The Lilac Fairy


"... From ephemera, from tulle and satin, The Rita has assembled a fantasy woman; a ballerina, a fairy, a sex worker - violently she is animated into existence as a sonic monolith dense and menacing as Richard Serra's looming steel. With the double LP set The Lilac Fairy, The Rita reach an apex of fixation on the dancer's body... The Lilac Fairy records the ritualized construction of a garment, The Lilac Fairy is a costume, a tutu empty of body altogether... The sanctity of ballet as elite aristocratic high art has always been a thinly-veiled facade for blatant eroticism, where women are interchangeable pieces of scenery arranged in colonnades for the pleasure of the male gaze. The Lilac Fairy herself was originally choreographed by Imperial Master Marius Petipa for his unskilled but beautiful daughter Marie as a mime part, but has been modified over the past century to become one of the most taxing characters in the female dancer's repertoire... The Lilac Fairy is a ricochet between fabrication and obliteration, degradation and ritualized exaltation... Only within the noise does she ascend, within the inimitable walls of The Rita that choke every frequency, devour all and drown all, shatter every object. Everything is reduced to geometry, a cello attempts to accompany and is pulverized. Within the abstraction of harsh noise, The Rita simultaneously brings to life and annihilates the total fetish object, and in this performance of gestures she is elevated to the realm of non-objectivity, the Black Square of Malevich, Vessel and Void - pure. Listeners would be wise to note that Sam McKinlay has transcended the trope of the romanticized cult of genius surrounding solitary harsh noise, and The Rita is now half-woman, with the integral presence of Arlie Doyle as both the embodiment of the objectified form/performative feminine and collaborator in the sonic deconstruction of her own body. Additionally, The Lilac Fairy utilizes the contributions of several skilled craftspeople and musicians, with the tutu constructed by Katherine Hotmer and fittings to Doyle's body performed by Rachel Hayward, Luke Tandy's assiduous recording of the process of construction, and cello accompaniment by Leila Bordeuil. The sound that has made McKinlay a modern master of harsh noise remains intact, but the expansive critical and collaborative scope of The Lilac Fairy makes it a hallmark in the oeuvre of The Rita." --Kristin Hayter