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Ariel Pink's Haunted Graffiti

Worn Copy
Paw Tracks

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Ariel Pink certainly isn't the first person to make a musical gumbo of recent music history -- Beck's been collecting discarded riffs from pop's garbage bins and recycling them for some 11 years now, and Ween still holds the gold belt for musical schizophrenia. And as for the charm of lo-fi, Guided by Voices perfected that circa '94. No doubt everything from much of the Ethiopiques series to the clutter of King Crimson's brutal 1972 live album, Earthbound, gains a few points for sounding kinda like shit. Yet, this L.A.-based one-man band -- who produces drum parts with his mouth -- arrives at his erratically confident, catchy noise without Beck's consciousness or Ween's satire. There seems to be a semi-informed savant at work here, a man-child hiding from the California sun and obsessively cramming self-penned songs on a cheap 8-track before he forgets them. (Though the Animal Collective's own Paw Tracks label had released a few of his discs recently, god only knows how much of this stuff there actually is.) Worn Copy sounds like a battered store-bought cassette of some late-'70s band that never made it stateside, but sold big in Estonia. There's the sleek, cheap disco of "Creepshow" and the three-part, 10-minute concept, "Trepanated Earth," which sounds for a second like Rick Springfield but also contains a section of freakish vocal edits and synthesized noise. In fact, the whole album, all 75 minutes of it, seems too mottled to be the work of one person. Which is exactly how you know it is. That is, that and the basement-fi ambience you're really listening to instead of the songs themselves.

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