PS Stamps Back & Olekranon, (Self Titled)

Here’s the thing: I can only take the collaborative album from PS Stamps Back and Olekranon in small doses; but the doses I take are very, very effective. Grinding industrial drones, hissing blockades of static and massive walls of noise alternately coax and bully their way into your head, everything anchored and semi-normalized by subtle bits of beats and tones. There are solo pieces from each artist and collaborative works, but everything adheres fairly closely to the formula at work. For a solid taste of what’s going on here, fire up “Angle.” (Which is all Olekranon.) This relentless buzzsaw of sound reaches critical mass immediately, pushed ahead by heavy drumming. Under it all, one long bass drone yawns. When it pares back a little over halfway through, it’s a relief, even as your head continues to swim and spin. But don’t get cozy–it comes back to finish you off. This is pure noise, and it works. The duo’s other weapon of choice is a mutated minimalism through gross repetition. They will take isolated elements, like chiming tones or glitch-style “pops,” set them in a pattern and send them out. These basically move in a straight line. They don’t change, they don’t shift. The droning backgrounds behind them do, which makes the repetitive elements that much more hypnotic. I like the way this works in “Long Quest to Zero” and ion the PS Stamps Back solo track, “Hantaki,” which opens the disc. This offering is about sound texture, and there’s a lot of it. Almost too much to handle at times. It’s directly in your face, and it wants you to flinch, but it also has a sort of “can’t look away” aspect once it gets up to ramming speed. This is certainly not a disc for everyone. It’s noise, it’s experimental, and it’s worth a try even if those words don’t describe your listening preferences. Don’t just listen–live through it.

Available from Tilt Recordings.

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