Edition of 233 hand-numbered LPs pressed on clear yellow vinyl. Letterpress and offset printed covers with design by F. Coloccia and photography by Claudia X. Valdes. Formed in New Mexico in 2009, Mesa Ritual is the duo of William Fowler Collins and Raven Chacon.
In their five year existence they have created a concise, extremely focused, and inimitable body of work consisting of one EP, and this, their first full length album. Considering the rarified nature of their activities, the resultant sounds would suggest a process of patient sonic reductionism, whereby only the most essential elements are allowed to remain in the completed works. These skeletal compositions expose a core that is both vibrant and severe. Much like the environment from which they originated, the sounds conjured by Mesa Ritual on their debut full length are simultaneously alluring and forbidding.
Over the course of the album’s nine tracks a deceivingly spare palette of sounds are implemented: sporadic gasps of crackling circuitry, arid washes of impenetrable static, dilapidated field recordings, and insistent cycles of rhythmic thunder. Through a deft and continual recombination of these elemental pieces, an interwoven series of fevered desert dreams are invoked in the listener - twisting and looming over the vast horizon, and then receding as new facets of the evolving storm supersede. Balancing on the precipice between purgatorial stasis and nightmarish descent, the album evokes the animalistic unease of finding oneself in familiar surroundings which have been uncannily altered beyond recognition. A tense listen though it may be, the album is not without its own form of subtle and serene beauty. In the midst of swirling sandstorms of agitated electronics there beats a steady heart, unwavering in purpose, poised in harmony. Perhaps it is this foundation of a pervasive living spirit veiled within the work that invites repeated visits into the outwardly hostile environments that Mesa Ritual devise.