From Panic Arrest – a label run by vinyl enthusiasts – comes a finely designed album (both musically and graphically) by the previously-unknown-to-this-writer Minus Pilots, entirely made with “electric basses, various looping devices, ageing cassette tape recorders and a collection of analogue, vintage, digital and custom effect pedals”. Let me start with the reformulation, with different intentions, of the same question posed on the label’s info sheet - “Why vinyl?” – to once more point the finger at clicks, pops and every kind of imaginable noise for having ruined an otherwise marvellous listening experience. There is indeed some degree of fascination in spinning LPs and sniffing gatefold covers – I grew up with this sort of erotic rituals - yet this material needs a compact disc like a fish necessitates of water.
Quietly spellbinding cascades of superimposed arpeggios whose harmonic auras tend to a natural stratification accompany us with lulling delicateness, diffusing their old-fashioned perfume across the room (and making my wife fall asleep in the meantime). The melancholic remembrances typical of a unenthusiastic Sunday afternoon come out little by little, the caressing simplicity of the music perfect for a few minutes of intense reflection about what the upcoming week is going to bring (additional futile words from lacklustre individuals as usual, no doubt). It’s all here, the tracks succeeding similarly one after another, the infinite repeats immersed in a blur of low fidelity. And we love it as it is. Great stuff but next time – please – send me also a clean version of the master if possible. Better still, send me NOW a CDR of THIS master, or reissue it digitally (then I’ll even pardon the addressing of the promo to “Massimo Rocci”…). Scratches might not blemish Quicksilver Messenger Service or Dixieland, but Superior Proof Of Cinema deserves a spotless format.
STOP PRESS 3/23/2009 - ERRATA CORRIGE (AKA "MASSIMO ROCCI IS AN IDIOT"):
Just in by Adam at Panic Arrest:
"...the crackle isn't due to poor vinyl quality - it's actually the crackle picked up through the recording processs Minus Pilots use. It could have been reduced during the master but the Pilots (and us) liked it."
There you go. Retirement time, perhaps.