Monday, 15 April 2019

Ritual Chair Overview.

Ritual Chair – Brock Turner (Download, 2018) – Ashamed – (Download, Cassette, 2019).

A noise project based out of Pomona, CA. An ex-sorority girl who didn’t fit in, a girl who is trying to piece together how to move on through PTSD and depression.  Taken from Ritual Chair Facebook page.

I discovered Ritual Chair through a recommendation of her tape Ashamed on Facebook. This led me to the Bandcamp of the project that has a mass of Ritual Chair recordings to play and download, which lead me to the Brock Turner recording amongst others that she’s done.

Brock Turner – 2018. What’s effective in this recording is samples from the news coverage of the Brock Turner’s rape case are layered over noise. 20 minutes of action is the term Turner’s Father used in his reference for his son to the judge, that got him a reduced sentence of 6 months of which he only three months. The entire recording focusses on how Turner’s 20 Minutes of Action virtually ruined someone’s life, yet the defence turned this round claiming the incident ruined the rest of Turner’s life and his dreams rather than that of the victim? The use of noise throughout, creates tension and anxiety over the samples which emphasise the horror and effects of rape culture, white male privilege, Frat culture and flaws in the justice system.

The use of noise mocks and emphasises the words on the recording, the noise is the presence of the creator of Ritual Chair throughout. This highlights the hypocrisy and real-life horror of what happened. It demonstrates impressive use of Death Industrial noise; the drones are powerful. The infected hiss says plenty, it is a blade that rips open the law or society’s hypocrisy where rape is concerned and it is as hard hitting and effective as noise can get, this is a brilliant recording.

 The two titles of this years Ashamed cassette release are Rape and Assault. They are recordings of the artist (I assume) detailing two said events that happened in her life. Prior to this the narrative/vocals were tied in heavily with the noise to the point where it couldn’t easily be made out. On this the recording the narrative is dominant. The details of the Assault are steady and slightly distorted through crackling hiss. The horror of the events builds up gradually and details the grim sexism and sexual assault that happens in some people’s lives. It highlights the culture of guilt reversal.

Rape again uses narrative and no noise, it is entirely reliant on Ritual Chair’s spoken word. It highlights Rape through intoxication, blurred persuasion and the taking a condom off during sex without permission. The recording creates horror through description of real life events, it isn’t a character created, but a real person’s trauma and pain. The narrator questions herself, his actions, explains the aftermath, hopes for his death and so do I.

The direct nature of these and many recordings on the Ritual Chair Bandcamp are powerful and very personal. They highlight the results of the horror of some people and their actions. The use of noise on these two recordings is fairly minimal, it can be a lot busier on other recordings and vocals can be layered into the noise too. Here everything is precise and often well considered. Looking at the project’s Facebook, the live shows are well presented, punishing, intense rituals and they differ greatly each time. On one show a massive crescendo of noise is overtaken by dialogue, Ritual Chair comes from behind the equipment desk and gets right up to the audience. My main criticism is that leaving this project to the realms of Band Camp is like leaving something to the mercy of MySpace, I hope there will be more physical releases over time. The more I investigate this project, the more I’m blown away, is all I can say.

Choppy Noodles 2019.

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