Review: Kieran Daly + Robbie S. Taylor - "OST"

Kieran Daly + Robbie S. Taylor - OST
(2016 Psalmus Diuersae)

Cinema magic. The straight-to-VHS kind. 

Cybertwee composers Kieran Daly and Robbie S. Taylor chef up revelatory ambience for Reagan-era adventure on their debut collaborative effort, OST, aiming their aural flashlight at the 10-speed mountain bike that weaves through neighborhood lawns, synchronized swatch watches, and the occasional extraterrestrial encounter. Hollow bleats of synth brass and a pliant bassline's bounce urge the cast into action, deconstructing The Yellowjackets' RnB-tinged jazz fusion into a spillage of retro-chic playthings scattered on James Ferraro's studio floor. 

On OST's A-side, Daly stacks stabs of MIDI programming like blocks in a wriggling Jenga tower. Curdled keyboard drones flirt at rhythm, stepping on the toes of slap bass licks in their stream-of-conscious dance. "Boss' Brake Solo" and "Extra Movable Fuj World" are feeble scaffolds, their recurring gusts of clammy dissonance filling wide-open vacancies: each structure's decrepit construction is made apparent as they buckle in the breeze. Hold on for dear life - don't let the minimalist motifs lull you into comfort.

Taking his turn on the B-Side, Taylor pumps OST's gas pedal, corralling his bite-sized ideas into nuggets of expressionism. Each composition on the latter half of the record is marked by its sense of urgency: alternating keyboard notes speedwalk across the shopping mall floor in their ergonomic trainers on "Sheets of Sand", avian flute-trills goading the listener into the dissonant hustle of "Cutscene: Boonies", a climactic chase scene illustrated by frenetically-mashed harpsichord and melodramatic swells of Earthbound-esque chiptune. 

Released exclusively through Psalmus Diuersae's bare-bones website, Daly and Taylor's improvised horseplay is perfectly tailored to its medium of distribution. It is content to be a curious ripple in a massive body of data; a cryptic .rar file to be unzipped, consumed, shelved in your iTunes library, and re-discovered months later only to re-affirm its strangeness. While I still greatly enjoy collecting odd 7" records salvaged from bargain bins, there's an equally alluring sense of wonder that lies dormant in the stray .mp3 file. Maybe sometime in the near future, in reaction to the ubiquity of streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music, the forsaken Blogspot pages of the late 00's peddling their rips of screamo demo tapes and forum threads devoted to trading Animal Collective bootlegs will prove just as hip as making the drive to your local record store. Perhaps you've stumbled upon this review years from its publication date only to browse Psalmus' virtual vinyl crate, admiring its dreamy eggshell backdrop as you grab a .pdf, an .mp4, and few .zip files for your future perusal.

Long live the download.

Snag OST here: http://psalm.us/ost.html