VOL012 - Live from the Plant

by Rat Porridge

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about

Jamaica Queens born artist Rat Porridge’s work is layered, complex and presents multiple entry points from which one can absorb its potent combination of intensities. One of these is the translucent green of the cassette tape and cover artwork that hold her inaugural release on Voluminous Arts in physical form. Another is the title of this debut album, Live from the Plant. Together these two creative choices already present an interwoven set of meanings and associations that allow entry to the depths that lie within her surging condensations of sonic information. The color green evokes both effusive botanical growth and the toxic sludge produced by manufacturing, while the words “Live” and “Plant” evoke similar associations through language. In her own words, “it’s very multi-meaning, the ‘plant’ is the organic plant of earth, and then there’s the ‘plant’ of the industrial plant. The plant could be a lot of different things, and it’s all those things.” On Live from the Plant, Rat Porridge uses the permeable and malleable properties of sound to engage the relationships between these multiple meanings in ways that orient themselves towards healing and towards ancestral time, rather than colonial models of binary opposition and categorization. Space and its relationship to the body is a core concept connecting multiple threads of meanings in Rat’s work. Her songs are permeated by field recordings, gathered from spaces, such as shuttered shopping areas, within her environment that have been left empty of commerce and full of possibility after outliving their use to extractive commodity-based market interests. They also reverberate with the physical spaces in which they were recorded; bedroom and basement, critical and traditional sites of underground artistic exploration and community building. Her voice resonates from within the space of her physical body and echoes back from the rooms she works in, creating one of many cumulative forms of repetition present in the work. Repetition also plays a role in her lyrics, which repeat enough times to give listeners added meaning with each engagement. This awareness of space, and of one’s place and power within it grows from her engagement with performance art, activism and the communities she is a part of. As one listens to the album, it becomes a transcription of these interrelated activities, one that charts a trajectory of both individual and collective healing as she ecstatically expands on the rhythmic cycling present in both dance floor oriented music and what mental health practitioners refer to as “circular thinking”. With repetition and a circular continuity at their pulsing core, Rat Porridge’s works on Live from the Plant unleash a regimentation-shattering energy that is saturated with multiple temporalities, locations and emotions. Rat’s music, with all of its texture and performance, subverts expectations of what healing art should be: “I feel like there’s an association with so-called ‘healing’ music that it should only be soft, ambient or like easy listening or something like that… relaxing… I listen to things like that, and it's not like I’m not using some of those sounds… but there’s something with just like addressing the brokenness, or addressing the really difficult parts as well, that is like, a step towards the deeper healing.... I’m opening up and so is the art.”

credits

released March 26, 2021

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Voluminous Arts New York, New York

Label established by Gavilán Rayna Russom to support and disseminate works by boundary pushing artists.

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