“Down with Memory as a source of custom”, said Brazilian modernist Oswald de Andrade in his Cannibalist Manifesto, “[and] personal experience renewed”. No remembrance, no history, which is to say no death, should inform the practice of life, an all-consuming vitality that should inescapably grow with the brilliance of excess flesh. Unbridled affirmation of life implies the destruction of all those memorials colonizing our neuronal maps, the “no” in no wave a prelude to the grind of Ricarda Cometa’s fully improvised works, the stripping of forms that could once give definite directions and orders into a series of sound blasts with no power except that to revolt. Like Hideyuki Katsumata’s fantastic album cover, these figures of fiery creatures continually fragment, not in decomposition but its opposite, vast bursts of unchecked growth, a revolting mass of once recognizable signs. If Latin music was a constructive gateway for an unfathomable Other to arrive bearing deadly gifts of scorching noise in Ricarda Cometa 1, it is no longer here an anchor of memory but an integral part of the emergence of new eyes to stare with, new rows of teeth in places where they shouldn’t be, ready to snap at the world so as to let its wounds grow another face.
The band has been reduced to two members since 2017, and while such an adjustment usually implies a certain loss of complexity, for RC it has meant renewal, a rejection of memory that’s left Jorge Espinal and Tatiana Heuman operating in a distinctively expressionist manner. As a trio, the chaos sown was harmonic, whereas now it is much more incisive, less about the expanse of sound interactions and more about the acuteness of noise produced by solely two instruments. It’s still eminently corporeal, powered by the clean spurts of Espinal’s guitar and amplified by Heuman’s restrained-yet-punchy drumming. Still, in comparison to other noise-rock duos, RC’s music demands to be clearly followed, every crease and fold in the new flesh a motive of aesthetic attention. Your body should dance in ways it never has, each new position a new limb with which to appreciate the guitar’s intricate noodling and the drums’ marking of unconventional pulses, a music meant not for your mind to get lost in but for your body to be sharpened by.
Once sharpened, it can be used to pierce the veil of a constraining tradition that has forever delimited the body as an uncomfortable accessory, its fluids and emissions a disgusting reminder that we are not Ideas. Having forsworn that reminder in the danceable beats and ritualistic repetitions (a party-ceremony of sweat and faltering breath), we can much more easily understand the strangely sweet quietness of tracks like “Banca, tú tranquilo” as extensions of the same extremism practiced in heavies like “Estoy afuera” or the heady contrasts of dissonance and form in “Panca y piquín”. There’s a math-rock quality in these smooth integrations of extremes that nevertheless leaves some room for the irruption of flows, like the fast picking and shredding of “Chapulines” as underscored with a seemingly slow percussive beating. It is from these extremes where the monstrous rises, where the revolt(ing) spews forth as the demolition of structured growth, the crushing of a progress incapable of doing away with memory.
At almost 24 minutes, Ricarda Cometa 2 is even shorter than its predecessor, but it is with great admiration that I say that it is more. More intricate, more intense, more punishing and powerful… it is, in other words, more alive, and that’s saying a hell of a lot. Let yourself loose, and dive into the eyes and teeth of those body parts you’ve never cared to listen to, let yourself destroy the memory that impairs their free movement, let your experience be renewed. (David Murrieta)