Brandon Auger - OS:IS
Released: August 25
The first release of the year from both Brandon Auger and Tool Use Imprint, OS:IS feels like a journey through industrialized society after it crumbled due to unknown circumstances. As I listen, I can close my eyes and see survivors trying to use the broken and leftover pieces in a resigned kind of frustration. Throughout the runtime of the album, we are exposed to a multitude of different textures that set up very particular scenes of proto-industrial worlds. But what I love about the album is how minute and focused these component sounds are. There is nothing that is every overwhelming here and every track has a direct quality to it the puts the listener right where the process, sometimes even putting the tools and the scraps being worked with right into our very own hands.
The album opens up with "Deadline," a track that is defined by a continually buzzing ambiance that persists as it is interrupted periodically with the sound of a hammer trying to flatten out metal. In this case we become a static observer, standing in a single part of the room as we watch one or two others trying to create something, though we aren't clear on what. While the first track is more or less a quiet affair, the album moves on to tracks such as "Heroism," which takes into a room of what sounds akin to barely functional power tools. Drills in desperate need of more energy that they can't obtain alongside the sound of metal softly scraping against other metal pieces define the track in its entirety. The album finishes us off with "Oxygen," with a low electrical hum processed in odd ways to create thick and full overtones that fill the spectrum almost fully as the electrical hum occasionally deviates from its droning sound to briefly falter.
The album as a whole is a powerful statement regarding the processes we take for granted in our modern world. It is something we commonly don't think about but would suddenly uproot our entire lives if it were to fall apart. Or, at least that is the statement that came to my mind as I listened. Either way, highly recommended.