There are noise albums that attempt to make the biggest racket out of the most number of accessories possible and then there are those that rely on a sparse economy, choosing to pull gnarled sounds out of the smallest of setups. Tim Olive’s The Specialist is in the latter camp. Performed in real time, the sounds are generated by a home-made primitive table-top guitar—a couple of guitar and bass strings strung between two magnetic pickups and attached to a piece of wood. Olive then applies metal objects to the pickups to generate what we hear. He adds amplification, but no effects, so any distortion is inherent to the collision of objects he brings together.
Over the course of the thirteen tracks, Olive patiently explores the sonic possibilities of his set up. He moves from quiet vibrations to cacophonous clangs of metal on metal. His approach reveals the details of the sound without the emotional grandstanding that often accompanies such explorations by some of his noisier peers. The result is an organic collection of sounds, exploratory and revelatory in its subtle accumulation of detail.