May 9th, 2005

operesque

Walk through Pink

You're in Tokyo, travelling on the Tokyu-Denenntoshi Line. Coldplay is not playing on your iPod. You're a more interesting person than that. You get off at Sangen-chaya Station, look around for Seiyu department store then locate the Hinomi Drugstore. This is how places are defined in Tokyo. If the signs change, if the businesses change, you're lost. At the drugstore turn right. Take the Taishido Chuo Shopping Street. On the right side near convenience store Family Mart you'll find Grapefruit Moon, and in there Ariel Pink, Rusty Santos and Ami Yoshida are making excellent noises this May 22nd. Ami makes sound only with her mouth and voice (when Sachiko M's sine waves are absent). Rusty is my sorta friend, produced Animal Collective, has a lovely song called Karasu Crow and dates a United Bamboo girl. And Ariel Pink is America's only true wonder.

"Ariel Rosenberg is sitting on the floor of his tiny, one-bedroom LA apartment," writes Adam Gnade on Exploding Plastic. "It's late-afternoon on a Sunday, and the sun is coming through the plastic blinds in lazy, filtering rays with dust motes floating in the diffused light. The four-track is plugged in on the floor in front of him. (He's sitting cross-legged, barefoot in jeans with a sleeveless gray shirt that reads 'Fuck the Whales, Save Yourself') Into the four-track, he's plugged a set of Walkman headphones jury-rigged as a mic, and he is singing his goddamn heart out. But he can't sing. At all. He's warbling, howling like a beagle, Becking out fake R&B falsettos, glubbing off-key and too slow, strumming a beat-up child-size guitar while dustbunnies and RapSnacks wrappers drift slow and lazy across the hardwoods, and the neighbors below him BANG their broom into the ceiling, shouting, 'Callate, pinche guero!' BANG! 'Tu music es tan horrible!' BANG! BANG! BANG! 'Callate! No mas!' They've had it up to here because he's been doing it every day since they moved in. Six fucking months now. Noise. Pure retardo noise.

"...Worn Copy has the feel of a tape recorded off a tape recorded off a tape that somewhere, years before, had been the B-52s' first record or maybe a Jane Fonda workout tape or maybe it was dubbed off an 8mm film of somebody's parents having sex in 1977. But it doesn't matter. Because like a game of Telephone, it's lost its original meaning and turned into something all its own. It's morphed into a new species, barely connected to its ancestors, and us scientists are losing our shit trying to figure it out. Which is a good sign. Confusion is always the first reaction to something completely new. And that's just what Ariel's done, weirded and lo-fi'd himself into creating a fresh sound, a new beast/beat, some kind of unnatural, free jazz beatbox noise folk."

You're walking in a nebulous place that resembles a library. You slip from page to page. Some of the pages have sounds attached. Suddenly you see a branch of Barnes and Noble. You go in, slip on a pair of headphones, and listen to Ariel Pink's bedroom recordings from 2002 and 2003, re-issued this month, widely reviewed and videoed, not to mention heartily recommended by Momus on his blog Click Opera as an alternative to deeply boring music.