Yes, imagine an alternative universe in which alternative pop was still a possibility. Imagine, that is, a world in which there was no Coldplay, Athlete, Elbow and other priests of anthemic pathos...
That's where Ariel Pink comes from. I went to the show at Matt's behest having heard nothing, armed only with Simon's description of the band as 'uncanny, oneiric' and what people had said on this thread. Having a bill of three acts, all of whom belonged to this warped genre (and all of whom, as Matt said, played in Ariel Pink's band) was a stroke of genius, since it made you feel that this Lynchesque sound - peculiar, pre-set driven, Seeds-like psych-punk with all edges subtracted by a mix that wasn't so much muddy as deliberately muddied - was nothing out of the of the ordinary. (The garage punk thing is one thing that connects AP with the early Cabs, actually, to follow on from Matt's observation). But it is precisely this ease with strangeness that makes AP so UNeasy, uncanny (and why those more determined to sell themselves as 'weird' usually fail to do so).
The miasmatic mix made it seem like there was a wall of sound between you and the act, so that it was exactly as if they were trying to copy that 'fuzzy cassette sound' Soupstain talks about upthread. Their pursuit of that C90 fuzz and fug - like they were trying, live, to simulate a poor quality recording of themselves playing live - was what produces both the oneiric and the sublime qualities of their sound. It is not make do and mend lo-fi so much as ANTI-FI, a deliberate fogging of the digitally hyper-clean, with the result that what you are hearing is as much doubt and speculation as anything else. The force of the volume gave the sound a desubstantialised physicality, like Loveless-era MBV playing Suicide cover-versions. As with Loveless, you feel that as you are hearing the songs you are forgetting them AND that what you are hearing is a remembered dream.
Ariel looked like a twelve-year old Mickey Rourke doing an Alan Vega impression, and the sheer amount of delay on his vocals reinforced the overall sense of fracture and dislocation. Each new phrase only added to the wreathes and wraiths of echo that were already shrouding the mix, so that the movements of his mouth bore little relation to the sounds that we were hearing - like he was an actor in a badly dubbed film.
Last edited by k-punk; 14-06-2005 at 11:58 AM.
drowned in sound
They sounded like thirty bands at the bottom of a swimming pool, playing for the last thirty seconds of their life at the behest of an evil lifeguard, who may or may not be Momus.
But who was the guy on before him (who also played keyboards in the band)? Gary War? In a way I preferred this - all the purely psychotic bits of Ariel Pink, plus basic pre-set keyboard, without the slightly comforting fuzz-out distancing-effects of all those guitars and sonic whirls.
Loved the way they kept being surprised at having to play encores cos everyone was cheering so much.
Yeah, a world in which bands like that were the 'pop alternative' would be brilliant!
I sort of likened it to the idea that you are listening to a really good melodic tune on an AM radio, but can never quite get tuned in - continually losing elements, sometimes losing the whole current of the track.
It has kind of reminded my just now that if they are going to do a first proper studio album, someone like Mark Linkous would be perfect to help gain that sound - he too has that ability to isolate the sound from listeners.
I missed this by a day. I turned up on Sunday night with friends to claim my reserved 4 tickets only to find it was David Grubbs that night and Ariel Pink on Monday. We elected for the pub instead and as only I was available to go on Monday night, I um’ed and arh’d and declined the opportunity to go to what sounds like the gig of the year. I haven’t done anything this stupid since I turned up for a job interview a week early.
Yeah, at times the way the music came out seemed completely disconnected from what the musicians were actually doing. Something else mentioned by Appleblim and K-Punk that I'd forgotten was the sheer volume of the gig - it seemed much louder than usual at the Cube - which made the spectacle even more disorienting.
Originally Posted by k-punk
This is why I'm a little sceptical about listening to AP's music outside of the gig situation. I listened to a couple of recorded tunes via the Paw Tracks website last night and I was a bit underwhelmed, partly because of the relative clarity of the vocals (the "effects" were limited to the inherent distortion of the recording technique) and partly because of the lack of volume (there's only so much you can achieve with home stereo speakers).
Perhaps sceptical is the wrong word... it might be better to think of AP live and AP on record as two distinct things, since what is missing from the recordings (ie. volume, extreme delay/FX, the onstage behaviour of Ariel Pink himself) is really the essence of the live show. It seemed to me that the musicians - or at least AP - were using the volume and FX to cede a certain amount of control over the way the songs sounded, eg. you can't tell how your vocals are going to turn out with any precision if you feed them through that level of delay. Perhaps the sleep mask was part of this too - as Appleblim said, he had to keep having to lift them so that he could see where his wanderings had taken him.
who was on the bill in london?
cambridge tomorrow = ariel pink + UM + john maus and gary war set
very much looking forward to seeing UM again actually.
the keyboardists solo stuff was absolutely fantastic, like what i, as a nineteen year old, imagine the human league or new order would feel like at their peak at a huge stadium gig, yet i was in a mucky back room of a pub in cambrigde.
ariel pink was fantastic, absolutely gorgeous and mesmeric. his awkward movement mixed with a seeming inability to look the audience in the eye... he sang to a wall for most of his set pacing round and round. in a way they reminded me of the fall as mark e. smith rarely looks his crowd in the eye.
i didnt recognise any of the songs they played. didnt stop it being one of my favourite gigs this year
Yes. For the record, both John Maus and Gary War were great, maybe not as special (for me at least) but brilliant. I've googled them and they've no available CDs or wotnot (though they both had cd-rs on sale at the gig).
Originally Posted by infinite thought
What was weird (and fantastic) was imagining a whole micro-scene of maniac american lo-fi synth-obsessed weirdos on a thomas leer/early cabs/early human league/chrome/robert rental trip
count me out
i was a fan of pink for the longest time until i saw his first new york performance at tonic last year...the spotty stage presence has been mentioned, but his arrogance hasn't...he spent the night taking jabs at r. stevie moore (at one point asking him to quit acting weird, which was followed by an awkward 5 second silence) and complaining about the volume being too low (which was actually deafening)...i interviewed him for a zine which i'm putting together hopefully by this summer. one particular comment mad me cringe: "what do we need tyrannosaurus rex for when we have devendra banhart?" he came across as all art student attitude...he was particularly offended when i asked him if he would continue reissuing and touring older material rather than recording new songs. apparently, he was more interested in "cashing in" on his old work, as he put it, than recording any new material any time soon.
ariel pink has his moments but he definitely doesn't have the naivete or modesty you'd expect when it comes to the diy pop canon (tronics, tvps, r stevie, cannanes, desperate bicycles, scritti pollitti, etc)...
best diy pop of the moment: cause co-motion
hmm theres a few artists i think are twats, but its never yet stopped me from enjoying their work. admittedly it can be off-putting for a while.
Originally Posted by uncannydan
i saw the TVPS perform a micro-gig in Glasgow in the early nineties in what appeared to be a kind of office-suite. it was quite cool! nevber really been inspired to check them out in any depth. while i've never been a fan of the homosexuals (massively over-rated plain-jane proto-2000-indie rock with slightly scuffed-edges) the George Hrassment record is perfect diy pop.
Originally Posted by uncannydan
r.stevie moore, from what i've heard, is a crock of shite. (gonna start an r.stevie moore thread now)
eh! well there's one worth checking out then! are you their manager
Originally Posted by uncannydan
That's really funny - I hope he meant it. The obnoxious personality looks to me like part of the act, another barrier between the audience and the tunes.
Originally Posted by uncannydan
If anyone's interested in hearing AP's recent studio recordings (mentioned by Appleblim upthread) it looks like they are going to be released on this label in September. In the meantime, I can heartily recommend the Ginnungagap CD they're flogging now. It's acoustic droney, raga-ish stuff from a Sunn0)) man and his pals.
i'm very interested to hear this aerial pink you young persons are discussing.
Originally Posted by soupstain
i saw ginnugagap play live in hackney last year, they were very quiet and utterly miserable, they worse masks same as sunn. i prefered charles hayward's krautrocky band that were playing the same bill, that guy is still a boss drummer.
given the very impressive consensus behind ariel pink, i really must ask -- When do they play New York?
ariel pink's production values on haunted graffitti remind me of matt johnson's burning blue soul. kind of claustrophilic indoor immensity.
anyone seen Ariel Pinks art ?
its of the 14 year old/ lad back of jotter school.
bet he's read a few novels with maps in the front pages.