Friday, January 15, 2010

Ink - "Reflectors" From the CD Ink

Some years ago I wrote a user review of the album pictured above for Insound.

Years pass, as they do, and then, a little bit before the holidays just past, I had the notion of maybe bringing the review onto La Historia, for completion's sake if for nothing else, perhaps I could get my Thorogood review from Amazon onto the blogsite down the road, too, to keep all my music writing on the web in one place, as it were.

My review of Ink had been sitting on the Insound site since I was living in that ten-storey condo on that semisqualid island in the middle of Biscayne Bay; since probably 2001 or 2002, or so, and the review, all 63 words of it, hadn't gone anywhere. Insound had hosted it for seven years, and it seemed safe enough, but still, I thought somehow that it belonged here, with the rest of my scribblings. So I copied the short piece onto the draft form that the Blogger system allows me to save, and let it sit there as I wrote my holiday posts, and then the doom/drone thing last week.

And now, check it out, when I came back tonight to write my post on the Ink album and the words I'd written about it back in the day, I check the Insound site, and my review's gone! Disappeared, replaced by a comeon for user reviews to replace the one that used to be there! How about that?

Here one month, gone the next. Never before the internet has a medium been so relied upon, so universally used, been so trusted, been so integral to the way we run our lives, yet been so fundamentally impermanent. It's as if we decided to write our phonebooks on chalkboards, or construct our encylcopedias on the faces of Buddhist sand paintings.

Let's be honest: The world would not have been a worse place in any way if I had not somehow possessed the fortunate foresight to grab my review just before Christmas. But still, I'm glad I have it. Here it is, short and sweet, unlike so much of my writing:
Words that come to mind are: eerie uncanny frigid metallic stunning wire chilling chilly scary and inhuman. This album reminds me of the everpresent icy fog in Erik Skoldbjaerg's Insomnia, motive and truth are obscured by the omnipresent white. I'll say "stunning" again and will go further by writing that I have not been so blown away by a debut record since Pavement's.

Ten years later, with Ink long since defunct, and with my namecheck Pavement planning a reunion shortly after their 20th anniversary came and went, I still feel that Ink's remains one of the great debut records ever.

And "Reflectors" is exactly what I meant when I wrote that Ink's music was "inhuman" and "metallic." The steady drone of minimally oscillating hum that runs more or less linearly through the entire song seems in its omnipresence to be what the 4-degree cosmic background radiation must sound like. The rhythm guitar track, shrilly plucked, and sharp, even when it's not being briefly highjacked by milliseconds-long bits of piercing microphonic feedback, seems like the gamelan music you'd hear if the orchestra were composed of robots. And the bass sounds less like a stringed instrument than a kind of fluid electronic pulse, systolic current flow, and diastolic, electric pulse contract and expand, contract and expand.

Sometime in late 2003, I found out that Ink--a studio band even when active--had, more than a year after the release of their second album, scheduled a single gig at a club in Washington, DC. I was so ready to go to the thing, ready to do what it took to see this band whose debut album had impressed and excited me so viscerally.

I kept imagining myself in a moderately occupied concert space, darkened so that I can't see the walls around me, and can barely see the stage. Then I hear the background hum and the shrilly plucked notes, a cobalt light shines blindingly, and the band begins their set with "Reflectors."

It was a vivid daydream, to be sure, and one I had more than a few times. Man, I wanted to see that show. But in the years after 9/11, I found myself confronted with a strangely unassailable fear of flying, so it was intuitive to me that any trip would have to be of the road variety. And because of my job schedule and because of the timeframes involved, the only way to get there would be to go with someone and take turns driving. Of course, the only person I knew who might even consider going to see any band like Ink was Cerveza . . . . and I was sure to ask, too, but I'm pretty sure he never really considered it.

So I never saw Ink in DC, and other than a lone SXSW show in late 2003, the band's not been heard from since.

Drag. But I still have the stunning documents that are their two CD's, and I'm lucky to have my single paragraph review. In an impermanent world, I'll be holding on tight.

Ink - Ink - 10 - Reflectors.mp3

This file was removed May 22, 2010. If you're still way interested in coming up with a copy of this--and really can't figure out where you might get one--drop me an email and I'm sure I'll be able to figure something out for you.

File under: minimalist/art, Postrock

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