Contrary to the title of a limited-edition 2011 EP, Ariel Pink (née Rosenberg) fully deserves to be considered a modern genius. Having lurked in the Beverly Hills shadows for most of the 00s, setting a slew of homebrewed cassettes loose into the world, the most ‘serious’ – an admittedly loose term here – releases such as The Doldrums and Worn Copy saw wider distribution via Animal Collective‘s Paw Tracks imprint. Seemingly destined for the kind of cult oddball status that his own hero R. Stevie Moore cherishes, Ariel Pink’s profile has swollen considerably; if not total mainstream crossover, he now holds a position as one of alternative music’s contemporary figureheads.
And with good reason, too. Between 2010’s Before Today, 2012’s Mature Themes and pom pom (out this week via 4AD), he has laid down some of the absolute best music of recent years. The world he paints is hard to describe: a unique amalgamation of 70s AM radio pop, arena-sized glam riffs, tape hiss, loping funk basslines, hammer horror atmospherics, blue-eyed soul, power pop dynamics and so much more besides, all shot through with a outré sense of dark humour.
Ariel Pink is adored and reviled in equal measure for his unerring dedication to unpredictability—a world away from the blanched personalities of today’s PR-spoonfed artists—so even after an In Stereo session had been agreed, there was a slight apprehension about how it would pan out on the day. Thankfully, the session is brilliant (naturally) and will be broadcast in full next Wednesday. Peep the photo gallery above, set your iCals over here, and read on for a brief overview into some choice deep cuts and wilfully arcane highlights from the enigmatic artist’s career:
One of the truest early-period highlights, this cut off 2004’s largely super lo-fi The Doldrums feels – as with all the best Ariel material – transported from another era entirely.
“Would you like to feed me a grape?”
Is he sulking? Crying? In the throes of an intense acid trip? Potentially all three.
As anyone who’s seen the artwork for the 24ct classic “Round And Round” can attest, the dude has an eye for artwork. Given he has somewhere in the region of sixty-odd releases to his name, that’s to be expected. The jumbled assortment of cassettes, zine giveaways, split EPs and CD-Rs variously encompass such titles as Ku Klux Glam, Yas DuDette, CEMETERIES / RAILROAD plus the above: Oddities Sodomies, Pt.1.
He is completely content letting the kind of near-perfect pop songs that most artists would die for slide out relatively unnoticed on limited 7″s. Pretty chill.
If you search hard enough, you can find videos of him lying on a deckchair at a French festival, half-heartedly plucking bass guitar to The Durutti Column. Thoroughly bizarre.
And here he is leading an assembled throng of kids through a new one off pom pom about leaving no digital trace, sung from the perspective of a dying father. I mean, c’mon.
No explanation needed.
Don’t miss Ariel Pink making his Boiler Room debut with a special In Stereo session this coming Wed 26th. More info on the broadcast HERE.
– by Gabriel Szatan
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