Album Review

Pataphor – Probably Not (MRSA, 2012)


PataphorPublic Transit (MRSA)

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A Boston newcomer, by way of Milwaukee, Pataphor (aka Shannon Smith) has made some awesomely inaccessible noise on Probably Not. 3 tracks each around 10 minutes or so, the middle one a slight respite from its two rattling bookends. It starts with an interrupting “Special News Bulletin” morse code thing, attention grabbing tension, building/crumbling into a public school fire alarm, standing right in front of it, no chance of walking by and unplugging your ears, repeated indefinitely, which is definitely a theme here. Nothing is too dynamic, she finds a group of tones and just works & tweaks until you’re left with an erupted eardrum. The second track starts by dropping all the harshness and upping the creep factor, the sounds of a haunted swamp, gurgling on its own, ghastly moans drifting through the fog, peepers & cicadas making a tinny racket, but not even the swamps are safe because by the end of this it builds into another static shriek of noise. The final track is for the most masochistic. Solid square waves of sustained tinnitus, it’s amazing what she can do with just a few sounds, terribly piercing, an impenetrable sheet of high wire feedback, with just enough alterations along the way to make it fucking incredible and not making you want to jump through a 10th story window. This is some creatively despicable noise, and fuckin killer. It’s the first release on her own MRSA label, and you can pay whatever you want for a digital copy.