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The Psychic Paramount - Origins and Primitives

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Artist: The Psychic Paramount

Album: Origins and Primitives

Label: No Quarter

Review date: Jan. 26, 2007

If the apocalypse is upon us, creeping through highways and sewers with a gradual but inimitable force, it would be a minor comfort to know that a soundtrack for the long moment is ready and waiting. Psychic Parmount’s Gamelan into the Mink Supernatural played that moment as emancipatory event, a furious unleashing of the subconscious onto a newly primordial landscape. Music in the wake of breakdown, but with a sturdy longboard to ride home.

Origins and Primitives shows the band in a premonitory mode, stocking cans of beans and tweaking delay pedals until the calm before the storm reaches a fever pitch. The band, in fact, is only Drew St. Ivany, whose solo guitar works are collected here for the first time. They offer a blueprint for his (and bassist Ben Armstrong’s) transition from NYC noise provocateurs Laddio Bolocko to the more blown-out aural antics of The Psychic Paramount.

So how did they get there? Noise and rhythm, delay pedals and loops, This Heat and Steve Reich, head trips and Freudian slips. The first track, “Solo Electric Guitar With Pre-Recorded Drums,” is a tittering homage to This Heat’s studio meditation Repeat — quivering guitar squalls push an icy drum loop beyond the point of comprehension, an underlying drone finally finds its way through a meat grinder. “Echo Air” hints at the current format, minus drums and bass; the propulsive discordance of the band is reduced to a single rollicking guitar line. Later, “Microphone” picks up where Reich left off, using the guitar as a rod to fish tones out of a pond of feedback.

These vignettes, happily incomplete, put proficiency into the service of the subconscious. The crux of The Psychic Paramount’s project is a masterful teasing of automatic composition into the realm of technical rapture, and Origins and Primitives takes listeners to the center of that world — at times lurid, hallucinatory and serene, at times a hundred other unknowable things at once.

By Alexander Provan

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