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The Psychic Paramount 

Origins and Primitives Vol. 1 and 2 (No Quarter)

Few people have heard Gamelan Into the Mink Supernatural (latest SoundScan figures show it went rust), the Psychic Paramount's 2005 debut full-length, but it's one of this decade's greatest albums, a cyclone in an era of faint breezes. Gamelan is the rare rock opus of recent years that awes with natural-disaster impact through its masterly dynamics and chops.

The handiwork of ex-Laddio Bolocko members Drew St. Ivany (guitar) and Ben Armstrong (bass), Origins and Primitives Vol. 1 and 2 isn't Gamelan's follow-up, but rather an archival glimpse into the Psychic Paramount's compositional approach: Beneath the group's overt massive attack there exists an inventive, minimalist foundation. The 14 tracks here are preliminary sketches, interesting explorations of texture and demonstrations of the power of intelligently wrought repetition. Vol. 1 ranges from Spiritualized-esque space-rock bliss to metallic trance rock (imagine several behemoths playing Hawkwind's "Brainstorm") to ominous, This Heat-style drones.

Vol. 2 reveals Psychic Paramount's affinities with minimalist composers like Terry Riley as well as with raga-inclined folk guitarists such as Sandy Bull. While Origins lacks the crushing density of Gamelan, the disc nevertheless possesses a bracing intensity. You may want to wear a hazmat suit to this show. — Dave Segal


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