With his flagship project, THE RITA, Sam McKinlay has, for over two decades, explored and distilled into sound various permutations of fetish and vice. He is recognized as the creator of the harsh noise wall, but that sound — massive and rich textural layers of relentless, monolithic fields of distortion — was nothing new, in and of itself. It was McKinlay's conceptual intent and the singular intensity of his focus that established it as something novel and profound. One recognizes in McKinlay's unwavering approach to his body of work the obsessiveness of the fetishist. McKinlay's compulsive reverence for noise — for the unyielding, deliberate weight of wall noise — is a fetish of sound. There is an aesthetic rigor often associated with the fetishization of form or object. Seen through the eyes of the most focused and obsessed, fixations often manifest in a manner that is highly refined, sculpted, concentrated, and even artistic. The line distinguishing the artist from the fetishist is always blurry and often non-existent.
Though his musical approach has remained more or less consistent, the subject matter inspiring McKinlay's work has periodically shifted through the years, mapping out the constellation of non-musical obsessions that occupy his mind: sharks, drag racing, Giallo cinema, skateboarding, and snorkeling, to name just a few. Frequently, McKinlay utilizes field recordings and other sounds sourced from the objects of interest before encrypting them in an opaque shell of noise. Listening to McKinlay's recordings, it's often difficult to determine whether one actually hears the sounds of the source material or if the power of suggestion is so strong in McKinlay's presentation that the listener extracts phantom sounds from the chaotic rumble.
Harsh Noise Wall is arguably the terminal point of music itself, beyond which it's impossible to achieve greater or more effective minimalism and abstraction. It is a pure, visceral sound, untethered from intellectual and emotional composition."
Kate Rissiek is an artist based in Vancouver, Canada who has performed under the name Rusalka since 2007. Employing theremin and other electronics, Rusalka achieves visceral and, at times, abrasive sounds in her exploration of subconscious states and the dark recesses of human nature. A struggle between filth and transcendence occurs which stirs together crude electronics and an ethereal electromagnetic grasp for emergence. Her recent work often features subtle, yet profound, shifts in mood, timbre, and focus demonstrating a fervent refusal to clearly delineate between introspection and observation.
MK9 is a sound and visual personal therapy project by Michael Nine from California. This ongoing endeavor seeks to understand the irrational nature and motivation of the human animal. Performances include pre-constructed sound as well as live frequencies. Expression will occur with audio-video reporting. Material will include observed social actions and behaviors. At times our evolution stands still and becomes a counter productive mire of redundancy and backwards progress. It can be a very small isolated window each of us looks from out into a much larger space of existence. Video, voice, sound and handouts will be offered.