Ruah – Ruwa (SM030)
Ruah‘s first full length album “Ruwa” sees producer/songwriter Benjamin Schurr laying the groundwork for the project utilizing various types of analog, warm guttural distortions against hypnotic mantras, speaker rattling bass synths, post-industrial rhythms, ethereal pads and ancient acoustic instruments.
“Lyrically I wanted to focus on the power of belief and devotion in the face of a pervasive violent uncertainty. Sonically I wanted to maintain the songcraft I was honing with my old band Br’er but take it into new, unfamiliar realms and make sure that all the sounds felt both unknown to me and also emotionally affecting”. The record was recorded between Richmond Va and Philadelphia, where Schurr was born and recently returned, features guests Maura Pond (Luna Honey, Nyxy Nyx,) and Madeline Johnston (midwife)
The album has scope. Flowing through the industrial synths of “A Violent Sound” and “Spite”, the primal rhythms of “Guidance” and “Synthesized Skies”, ultimately resolving into the sparse drama of “Lord Come Down”. Ben shows us how capable he is, both as a producer and a songwriter. Showcasing a maturity of craft and attuned ear, the product of years of dedication.
What influenced you to start Ruah?
“I wanted to take the wisdom (ha!) I possibly acquired from the years of doing Br’er and other projects to move forward with intention. I don’t want there to be a formula to what the project can and can’t do, and I still want to feel like I’m discovering fire when I’m creating the music; but I do want the delivery of how it arrives in the world to be very much on a path”
What inspired your album art?
“The album art comes from a stained glass piece called Amos made by Jacob Landau at synagogue Keneseth Israel which I went to as a child. I remember being transfixed looking at it during services while this incredibly somber powerful organ music would play, Which is a feeling I would access a lot while writing the record. The whole still shows this really intense abstract sense of people being both hypnotized by a terrifying tv face and reflecting the sort of almost orgiastic horror of being deafened and lured in by the noise of music. Seemed appropriate”
What motivates your writing process?
“I see songwriting as one of the few places that’s truly mine, and I want that space to be honest. whether it’s reflective or trying to manifest something. In ways it’s like casting spells, and It’s about what energy I want to draw from and draw in, which echoes my sentiments towards being very intentional in my work, and def being aware of what I’m attempting to say/attract. I’ve worked no shortage of shitty jobs and i really value the time I have to hopefully put something meaningful into the world, and I don’t believe anything good will come from me not being true to my intentions as a songwriter”
Can you walk us through your approach to producing?
“I like the collage approach to production that’s kinda a tapestry of a bunch of weird sounds that are meaningful to me that I weave together into a (hopefully) cogent piece of music. I’m always chasing the sense of wonder and discovery of finding new (to me) sounds and textures. I also really love finding old ideas that I maybe forgot about and recontextualizing them, I never get sick of the thrill of putting weird shit together!”
Proceeds from this album benefit the Southern Poverty Law Center to help combat the spread of hate groups in the United States.