erasing clouds

3 Music Reviews

by anna battista

Ant, Sad To See It’s Morning (Fortune and Glory)

Trees, rain, smiling, kissing, holding hands, happiness and similar sweetish, partially twee things might not be among the fave stuff of many of us, but Antony Harding, AKA Ant, seems to love them. Ex-member of Hefner, Harding released in the past a bunch of singles on obscure record labels scattered all over the world, from Spain to Sweden. His fans out there will be happy to know that he has now collected all his rare singles, b-sides and compilation tracks on an album, Sad To See It’s Morning. The album opens with the sugary “Where Happiness Begins”, featuring the lyrics “I place a kiss upon your lips, and I won’t let it dry…” more songs about being love, being hopelessly in love (“The Queue To Your Heart”, “That Shining Smile”) and (consequently) splitting up, follow, most of them acoustic and rendered in Harding’s soothing voice. Sad To See It’s Morning also features a remix of “I Always Hurt The One I Love” by John Morrison (of Hefner fame) and a live recording of “You’ve Lost Your Appeal”. The only problem with Sad To See It’s Morning is that its good intuitions are obliterated by the (often saccharine) lyrics. Dedicated to all the fans of cutesy imagery and monothematic albums about love/love/love.

Panda Bear, Young Prayer (Paw Tracks)

Young Prayer is the result of a solo project by Panda Bear (Noah Lennox - better known for being part of Brooklyn-based Animal Collective). The record was inspired by the death of his father and is a sort of introspective personal journey. In this short album (under 30 minutes), all the tracks (mostly sung in unintelligible lyrics) are untitled and can’t possibly be pigeonholed. Young Prayer is indeed basically built by a stripped-naked voice, piano and guitar, in an attempt at being experimentally folksy and acoustic. The album was recorded in Panda Bear's childhood home by Animal Collective member Deakin and produced by the Animal Collective brothers known as Come Winter. Perhaps this album is a stroke of genius, but many will just see in it dirge-like laments rather than songs. To understand Young Prayer better, you might have to listen again and again to it, then you might finally be able to catch all its Gregorian chant connections and liturgical music inspirations (Track 7), the flamenco guitar-like nuances (Track 6) and its madness created by acoustic clapping, banging and singing (Track 5). Listening in depth to Young Prayer definitely induces a desperate melancholy that will even make you cry liberating tears.

Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti 2, The Doldrums (Paw Tracks)

The Doldrums by Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti was originally a handmade CD-R release and it is now available on a proper CD, thanks to the Animal Collective who discovered it during their west coast tours and made of it one of their fave records. The album, which is divided in two parts, “The Doldrums” and “Vital Pink” (the first part containing nine tracks, the second 6 tracks – all of them recorded between 1999 and 2003), was recorded at home with guitar, bass, keyboard, and 8-track. The songs are recorded in ultra lo-fi style, most of them are warped mish-mashes of samples, distorted voices and noises, echoing and reverberating all over the soundscape created by Ariel Pink. Though there are interesting tracks, such as the opening “Good Kids Make Bad Grown Ups”, the catchy melody of “Haunted Graffiti” and the experimental “Young Pilot Astray”, the fact that the voices and sounds on most of the album are muffled and seem to come out of an old radio can irritate after a while, in the same way as the Bee Gees falsetto on “Among Dreams” can be boring and quite nerve grinding. Honourable mention goes to “The Ballad of Bobby Pink” which would have been a great track if only had been edited to 5 minutes (it’s almost 11 minutes long…). You wondering if Ariel Pink is a genius or is just crazy and taking the piss? Well, listen and judge by yourselves.

Issue 28, November 2004

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