Psychic Stress Soundtracks by Joe Colley

Joe Colley | Psychic Stress Soundtracks
Misanthropic Agenda (LP/DL)

Joe Colley is a superlative composer, yet few refer to his output often enough. One of his “faults” is the use of untrendy instrumentation to delineate the themes of interest: essentially, “activate a consciousness set apart from a rational understanding in a different way from visual or verbal means” as recited by the press release. It’s a research field in which overconfident individuals inevitably fail, at the same time making themselves pitiable via definitions of “truths” of scientifically divine, yet hopelessly anthropocentric descent. Colley couldn’t care less about that sort of clueless debris but, sure as death, he can masterfully handle the outermost frequencies of a given spectrum for maximum impact on the subconscious.

Posing as a mysterious person in front of a laptop to concoct modish sonorities is one thing; generating vibrations of problematic aliveness in radical fashion is another. Especially when the sources of oscillation come from the amplification of unremarkable pieces of junk, malfunctioning circuits, ordinary occurrences. Colley transforms what the average ear abhors into unconventional psychogenic diversification, which – unfortunately – is not for everybody. Certainly not for someone convinced by their own bigot brains that harmony is found only within the false smiles of an equally fraudulent conformity.

The vinyl reprint of Psychic Stress Soundtracks follows its first CD edition – on Antifrost – almost 14 years later. The music has not lost an ounce of significance, propulsive organization, ability to probe our perceptive anatomy. Colley shows extraordinary skills in positioning electroacoustic events in the compositional diagram, reaching apexes rarely heard in analogous realms. A major plus is the man’s expertise in alternating threatening stasis of electrical origin with more irregular, “biologically impure” emissions. The whole is (satisfactorily) demanding in terms of shifting dynamics, notwithstanding the recurrence of sinisterly quiet droning passages.

Certain sequences may nearly appear as documentary, in a cinematographic sense. However, the unquestionable effect on the subject’s inbuilt functionalities is the greatest asset of this album, perhaps the artist’s finest hour together with the legendary Disasters Of Self. That Colley has worked in several areas of human affliction should not surprise; seemingly, he turned what was absorbed from those experiences into refined matter for aural and mental upgrading. Contrasts between extremes producing authentic evolution.

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