Ariel Pink – Early Live Recordings – 2xCD / Digital
2xCD - €13.00
16bit Digital - €9.00
Haunted Graffiti wasn’t the first time a bedroom-cloistered Ariel Pink revolutionized his own sound and persona by taking to the stage with a band. The creator of last year’s re-issued Thrash & Burn – a psycho-delic sketchbook of vibes so sequestered as to be damn near claustrophobic in their intimacy – concurrently kept more than a few bands going in the late 90’s - early 00’s. Two of those projects our dear listener will find compiled here: “Gorilla” and “Appleasians”.
This two-disc archival restoration was salvaged from the same scratchpile of crumbling CDr's and 8-track cassettes as Thrash & Burn. Given a thorough mastering treatment, this collection makes a fitting conceptual counterpart to Thrash & Burn, while shedding some much-needed light on the origins of Pink's mystifying, often volatile stage persona.
More than just an academic study, "Early Live Recordings" holds gems like the hooky “Tractor Man” the chugging “Inside Looking Out” or a stunningly efficient cover of The Shaggs' "He's Still My Cutie" – which could easily be contenders for some of Pink's most effective pop moments.
What’s more fascinating than the myriad web of mutated punk, garage, noise and pop references quoted throughout this compilation's music, lyrics and track titles, is how the breadth and scope of Pink’s nods to the brutalist phalanx of his heroes seems to suggest that the rawness of these early tracks comes not from Pink’s musical nascence, but rather, may indicate an altogether more calculated affair.
And for all its dingy, campy chaos, "Early Live Recordings" bubbles with a fidgety, juvenile undercurrent – take for example the pre-adolescent blasé of “Farewell Goodbye”, or the "By the Powers of Grayskull" in which a puerile-seeming He-Man cartoon refrain looms over a Nietzschean diss track.
Which isn’t to say that Ariel was a kid when he made these recordings. He seems to be embracing the role of a faux naif in order to map out the prodigality of his later, signature recordings. (Those recordings, "The Doldrums", "House Arrest" and "Worn Copy", followed by just a few years, if not months.) These recordings are not just sonic experiments gone mad, but studies for an attitude, preparations of a vocabulary of acting and acting out that would become key components of Pink’s infamous on- and off-stage personae.