“OST” is the debut solo release from Chaines, otherwise known as Caroline Haines. It opens with cheerful whistling, soon joined by faint rumble, voices, and an itchy beat. By the time a guitar joins in, a gentle, pastoral mood has been established, briefly interrupted now and then by bursts of noise and rattling sound. These interruptions in no way foreshadow the huge volcano that suddenly erupts at around the halfway point, spewing burning aural ash all over the piece. In a way, this track, titled ‘Here’, can be heard as a kind of synecdoche for the release as a whole.
The next three tracks are all part of the same piece, which gives the release its title. In part 1, a dense stream of noise is led by an irregular sound that resembles the breathing of someone having a panic attack. The rest of the track alternates between heavily compressed and distorted metal-style vocals backed by pounding beats and extreme noise, and sudden, brief interludes of guitar-led calm. Parts 2 and 3 are much more sedate, as visual artist Mary Stark reads out instructions for developing film, recounts anecdotes from the darkroom, and discusses her work with projectors and making art with light. Around her voice, guitar meanders, noises echo, and synth chords swirl and reverberate in waves.
In the final track ‘I Found This’, synth patterns resembling clinking jars create a skittering rhythm. Snatches of Oliver Coates’ cello and strangely modulated vocals form a flow of sorts, which is again punctuated and interrupted by various rough noises, butterflies that never settle for more than the briefest of moments. The lush melody at the end recalls the pastoralism of the opening track.
It took me a long time (and some prompting) to get past the violence of the extreme noise elements of this record, but when I eventually managed to do so I began to recognise a coherent and strikingly original compositional voice. Some parts of “OST” may not be for wusses (whether they imagine themselves as critics or not), but those of stronger constitution will find much to enjoy here.