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
I discovered The Legendary Pink Dots through The Residents. An obscure Youtube artist going under the moniker of therezident (now renamed Virgil Pink) had been producing his own videos for Residents songs. Sometimes these videos would be cobbled together from cheap DV footage and google image search results, as in ‘Life Would Be Wonderful‘ and other times, in the case of ‘Dreaming of an Anthill‘, they would display remarkably accomplished sand animation reminiscent of German Expressionism and the inky grotesqueries of comic book artist Charles Burns. This slapdash approach that sometimes yielded moments of astonishing beauty seemed like a perfect fit for The Residents and I was thrilled by therezident’s ability to forge intuitive connections between found footage and the band’s music in the most seemingly unlikely of places. Having watched a bulk of videos based upon music by The Residents, I decided to investigate artists also represented on the channel. The Third Eye Foundation and Current 93 cropped up, but so did The Legendary Pink Dots and their lead singer named Edward Ka-Spel, both unknown to me. I was intrigued by the band’s inscrutable and, I felt, irritatingly portentous name. How could something as abstract as pink dots be legendary – and, moreover, wasn’t the name itself somewhat eye-rollingly self-promoting? I listened to a track. I believe it was ‘Of All The Girls‘. The video was underwhelming, but I found the music compelling. It was droning but propulsive and slightly nauseating; more threatening than The Residents. While the Residents at their best walk a indeterminate path between earnestness and sincerity, balancing unsettling melodies with daffy vocal deliveries, or vice versa, I sensed little of that playfulness in ‘Of All The Girls’. There were few concessions being made to the listener. One could easily have imagined that the composer (this Edward Ka-Spel) had produced the track for his own private enjoyment. I did not feel immediately invited into the world of The Legendary Pink Dots, but insidiously (because it was some weeks before I returned to their music) the music wormed its way into my brain until I felt all the more stubborn to discover more. Continue reading
I suppose, as it goes, “discovering on a Seth MacFarlane cartoon” isn’t the most auspicious of band introductions… but if it makes any difference, it was American Dad, the best of them (and, like, at least it wasn’t The Cleveland Show). But the great thing about music is that it doesn’t really matter how you find out about it, but that you find out. And besides, I really like American Dad, so there. Continue reading
So one of my favorite bands from my misspent youth in the 1970s-80s decided to remaster every album they’ve ever done, and release them in a huge box set called Discovery. This is every Pink Floyd album from 1967 to 1994, sounding absolutely better than they ever have; unlike a lot of CD remasters, these aren’t just louder versions of the old albums. They have all the sonic richness you’d expect from one of the first bands to treat the recording studio as a science lab (with no small amount of help from famous producers of the era like Alan Parsons and Bob Ezrin). There’s probably nothing I can say about the band that you don’t already know if you’re of a certain age, like me, but I’ll include a couple thumbnail sketches for the younger folks as well.
Image via Wikipedia
- What is wrong with Indian food in LA? Seriously — it’s practically a trope in sitcoms and whatnot that if someone goes to eat Indian, they’re going to have a massive amount of gastro-intestinal distress. Mainly, lots of diarrhea. This is kind of odd, as I’ve had a fair amount of Indian food in my life and, well, haven’t ever really had any problems. Mainly because if I did, I’d probably stop eating Indian food. That said, I’ve never had it in LA (though I did have Japanese-style curry in LA, which was AWESOME, by the way) — but I’ve had it in Seattle and New York at the very least. So, yeah — what do they put in there in LA to give so many sitcom writers problems, huh?
Cover of Drama
Yes is one of the big, fat, dumb, lumbering dinosaurs of Progressive Rock. They’re still around, still doing long, drawn out prog-rock numbers with classical influences, sci-fi/fantasy lyrics, and Roger Dean is still painting their album covers, it would seem. If you don’t know them for their stuff like “Close to the Edge”, “I’ve Seen All Good People”, or “Roundabout”, chances are you know them for their big hit during a brief period of New Wave infatuation: “Owner of a Lonely Heart”. The above is a bit more slag-offish than I mean, here. I’m a Yes fan. I’m not hugely into Yes, I wouldn’t bother to see them live, but they’ve put together some classic records. Either way, if you know anything about Classic Rock or Progressive Rock, you know about Yes… so how can they have a forgotten album?!