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Mexican Summer

Ariel Pink - Odditties Sodomies Vol 1 (2x LP)

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There is a case to be made that Ariel Pink’s earliest music has always been a bit haunted. The whole wad of funhouse pop—pulled from crackly master tapes and spawned into reissues of reissues of reissues—keeps floating wraith-like towards listeners, two decades later. It’s how Pink himself described it in a Tiny Mix Tapes interview in 2006:

“Once something is captured, it carries an objective power that lives outside of time and reality. It can be manipulated [...] like a person without a body that it can call its own. The world of sound has no visible territory or domain that it can claim. It offers its own spirit to the world for the sake of play and wonderment.”

Pink’s idea of what would happen to his music mirrors an idea that writers Mark Fisher and Simon Reynolds were calling “hauntology” the same year. Each considered Pink’s music as the zeitgeisty sound of “time collapsing on itself”—the clearest sign that culture had crossed into an era where nothing could die. Or if by some chance it were to die, as they wrote, it would inevitably come back as a reissued collection.

This isn’t to say a new and expansive reissue effort by Mexican Summer under the name “Ariel Archives” is a cynical cultural ploy. Rather, it just feels procedural in this phase of Pink’s two-decade career, not to mention one that feels cobbled together by aggrandized marketing language. Consider also that the musician’s entire career has been a retrospective project, vis a vis his managing and administering the vast musical trove he compiled in a blur of recording between 1999 and 2004. But these are “definitive” releases, the Brooklyn-based label notes, paired with expanded tracklistings, new art by Pink, remastered, and featuring thoughtful essays by Hedi El Kholti, the co-editor of publishing imprint Semiotext(e). The whole collection spans the six albums Pink recorded with his imaginary band Haunted Graffiti, plus three volumes of rarities. It’s the closest thing to a final destination for a catalog that has spent the better part of two decades in various states of disarray, sliding across our musical consciousness, across trends, and attitudes like a discarded CD-R on a trashed car floor.