Perth’s Original Past Life (OPL) defines itself as an “atmospheric noise trio.” It is a suitable description, albeit open to misinterpretation.
Inference/Interference is not noisy, at least not aggressively so. There is a wide range of sounds employed throughout the album’s 44 minutes, all of them more than palatable. This is an exceedingly likeable album.
“The recording session that produced Inference/Interference began as an exercise in improvisation, both semi-structured and completely free,” according to the notes that accompany the disc. “OPL then continued sculpting and shaping the resulting material once out of the studio – adding layers, cutting and pasting, and at times completely remixing tracks from the original sessions.”
Despite all that’s going on here, the work never feels cluttered. A big part of this album’s appeal is its tidiness. Their mix of “noise, drone, glitch and rhythm into a form that is free whilst focused,” (again, pulling from the notes) produces a kind of organic ambience.
So the percussion that decorates “Taken by Gauze” sounds like rain on a tin roof. The urgent synth lines on “Chimptime VIII” could be a screeching streetcar.
Michael Caratti (percussion and electronics), Warwick Hall (guitar, synthesizer and electronics) and Adam Trainer (bass, synthesizer and electronics) are emerging as skilled improvisers. The interplay between them is lively, and at the same time nuanced.
Each of these nine new tracks presents a small world of complexity, assembled with skillful elegance. Over and over, you’ll find yourself wondering about the origin of this or that sound and marveling at OPL’s ability to make it all feel connected.