Posts Tagged ‘Ariel Rosenberg’

Picture of Ariel Pink

Ariel Rosenberg—a.k.a. the trailblazing lo-fi pop eccentric, Ariel Pink—has released more albums over the past twenty years than many bands do in their entire careers. Some of his most beloved releases, recorded under his Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti moniker, came from the artist’s days on Animal Collective’s now-defunct Paw Tracks label. However, these versions weren’t mixed properly, resulting in a subpar, mono audio transfer.

Now, Pink and the folks at Mexican Summer are making things right with the Ariel Archive Series, an ambitious project of remasters and reissues of the artist’s vast back catalog. The amount of time covered is staggering—starting from Pink’s scrappy debut, 1999’s Underground tape, all the way to a fresh odds-and-ends collection, Oddities Sodomies Vol. 2, which even has new songs from the Dedicated to Bobby Jameson sessions.

This week, the next wave of remasters is here, with some fan-favorite deep cuts—2000’s The Doldrums, 2002’s House Arrest, and 2003’s Worn Copy. There’s even a new experimental film on the way as a part of the series, entitled Dedicated to Boris Karloff, directed by Argentinian artist Salvador Cresta.

With Pink, hunkered down in his Los Angeles home, He talks about the archive series. He reflected on his legacy, praised his collaborators, and scoffed at the notion of giving his younger self advice.

When I originally recorded these things, I built up several generations’ worth of mistakes. There was so much slippage and waste. Remastering the albums was a matter of finding the original mixes I made on those master cassette tapes and using those to remaster to the proper stereo mix. We managed to find a bunch of them. Some of them were lost, but in the case of House Arrest, The Doldrums, and Loverboy, we managed to salvage true stereo mixes. In certain cases we weren’t able to find the originals. In those instances we had to make a mix that was comparable to the original from just straight off the eight-track.

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House Arrest

Our favourite omnivorous media junkie from LA still has a few tricks left up his sleeve like the left-of-center House Arrest. Sure The Doldrums and Worn Copy had some hits and humdingers on them, but House Arrest never lets up.

It’s hit after hit after hit. Sorta like if you listened to your friend’s boom box mix tape from top 40 radio around 1985.

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The Doldrums

After years of recording in relative seclusion in the hills of Los Angeles, Ariel Pink (the first non-Animal Collective member on the Paw Tracks roster) made his official Paw Tracks debut with The Doldrums. Originally a handmade CD-R release a couple years back,

The Doldrums by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Grafitti was discovered by the Animal Collective during one of their west coast tours and became an immediate favourite.

Recording at home with only a guitar, keyboard, and 8-track (the drum sounds are all unbelievably created with his vocals), Ariel Pink blends Lite FM and warped lo-fi pop into something beautiful and confusing, yet highly addictive.

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More than just fetish material for Pink completists, the reissues are most notable because Pink’s equally demonized, glorified, and debated lo-fidelity has been officially tampered with. The original master tapes were made available to credible engineers with good intentions. Unlike the flawed Paw Tracks reissues, the squashed mono mixes of both Loverboy and Underground have been cracked open into a wide stereo field. While a thin layer of tape hiss still hangs above each record like freeway smog, the depths unlocked by the remaster clear space for us to participate in Pink’s original fantasy more than ever. The tumbling AM-radio confections “My Molly” and “Doggone (Shegone)” can be imagined, faintly at least, as actual AM-radio hits, lost soft-rock artifacts recovered on a Saturday morning drive pouring out from a busted rear speaker.

Loverboy is a futurist pop cycle. From the spectral, pulsing organs on “Ghosts” and “Don’t Talk to Strangers” to the shuffling mouth drums on “She’s My Girl,” Pink’s bedroom feels palatial, some hyper-baroque synth chamber hovering between this dimension and the next. It’s all very “time out of joint” as the French philosopher Jacques Derrida described his original concept of “hauntology.”

Loverboy and Underground’s newfound fidelity muddies the bigger picture of Pink’s legacy. Specifically, the idea that his work as Haunted Graffiti was a mere prelude to studio budgets, the dismal sonics of these albums an arbitrary choice, a condition of some broke musician recording in a squat. Instead, the precision remastering bolsters the minority opinion of what Fisher described as “anamorphic sonic objects.” The anamorphic being the idea of sounds working on the periphery of comprehension, combining into something radically different.

Ariel Archives revisits Ariel Pink’s historic run of albums as Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti with a series of definitive reissues and new collections. The first installment begins with Underground, the inaugural album in the series, Odditties Sodomies Vol. 2, a long-awaited second volume of outtakes and non-album tracks, and finally Loverboy, an exemplary disc recorded between October 2001 and July 2002, at which time Ariel also recorded House Arrest.


It was fun to do because I had [recording engineer] Paul Millar with me. He’s an amazing, thorough audiophile. He just really knows the technical stuff and fixates on things I didn’t even pay attention to. He’s very, very well-versed in the material. He came with his own notes and questions and curiosities. His energy really kind of carried the process, to tell you the truth. It was a pleasure to have him in my house.

I don’t know if it’s the right time. It’s the easiest time for me because all the rights reverted back to me after the licensing with Paw Tracks. Those were five- seven-year relationships that came and went. Paw Tracks folded, so those records were unavailable for a long time, unless I went on tour and they allowed me the albums for the tour merchandise.

But really, this is almost a perfect twenty-year anniversary. I’m forty-one now and I was twenty years old when I made a lot of these, roughly. It’s half of my life ago. It’s a nice twenty year retrospective. I probably won’t have to do it again for another twenty years, hopefully.