Published Feb 01, 2006Thanks in large part to the Animal Collectives Paw Tracks imprint, 27 year-old Los Angeles home-taper Ariel Pink has received a slew of attention recently for his easy handling of bizarre pop hooks, his lo-fi recording approach, and the hundreds of songs hes reputedly already recorded. For the last two years, hes been steadily reissuing his treasure trove for mass consumption. House Arrest doesnt stray too far from what came before it. The album was originally released as half of the hard-to-find 2002 split double-CD, House Arrest/Lover Boy, the second half of which will see reissue later this year. At its core, it revisits the same sun-soaked avenues of West coast psychedelia that The Doldrums and Worn Copy charted. But more than past Pink releases, this album pushes further into the 80s college-rock of bands like XTC, A Flock of Seagulls and the Housemartins. As with other Pink albums, throwaways and gems sit side by side. House Arrest sounds best when viewed as part of the larger continuum of Pinks massive recorded output. But, whereas The Doldrums sounded more like the long-lost achievements of a 60s pop genius, this album sounds more like the demos and rarities that were left behind.
Can you take me, step by step, through a regular musically productive day for Ariel Pink? On a typical recording day, I spend most of the day jamming or developing the song, learning it on different instruments before making a rough sketch over the basic skeleton track, which is usually bass, keyboard or guitar, followed usually by a rhythm track, using my mouth or drums or by punching out drum presets stacking tracks, as they say. At the end of this long process I will finally settle on an arrangement and try to hone the right performance from all the instruments. Vocals generally go at the end, multi-tracked with harmonies added on top. Finally I will leave it alone and revisit it later when I've forgotten the song or gained enough distance from the recording and decide what to do next.
Given more money, would you record on better equipment? Well, if worse came to worse, I could always record on my eight-track, just as Ive done up until now. But of course, Id love better equipment, more of it, and more often. A change of pace is always welcome. Right now, an upgrade would be a change of pace. (Paw Tracks)