Say word if these words paint a pretty picture.
It’s becoming a bit of tradition for me to pick up a copy of a RATKING zine whenever I go to their shows. First it was a handful of The Letter Racer, back when they were pocket-sized pages of black and white collages stapled together. Last night, at their album release party my latest purchase from their merch stand was a $10 copy of their new zine photographed by Ari Marcopoulos. He was nice enough to sign a copy for me. This would have been my window to ask him about his new zine for Dashwood Books with Carmelo Anthony on the cover, but I was kind of speechless in between taking this photo and reflecting on my good deed of returning the extra $20 given to me by the kid who sold me the RATKING book. Oh well…
Aside from the cool compilation of photos of Wiki, Hak, and Sporting Life their performance was a stirring preview of things to come. A little more than half of their set was all new music. A new track called “Snow Beach” stood out the most, because Wik was rapping with the ferocity of “Wiki93.” In it he’s taking aim at New York University with jabs like, “I used to shit on NYU kids” and “Why you keep making a campus out of the park?” He adds perspective reflecting on weed dealers on West 4th St., and the need to wear a North Face jacket every year just to stay warm from the bitter cold of New York City’s winter blast. Wik as usual was complimented by Hak’s rhythmic chants. He’s come a long way since the first time I saw him perform at Santos Party Haus. He’s doing less ad-libbing now because he’s focused on waxing philosophical on the chorus or for an entire verse, which I now appreciate. In fact, his references to the great outdoors, albeit the beauty of trees, birds and bees now have proper accompaniment in the same images projected behind the band courtesy of a video “thing” created by visual artist and RATKING video director, Eric K. Yue. They’ve come a long way over the past year. I defer to an excerpt from their bio which explains that RATKING is a band built on inspiration.
“Consider then what it means to make music in the following landscape: a city famed for its fearlessness and endeavor, struck by despair and shuttered. A city in which delicate, perfumed beauty sits aside rancid, mangled poverty. A city wide eyed and weary, at all times both monument and bulldozer, remaining itself through constant “de” and “re”construction.”
Destroy and rebuild NY.