2005: Orthrelm - OV

At this point in their history, the duo of Mick Barr and Josh Blair were known as a band of technically proficient weirdos who played fast, odd-timed, slightly noisy mini-tracks that challenged the ears of most listeners. To put it in ridiculously broad terms, they were the missing link between Lightning Bolt and Dillinger Escape Plan. OV presented a different approach to their sound.

For those curious, check the tracklist: a single, undivided 45-minute song. Once you press “play,” you are confronted with a pattern that could be found on their past micro-songs, except they get stuck on the first couple of seconds for five, six minutes at a time, only to move to a new lick that itself goes on for roughly the same amount of time.

In theory, OV should be nothing but a novelty; in practice, it’s an exercise in minimalism bordering on the academic (imagine if they had put pretentious essays in the liner notes). Not only does it present a challenge of endurance by being a highly repetitive and potentially monotonous album, it also showcases the way humans listen to sounds. After a few seconds our ears become numb to the sounds, making us notice details we otherwise might not (the attack of the guitar pick, the times Josh doesn’t hit his snare drum with full force) and later on we get the impression we’re listening to other tones that are not present; experiencing full on paracusia, hallucinating auditorily. And then comes the change, something that would otherwise just signal that we’re listening to a continuous piece of music and it’s heading somewhere; when it happens in OV, we feel it like an earthquake, like something catastrophic just shifted a little part of our world. Every change feels like that.

More than an album, it’s an experience concocted by talented artists that any serious listener should live through at least once. Or maybe it’s just pretentious, monotonous crap like Metal Machine Music was a couple of yesterdays ago.


There’s a lot of good music out there, and it’s not all being released this year. With DeLorean, we aim to rediscover overlooked artists and genres, to listen to music historically and contextually, to underscore the fluidity of music. While we will cover reissues here, our focus will be on music that’s not being pushed by a PR firm.

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