Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti
Before Today


3.5
great

Review

by Eno USER (34 Reviews)
June 8th, 2010 | 47 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Ariel Pink blurs his maniacal lo-fi techniques with elevated pop material creating a senseless, yet all the more enjoyable contradiction.

Ariel Pink's sound is not about lulls of cheesily effected psych-pop guitars. It's not about his purposeful "lo-fi" sound and the distortion and manipulation of the pop structure. Nay, his spastic and diverse sound is rooted in what is a formulaic concept, and that is clashing nostalgia with his twisted, home-recorded personality. Of course all the of the previous mentioned aspects are ultimately the product of this formula, but the historic pop music he steals from is constantly mutating along with Ariel's intellectualized viewpoint of music. As Ariel's talking points range from an empirical analysis of nostalgia, to his claims of pornography being "the transcendence of medium" it starts to make sense why he would write a one and a half minute AM jingle attacked by cartoon monologues and dissonance. It's less about him being a bored home-recorder, but more about the science of the unabashed incorporation of spontaneity for the personalized touch on a nostalgic backdrop.

Before Today puts an increased focus on his nostalgic tendencies, which more or less resulted in a limited amount of random quirks and freak-out bits of noise. That's not to say that it's by any means a pop record; The LP starts out with a stream-of-conscious elevator jazz piece, followed by a cover. But Before Today finds Ariel Pink picking and selecting through his endless collection of home recorded pieces and applying them to his newer lo-fi emulation of various New Wave and Bubblegum bands alike. Can't Hear My Eyes has been part of his repertoire for most of his career, and it's presence on the new album has switched from a dreary dream pop song to a fusion, late 80s ballad with absolutely no eccentricities, with the exception of the "aha" aspect of an obscure indie artist interpolating irrelevant commercial styles of the past. Both L'estat and Round & Round are wonderfully layered tracks that successfully incorporate a wide range of genres from early 70s soul, to disco, to very Arther Russel-esque moments. Of course Ariel still meddles in his freak folk associated oddities, but they transcend each track, as opposed to making an unlistenable mess of it.

If the abandonment of his less structured, tomfoolery based material equates to anything, it's the sheer naked basis of Ariel's awkwardly presented pop tunes. While the sound is refined and ready to be listened to beyond the bounds of the hipsterverse, there's still a clear separation of totally psych-pop grandiose production, to what is still his home-recorded and unfocused approach. The instrumental quality is still relatively cheap and the arrangements sound lazily nostalgic at moments which keeps Before Today from getting anywhere near pop perfection. But the quirks and shifts through Ariel's cartoonish interpolations of a range of forgotten pop genres remind us that this is not what Ariel is here for. Within the album there are sparse moments of truly blissful, zany moments picking up anywhere from Animal Collective, to unpredictable guitar changes that alienate the pop sounds that he emulates. So is Before Today really that different from his older albums? Nope. The objective of blurring his love for old pop jingles and his unstoppable, spontaneity-based touches on the pop structure is as present as ever. It just happens to be more accessible and a thousand times more enjoyable.



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user ratings (199)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
Enotron
June 8th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

show up tracklist

ziroth
June 8th 2010


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

good review. this album is awesome.

Enotron
June 8th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I originally had this at a 2. It's grown a shitload on me.

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010


15083 Comments


round and round is like an 8/10

it's really good especially the 'HOLD OOOOON IM CALLLIIIIN'

but if he didn tkind of lose direction it'd be a 9/10

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010


31634 Comments


You know, users can actually add things themselves i.e. tracklisting etc

Digging: Theo Parrish - American Intelligence

Bitchfork
June 8th 2010


7584 Comments


love =]

Enotron
June 8th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

I already posted a tracklist twice, but it hasn't shown up.

edit: Regardless, none of your sass is needed in my thread : p

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010


31634 Comments


Has to be approved, its up now though

Enotron
June 8th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

alright thanks

Deviant.
Staff Reviewer
June 8th 2010


31634 Comments


Sassy

ziroth
June 8th 2010


1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i knew pitchfork would eat this up, which is why it's weird that i like it so much. but this is sooooo much better than the usual lo-fi retro psychedelic shit that pitchfork has been hyping.

iarescientists
June 8th 2010


5863 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

this is so lo-fi it barely exists

fright night and round and round are tight otherwise i forget i'm listening to it

i imagine this would be fucking amazsing for late night high driving

lobby
June 9th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

i like this album, great when ur sobering up after a sesh

Enotron
June 9th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Fright Night is teh jamz.

lobby
June 9th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

butt-house blondies is crazy good

exitsense
July 3rd 2010


402 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

but wait this is hardly lo-fi compared to his older stuff

Digging: Louis Faithful - Angel EP

Kiran
Emeritus
July 12th 2010


6002 Comments


excellent review dude, for some reason i dont have this yet and it irks me

Digging: D'Angelo - Black Messiah

lobby
July 12th 2010


1251 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oooh new best coast dropped, ey...

Kiran
Emeritus
August 26th 2010


6002 Comments


posting to remind myself to listen to this

Enotron
August 26th 2010


7695 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

hey, this got more noticed since i last checked this review. i rarely listen to this, but it's still fun to jam to from time to time.



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