Mature Themes (HG 11?)

There's a new Ariel Pink thing happening. After touring the entire planet like four times, he finally got the whole live outfit (R-real, Tim, ...Aaron, and... the fourth one...) in a studio and wrote a whole fucking album of NEW things (except the cover), which is 12 completely NEW songs, not just a rehash like the "corporate sampler" was (which wasn't ALL old stuff, but that was certainly a large chunk), one of which is available already thanks to 4AD.

He's ALSO going to be by Austin on September 7th and then at the Granada in Dallas the day after.

Naturally, I will be making both.

And that's not a "maybe" thing. I'm GOING to both. That's the end. It's non-negotiable.

So what is post-BT Ariel like? From what I can tell so far, a little more coherent, and sort of '82-'86 sounding. Sort of like a soundtrack to an 80's teen movie. That's kind of a new directing to take hauntology in, near as I can tell, if only because it's so specific, but then again, it's not like other people haven't been specific before.

And I think the only reason it does sound so specific is because I'm used to a really nebulously placed Ariel. Sure, Somewhere in Europe/Hot Pink is as 70's punk as you can get, and Among Dreams or Shower Me in Lipstick is obnoxiously 86, but still, MOST of his output is confused and mixed and muddled as far as pinpointing exact styles go, and that's part of the reason I love him so much. Geneva does her specific period style, WaVVes does his, and Ghost Box do their thing, but Ariel was always very fluid and free-form. In fact, the earliest stuff that still exists online is borderline, and sometimes just plain industrial in its construction. Equus and Rainy Den both come to mind.

The whole album is likely to run the gammut again. Even flirting with 90's stuff, which is traditionally not his style since he's been active SINCE the 90's, but Butt House Blondies certainly heads in that direction. I'm only really getting into this because a post that just says "omg new Ariel Pink I'm so happy I could burst" is sort of pointless.

But it does raise an interesting question: what is POST-Hauntology? Or, where do we go from here?

See, the whole thing about hauntology was that, after John Cage, concrete, industrial, minimalism, sampling, and music that writes itself, what else is there to do but lather, rinse, repeat? Hauntology took that and ran with it, but not with current trends, but old one. Looking back several decades, taking those themes and styles, and revisiting them. Turns out we weren't really DONE with them yet. There was so much more to do. Last decade was really nuts too, we had everything. 70's, 60's, 80's, and even 90's. Some even went waaaay back and did 20's sounding ethereal soundscapes. For various reasons. Chiptune music exploded, and with the advent of youtube being more important than the radio, suddenly there was a way for EVERYTHING to reach its intended demographic. There were some trends, sure, but if you wanted it, it was there.

Another aspect of revisiting older styles was the actual "haunting" part of it. "Music that sounds older than it is" is an incredibly shallow descriptor, and something no one actually does on purpose. And I mean that, too, no one who's any good at it does it on purpose. There is some sort of bizarre sub-species of nostalgia associated with it. It's not really "boy howdy I miss the old days" but sort of like... um... this is hard to explain.

You know that feeling when you listen to an Ariel Pink song for the first time and it's just so inherently familiar? Like you've known it all your life? But it's sort of weird and alien? Like the 70's or 80's of a different timeline where disco never died or something? It's sideways nostalgia, but... even that doesn't quite get it.

It's very haunting, I guess is the best term.

But now that it has been explored enough for people to become familiar with it, and it to ooze into every facet of popular culture (except Hollywood, who still hasn't gotten the memo), and long enough for solid trends to develop (the 80's obsession from 2008 onwards becoming connected to chillwave, for example), what's next?

Is it now "done?" Is there more out there to discover or do? Are we stuck in a perpetual cycle of repeating ourselves like modern fashion is? With the ability for all tastes to find all markets, does it matter? Is there anything left?

I don't really know. What I DO know is that I've been sort of ambivalent about music lately. I've been mostly listening to Firesign Theater and Psychedelic Archaeology. Ariel was touring Mars and I couldn't be bothered to keep up with anyone else. I don't know what Geneva or WaVVes or Telepathe or anyone is up to anymore.

This is mostly because Trish Keenan had to go and die on me. I've been avoiding a lot of things because of that.

And I don't really HAVE a guess about what's next, because I don't know enough about what's going on anymore to comment. I feel sort of lost in the whole thing now. Maybe oversaturation is partly to blame and the bubble will burst or something. Maybe we'll go back to Romantic-era hauntology. Maybe we'll do hauntology-hauntology. Not sure how that would work but whatever.

But considering what happened to noise (homogeneity, nothing left to do, not really intimidating anymore, etc.) it's not likely there's much left to do there. I remember hearing about a new NON album, which doesn't seem to be forthcoming at the moment, that would be really intense, since Boyd was the only one who ever seemed to "get it." Noise is noise is noise is noise, but when you DO something with it, that's when it turns into something special. Carnis Vale and Embers come to mind.

Anwyas, this is getting long so I'd better cut out.

Oh, the Deacon IS a xenomorph, just not a jockey alien. Lindelof seems to be implying that it's an egg-layer, too. Don't know what that's all about. For the record, I liked Prometheus better than the last Alien movie, because its cons and pros cancelled each other out, so all that's left is whether or not you have a special like for Alien movies, which I do, so I think it just barely squeezes out ok. AlienS vs. Predator (which doesn't need the subtitle because it's alienS vs. and not alieN vs., which is just one more stupid aspect of that movie) has too much weighing against it, with the only real positives being the continually masterful work of Tom and Alec as well as the introduction of the Praetorian into the film series for the first time. OH! And Ms. Yutani makes an appearance, and they finally explain how we invented FTL so fucking fast. Other than that, the movie is a mess. Prometheus > AvP:R.

I MADE A LIST! My favorite Alien movies (in order! :3)
7. Aliens vs. Predator: Requiem
6. Prometheus
5. Alien
4. Aliens
3. Alien: Resurrection
2. Alien vs. Predator
1. Alien 3

This list is just for fun, though. In reality, AvP and Rez are about equal in my books, and I have a love/hate relationship with the original movie that straddles the line of how I feel about Prometheus even though I definitely like Alien more than the movie where Space Jockey look like humans and also created humans by seeding Earth with DNA even though RNA came first and if they just dropped DNA then why do other lifeforms on Earth besides humans exist and... ok, I'm not going there. :/

How did I get from Ariel Pink to Alien movies? Whatever.

Buy buy.


  1. found your blog via the ariel archival post from 2010. good stuff

    i'm curious though, what do you think of James Ferraro? just in terms of current trends of music, or where music/hauntology is going to go next. it seems the "hauntology" term has sort of gone out of favor, but i'm just talking about people who explore ideas from the (not necessarily so distant) past. james ferraro seems to be doing something around the late 90s/early 2000s. which i guess is about the same temporal distance that the late 80s/early 90s were when ariel started doing his thing...

  2. ...WOAH.

    THIS guy, oh boy. I'd never heard of him before, but I'm glad you gave me the tip. He's AWESOME. The two (2) songs of his I've heard so far are pretty obnoxiously late 70's to mid 80's, so there's that. I absolutely love it, though. It sounds uncannily like early(er) Pink, which is of course a thing I'm a fan of.

    It's really a shame that hauntology didn't catch on as a term. There's really no other word to describe that sort of thing. "lo-fi" is a quality of recording and, to be honest, isn't really a thing that's necessary for hauntology. I seem to remember there was actually kind of a beef in the "scene" as it were about lo-fi a few years back? WaVVes and Pink went hi-fi and people got all pissy about it. Even though broadcast and BoC had been doing that their whole careers and such.

    And I get that there's always going to be this nonsensical "you can't DEFINE my music MAN" sort of attitude that so many musicians have where they don't want labels put on their music. I think that's primarily responsible for the "death of hauntology." It's so weird to me that people can't use words to describe styles anymore. Like, there's nothing stoping a PERSON from using different styles, but the styles themselves aren't people, they're abstract concepts and having a musical vocabulary is much preferable to saying "those kind of songs that go 'boop boop boop.'" Like in the 80's when most of the really big goth rock bands refused to call themselves goth.

    Yeah, I get it, YOU'RE a rebel. But what's that style of music called? Pfft.