Monday, October 27, 2008

Ariel Pink

From what I can gather, Ariel Pink doesn't give a fuck. He doesn't care how you classify his music, as long as it doesn’t include the words low fi. He certainly doesn't care what the taste makers at Pitchfork have to say. He doesn’t even care if you like his live show.

"People boo me everywhere...They don't even hide their contempt. I'm used to it now...Hey, I'm giving audiences the real thing...For better or worse, I'm out there, and those are the circumstances. People don't like it when it seems like you don't know what's happening, or I'm getting bummed out with certain aspects and I can't hide it. I think people feel that pain and just think it's bad."
[LA Weekly]

But then again, most visionaries are more interested in achieving their vision than what people have to say about it.

No, Ariel Pink (real name Ariel Marcus Rosenberg) doesn’t care about any of those things, he just likes to make music at home with his eight track, a guitar, a cheap keyboard and a few other odds and ends. ‘What kind of songs?’ you ask. Well, pop songs to use the term in it’s loosest sense. Schizophrenic, AM radio pop with quirky melodies that belie an innate sense of song craft. Pink hails from the greater Los Angeles area and the influence shows- but his warped take on pop is much more the LA of Philip K. Dick’s A Scanner Darkly than the glitzy Hollywood where dreams are made. His music, is that of the ADHD generation- a constant barrage of ideas, many only partially formed. Moments of brilliance materializing and decaying into a syrupy aural deluge.

Since beginning at the age of ten, Pink has been prolific in his sonic experiments. His obsessive dedication to recording coupled with his wealth of ideas, and a DIY approach probably made this inevitable.

Starting with keyboard or guitar or bass, whatever given instrument he conceived the original idea for- Pink then uses his mouth or sometimes even his armpits, to lay the rhythm track. He then adds layers of melodies- keyboard, guitar, and finally vocals. Interestingly enough, often times when mistakes are made as invariably happens, Pink rolls with them adjusting the course of his overdubs to follow this new trajectory of the evolving creation. “These Pink calls “chance sequences”

Because the recordings are done on the cheap by Pink, who obviously lacks any engineering background, the noise floor is usually quite high. This would be an engineer’s nightmare, I can’t imagine being able make enough sense of the tracks to put together a mix. Yet, Pink somehow makes it work, probably because he knows the result he’s after. The warble and hiss of the tape take a minute or two to digest, but actually end up assimilating as a textural layer of the sonic palette.

Many will most likely dismiss this music as amateurish and poorly produced. But I think the fact that Brooklyn's Animal Collective saw fit to sign Pink and release his The Doldrums, the first non- Collective release on their label Paw Tracks label speaks volumes.

Ariel Pink Releases that I recommend:
-The Doldrums

-Fast Forward

-Worn Copy

-House Arrest
(of course there are a metric fuckload more- as Pink’s recorded over 500 songs!)

Listen to / purchase Ariel Pink songs

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