Edward Ka-Spel‘s brilliance with The Legendary Pink Dots is to introduce us to isolated characters and then immerse us in their world-view through expansive and mysterious soundscapes. He begins with the most restricted, infinitesimal point of consciousness and then slowly expands it outward towards a state of ‘cosmic consciousness’ (to use the phrase of 1960s psychonauts). Musically, he often follows this template of expansion, with simple melody lines repeating and layering in increased complexity of texture. Much of the LPD’s music is an undertaking to help the listener (and perhaps composer) escape his/her own head. Lyrical phrases, musical motifs, album titles and themes recur across decades, but tonal shifts between albums are slow and subtle. Hopefully, The Legendary Dots Project, like the Residents and Sparks projects before, will provide the keen reader and listener with a giddy entry-point into the Legendary Pink Dots’ musical world. Fulfil the prophecy! Continue reading
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In the list of things I never thought we’d see, it was a complete SMiLE, the legendary lost Beach Boys record. In 2004 that came; Brian Wilson had re-recorded it, working with co-writer Van Dyke Parks on finishing the album. That proved to the world that SMiLE was indeed a masterpiece, but it just reworded the list slightly: A complete SMiLE by the original Beach Boys, circa 1966. The new version was great — but a little too clean. It sounded less like the original Beach Boys and the world’s slickest and most talented Beach Boys cover band. At the time, I thought to myself that if we can’t have the original tapes, it would have been better to have a band of Wilson devotees like the Apples in stereo do the record — the same music (“Heroes and Villains” was the first song the Apples even learned how to play as a band), but with a less-reverent attempt to recreate the original sound.
Brian Wilson: Songwriter 1962-1969 might be the best straight-to-dvd music documentary I’ve seen. Of course, that might not be the biggest compliment, as I’ve only watched a few and these things tend to be relatively shoddy productions. However, the production quality of this one is relatively high, and for fans of Wilson and/or The Beach Boys it’s well worth watching. Continue reading