To the large majority of the well-to-do population, thrash and grindcore is not only threatening, its downright scary. The high-volume intensity and shunning of all things melodic is one source of anxiety, the circle pits and throaty vocals being another. In my own high-school experience, it was the unrelenting bass under the melody of quick succession that was simply too much. It wasn’t music that kept me afloat: it submerged me, drowned me.
Pivot’s O Soundtrack My Heart, while by no means grind or thrash, delivers its own brand of fear in music, a Fear of Music. The electronic trio does this not by immediately flooding listeners with a deluge of sound, but instead allows their songs to creep on the audience, build their listeners up to an intensity they couldn’t have reached solely on their own. By combining the intricate and sometimes baroque layering of electronica with dense and heavy power-tool instruments of garage rock, they manage to create an especially pressured environment. By the end of a song, any large number of themes and melodies are involved and enveloped and involuted over and under the threshold, pressing and tapping and throbbing and strobing, and only in the midst of it do you realize.
The atmosphere is well matched with that of a dungeon; close quarters, cramped time, and always on the lookout. The songs on O Soundtrack are always changing melody, forever leading down another darkened corridor, but the base rhythm stays the same, persistent ambient noises echoing far and long, and the ever-present synthesizer as a constant reminder of how lost in this labyrinth you really are. The song “O Soundtrack My Heart” is the best example of this, first cutting down hollow chambers, progressing through a series hallways and melodies until things start to sound familiar. You recognize these passageways, remember this progression, can hear your footsteps from minutes long past. Running now through the aisles and alcoves you’ve been through once before, the melodies mix quickly, a repetition of patterns in an uproar, and the pressure escalates as you realize your lost. Breaths draw in quick succession; you’re submerged, drowning.
With O Soundtrack, Pivot manages to utilize the pressure and intensity of electronica to make music that is all engrossing, engulfing the listener with an earth-shattering power rarely seen in electronic music.
Turzi – A
Octopus Project – Hello, Avalanche
Atlas Sound – Let the Blind Lead Those Who Can See But Cannot Feel