Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Song Title: "Beyond the Milfoil"
Artist: The Rita
Search Term: "Milfoil"

Listening to "Beyond the Milfoil" on my computer immediately after downloading it, I initially thought that my audio player was interpreting the file as an incorrect sample type--or maybe I had failed to notice that the file wasn't an MP3 at all and Windows Media Player was trying to extract audio from an INI file or something, because what I was hearing did not sound like an intentional recording. But no, that's what Canadian anti-musicians The Rita evidently want to put in your earholes: A matted furball of loud, garbled nothing. Listen close and you can hear a hint of what sounds like someone yelling deep in the mix, but overall it just sounds like a heavy, sustained gust of wind whipping into a naked microphone. I do think it's a little interesting that the distorted soup doesn't come across as greatly abrasive; where lots of grumpy tumult artisans would boost the treble and try to assault the listener with as uninviting a sound as they can manage, "Beyond the Milfoil"'s white noise doesn't seem to be striving for obnoxiousness. I'd be hard pressed to identify what it is striving for, though. I'm sure The Rita thinks they're making some sort of avant-garde statement by creating such a dense, monochromatic fog, but didn't Lou Reed's defiantly purposeless Metal Machine Music render any subsequent noisemaking of this sort redundant? Those boundaries have already been amply pushed, so it strikes me that this sort of tuneless clutter is about as novel in the world of experimental music as a 12-bar blues structure is in the world of rock.

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