keeps fairly thick and rolling in it’s tone, & I guess you could define these as being the most ‘wall’ like of all the release so far here though there still relatively shifting in there layers of roar and billow. There are also the odd higher pitched sear and lengthy grind/ drags present do with each track. The second track is a little slower thicker,deep and crusty like it its feel and at times almost judders to a sustained doom type dwells which is very pleasing indeed to theses ears.
Release number seven is ‘Crusty Etruscans’ from 1998 and original released on the Spite label and offers up two fifteen minute tracks. These two tracks are based around active rolling and roaring tonality that are beset by ripping and billowing zooms, clatterings and forking junk like higher pitchers. I guess there is ‘ a wall’ type feel to the main rolling and roar tones here, but there’s too much shifting, twist and bending of the tracks fabric to be called Strictly HNW- it’s just very fierce and bombarding Hash noise.
Release number eight is ‘Shin O.C.D’ which first released on two separate cassetts entitled ‘ Shin Health’ and ‘O.C.D’. Then there was a second release which brought all the tracks on to one CDR called ‘Shin O.C.D’ which came out in 1998 on the Trauma Tone label. First up we have the two tracks ‘Shin Health 1 & 2’ which are the only collaborative tracks on this ‘Retrospective’ collection, and they find Mr McKinlay joining forces with Kevin Rivard of Vote Robot. Each of theses tracks are around the fifteen minute mark a piece and each is built around very active Harsh noise/ seared electro scraping landscape of: line feedback rumbles, feedback static grain, whirling and slicing red hot pitch chops or darts, aggravated buzzers, accelerated tone judders and sears, and all manner of nasty noise tone. After theses two tracks we have the fifteen minute ‘Structurally Sound’ track which returns to more roaring, crush and billow harsh noise attack, with a quite nice accelerated roaring rocket engine & grinding billowing feel to the structure of the track. There are also some quite distinctive and clamouring junk noise tonalities rising here and there from this actively mid pace track. Then lastly we have the fifteen minutes of ‘O.C.D’ which is built around quite fast and rapid accelerating roars and forking higher pitched sears.
Lastly we have ‘Rebiahilized’ from 2006 which was originally released Harsh Head Rituals and offers up two fourteen and a half minute tracks. Both of these tracks are very ‘wall’ like and thick in their attack; and each is built around rapid roaring tone dwells that are wonderfully deep, drilling and searing in there attack. I guess you can call both of these more active HNW tracks, as the thick rushing and deep noise tones that the tracks centre around have some quite nice judder and semi- higher pitched sparking going on as they drill into you. Yet both tracks do maintain a ‘wall’ stance through out with no really great shifts in the main roar structure of the tracks.
So in summing up a wonderfullly put together and professional looking collection that mainly focusers in on the early and long out of print work of The Rita. Of interest to Harsh Noise addicts in general and your fan of more active HNW. But beware ‘wall’ heads as on the whole I see the material here falling more into the Harsh noise bracket than the HNW bracket.Roger Batty