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Sleep
Dopesmoker (reissue) Cian O'Neill , June 12th, 2012 10:28

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It's often difficult to muster excitement when you know what's going to happen, too, like when an unbound Lionel Messi is passed a football: "Well, he's going to mock physics", says God, chucks his shoulders and ambles off towards the jakes. Much the same thought went through this writer's head as he put on the 'deluxe reissue' of Sleep's Dopesmoker, i.e. '[W]ell, this is going to thrum like a turbine and durng like funeral bells, isn't it?'

So, he went out for a walk, putting it off for a bit. Saw a cat by the park chewing a bird. Failed to find this portentous. Went back in. Found a bit of furred brie at the back of the fridge in a torn plastic bag, remembered vaguely buying and chawing on a pack of Président at three in the morning two weeks back after the Crobar. Decided not to chance it. Went back to the park, threw the brie at the cat, pinched the dead bird and took that home for lunch instead. Or something like that. Something somewhat repetitive, a little prosaic, a little dark... not to suggest an analogy, you understand, just wanted to provide a thumbnail picture of prevarication; and bring up the paid-per-word wordcount [Make it rain. Ed.].

Then there's the instinct that we have to endlessly do things over, which in the field of mistakes may be called a love life. In music, it's called the reissue, and so to it. Yep, uhuh, it's great, but then you knew that already, didn't you? Oh gnarled Quietus reader, knuckled up before a computer monitor like a chimp mooning at the glass, pulling on a five-day beard with non-opposing thumbs, she say 'Classic; natch.' Best be careful revisiting a classic though (which Kevin Shields would tell you, if you but waited a few years for the sentences to form.)

How does the re-release look? Pleasurably silly, glad to say, and the newly-commissioned Arik Roper artwork on the cover will add fetish value. It looks good in a retrospective, 'sci-fi library' fashion and there are some supplementaries within, such as a transcribed riff-chart to aid one's bedroom air axing. Crucially, the recording isn't buffed up and ring-aged like Peter Stringfellow's dancing pole, instead sounding just as fuzzy but a little warmer, quite a bit clearer and, well, a little bit bigger, more capacious: Ashes Rise guitarist Brad Boatright, the man responsible for the re-mastering, has done some modest good. If the first had sonic charms which seem extemporary, this one is somewhere between the sublunary murk of the earlier bootlegs, the original band-approved TeePee records version of 2003 and a brighter, modern-sounding studio demo, but it's not glaringly distinct. It not being an absolute transformation, the danger is that this will end up simply another and not the definitive version, which the band purportedly intended it to be.

Yet chances are that anyone who appreciates the aesthetics of stoner rock (vocals like a troll with its foot trapped, drums like boulders dawdling down a hill towards a schoolhouse etc) will likely thank the band for wanting one widely-available, properly-presented version of their magnum opus out there. It won't harm the original bandmates' piggybanks any, if the London ATP performance of the LP is to be taken not simply as a victory lap, but an opportunity for Om as well as guitarist Matt Pike's High on Fire to get a little limelight after all those years spent watching lesser bands take their shibboleth and strip it for parts. Christ, when it's put that way, you probably should buy it on point of principle - get those boys their dues, they've been too long coming.

lh
Jun 12, 2012 3:07pm

Pitchfork levels of shitty, head-up-your-own-ass writing here. Good god...

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chapeau
Jun 12, 2012 3:13pm

It's a shame that there is so little discussion of the music here. It's too bad there's an assumption that the album's reputation is so huge that there doesn't need to be any mention of the music, save that the sonics are different than before (shocking!) Hey Quietus, what about those fans of music that find out about music by reading reviews, would there be any of those you'd like to appeal to in your readership? To those even mildly intrigued by this album and/or mildly annoyed by this "review", check out how polarizing/awesome/boring this record can be to folks who actually talk about the music: http://www.metal-archives.com/albums/Sleep/Dopesmoker/23096 One could've only stated that "Dopesmoker" is "63 minutes of utterly ridiculous riffology" and given a better description than what is here. Oh, wait, right, this isn't "Ram" or "Loveless"....or maybe the author hasn't actually listened to it? Shame, shame, shame....

"Proceeds the weedian, Nazareth!"

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chapeau
Jun 12, 2012 3:18pm

Even Pitchfork talks about the music 1h; sweet cheezes!
http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16601-dopesmoker/

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ploppythesausage
Jun 12, 2012 3:33pm

Reviews are a funny thing aren't they? First of all, we only really care when it's something we are already aware of/fans of/interested in (such as Dopesmoker). A newcomer to this record only has to open a new tab and google it to find out more about this album. In fact they can actually hear it for themselves on youtube, spotify or lastfm. They can search allmusic for a relatively descriptive and unbiased review. We don't need more of these kind of reviews. What I've always liked about the Quietus is that they share a love of and interest in music in general, that if you so wish can get off your arse and find out more of yourself. It's not difficult. In fact, putting in that little bit of effort to me is part of the joy in it - it's not just something to put on when i'm doing the dishes. I can wiki it, I can check to see if Julian Cope liked it or not, I can read an interview with the band. Or I can check what pitchfork said and then compare and contrast their house style with the work of other writers.

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lh
Jun 12, 2012 3:46pm

In reply to ploppythesausage:

True enough that most of us have heard this. My problem is with the abysmal writing here. Cian, here's a tip: Read your future reviews out loud. Because if I heard someone saying something like the following in conversation:

"Oh gnarled Quietus reader, knuckled up before a computer monitor like a chimp mooning at the glass, pulling on a five-day beard with non-opposing thumbs, she say 'Classic; natch.'"

I would have to walk away to make sure I didn't kick them straight in the balls.

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Implo
Jun 12, 2012 4:22pm

Usually I don't tend to read reviews where the reader is bludgeoned by the writer's post-modern musings or how well he wields a thesaurus, but this was really super. Was the album any good, Cian? I couldn't really tell under those swathes of your "colourful" vernacular. Perhaps, and I hope this doesn't sound presumptuous, next time, you could actually talk about the music in something other than vague metaphors and allusions? In this way, the review is less a vehicle for your ego, and more relevant to the album it purports to be about. Which is, after all the main thrust of The Quietus, and the reason I don't simply google every release I'm remotely interested in. Standards, you understand; TQ's reputation, not least. A little traditionalist, possibly, but it generally ensures regular readers don't have to wade through this kind of vacuous shite while waiting for a fucking point.

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Implo
Jun 12, 2012 4:41pm

In reply to ploppythesausage:

That's a great idea! So, after learning about the contents of Cian's fridge, I should sift through the acres of amateur bloggers' views or Wikipedia's questionable cataloging for details of the same release. Visionary thinking! I see TQ's future business model - a kind of middleman channeling people via indulgent twat-speak onto the endless narcissism of the web's myriad voices. 

Alternatively, the review could be about the music and collected in TQ's superlative archive thus negating the need for the former. And for me to spend 15 minutes writing a reply to you stating the fucking obvious.

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John Doran
Jun 12, 2012 5:45pm

In reply to Implo:

Implo, I don't want to be rude but if you want the kind of Argos catalogue writing you're after then pay for a genre magazine. As we don't operate from behind a pay wall, we don't actually owe you anything. We've talked about Sleep a million times on this site - in fact we've got an interview going up with Al Cisneros in the next few days and it's less than a month since we interviewed Matt Pike and reviewed Sleep live.

Here's the result I got when I typed Sleep Dopesmoker youtube into google: About 55,400 results (0.25 seconds)

So that's somewhere in the region of 50,000 links in quarter of a second to places where you can hear it.

We're glad if we can introduce people to new music but we're not here to indulge the whining of spoon fed, entitled pricks who are to lazy to press a few keys on a laptop.

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chapeau
Jun 12, 2012 6:35pm

"It's often difficult to muster excitement when you know what's going to happen", as will likely be the case for some when anything interesting gets released/reissued and you just know what The Quietus' take is going to be. Best just go elsewhere - you know there are multitudes of opinions on anything, especially this or any album - to get some critical appraisal, love, hate, and the like that fans of music engage in and appreciate. If it is so easy to get it elsewhere, why would anyone offer up their unique take, or, better yet, why would anyone bother checking out yours? Maybe I was hoping for a unique take; I sure got one, but I just wish it was more interesting, engaging, etc., as I've come to expect, especially from a site that, while not focused solely on heavy music, does review a significant amount of it. Colour me a prick, if you must, but you'd also colour me unimpressed.

"The molten fire flowed up toward Zion
Flight of the Nazarene to seek the Cheribum
Rides out believer with the spliff aflame
Marijuanaut escapes earth to cultivate"

"Follow the smoke toward the riff-filled land"

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Implo
Jun 12, 2012 7:34pm

In reply to John Doran:

Stating the obvious seems to be this evening's theme, so: being I'm not a imbecile, I'm aware there are other reviews in existence. My laptop typing is anything but lazy, it's specific; among these 55,400 results you found, I *choose* to come here precisely because of what you represent, namely an alternative to the plodding or indulgent. Discernment, simply.

There is a world of difference of feeling that you 'owe me something' and having expectations due to otherwise stellar content. Your choices as editor have elevated TQ's standards to significantly higher than your contemporaries. As a result, when a review contains less music than details of the reviewer's social life and taste in cheese it's aggravating. And, given your characteristically acerbic words, I hope I'm permitted to say I don't give a shit if you react to that, because it's your doing.

This little exchange is absurd: you're knee-jerking because a loyal reader is used to better and has the tenacity to say so. In future, though, I won't be so presumptuous as to expect a fucking thing from The Quietus, least of all humility.

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julyshadowtunes
Jun 12, 2012 7:50pm

In reply to John Doran:

does sending people to check other sites about info on an artist instead of the quietus is not kind of defeatist?

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julyshadowtunes
Jun 12, 2012 7:50pm

In reply to John Doran:

does sending people to check other sites about info on an artist instead of the quietus is not kind of defeatist?

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tenbenson
Jun 12, 2012 8:44pm

In reply to Implo:

i like how you always save "fucking" till the last sentence. like you're a reasonable, intelligent person driven to the point of distraction by the stupidity that surrounds you. it's good, i like it.

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Implo
Jun 12, 2012 9:06pm

In reply to tenbenson:

I genuinely had no idea - how formulaic, how predictable. Exchanging expletives with a man you've admired and respected for 5 odd years is the worse possible way to spend an evening. Provocation, reaction/provocation, reaction/provocation... Bloody miserable. Damn Cian's Brie, damn my sarcasm; what a load of old shit.

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tenbenson
Jun 12, 2012 9:08pm

good album though, eh

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Jun 13, 2012 2:27pm

What a worthless article.

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5onthe5
Jun 13, 2012 5:09pm

hmmm... I was a little disappointed by this article, having found the Pitchfork review of same to be quite a compelling case for the album.

In fact I figured this was SUCH a quintessential Quietus album that I tweeted TQ a couple of weeks ago asking if this reissue would be reviewed.

As someone who is a total novice in some of the genres that are Quietus staples - stoner / doom metal being amongst them, I would have enjoyed some discussion of this album's significance.

Doubly disappointing: I'm sure you have several contributors who would / could have contributed something a lot more detailed and heartfelt.

Oh well.

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Gizzi M
Jun 13, 2012 10:34pm

Yeah, this was a pretty boring read. And the guitarist is called Matt Pike. Am I an arsehole for pointing that out?

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Like, you know?
Jun 14, 2012 12:09pm

This review is a pathetic piece of turd. I understand the need to not patronise your readership by spelling out everything and assuming they know nothing about the band, but this takes the piss. Who gives a shit about a piece of cheese in your fridge? To assume that there's nothing else to be said about this record begs the question of why bother even writing the review in the first place? True, you can search online and bring up thousands of pages about Dopesmoker, but I expect a better standard of writing from The Quietus and that's why I've been visiting the site for years. John Doran is a cock for having a go at people who expect better from a site that consistently delivers. What a crock of shit.

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SY
Jun 15, 2012 2:58pm

In reply to Like, you know?:

Absolutely - can someone please tell me what the point of the first 3 ramblingand utterly shit paragraphs is exactly?

I hope the record company ask for the review copy of the CD back cos this article has next to nothing to do with it's contents.

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dhead
Jun 16, 2012 1:37am

listened to the lp for the first time today all the way through. Til I got bored anyway. Not totally fair, went for breakfast after 45 mins. Troll tick. Maybe you had to be there. Obviously this means a lot to some folk, I'm suffering from UFOmammut love but I'm coping. And I'm only telling you.

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Christopher
Jun 16, 2012 10:40pm

Killer album. Period.

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Tim
Jun 18, 2012 2:08am

While I do agree that this review is almost completely devoid of content (I could give a shit about the reviewer's choice of midnight snacks), it bears pointing out that this is a review of an album in its third? re-release. We're talking about an integral, genre-defining, watershed album here. Had a review of a living band's new album been written about this way, I would have found it disrespectful in extremis. I would be just as upset as those who chimed in above me. But having a sense of humor about a classic and writing an article about rambling, stoned music with rambling, stoned metaphors is hardly the crime y'all are painting it as.

In fact, it's quite possible what Mr. O'Neill did upon receiving his copy of this album is exactly what I will do when I receive mine: remove the record from its packaging, open it, put it on the turntable, get incredibly stoned out of my mind, flip the record after the first side, and then turn the player off when finished.

I think it's also quite possible that he made the mistake of writing this rambling navel-gazer of a review in the middle of that great ritual. A noble mistake if I've ever heard of one. And give the guy some credit, he's pretty fucking good at putting words together.

Hey, I put "fucking" in the last sentence. Now follow the smoke to the riff-filled land and don't forget that Chris Hakius is the other half of Om.

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lh
Jun 18, 2012 7:58pm

In reply to Tim:

Not for like four years he isn't. Try Emil Amos of Grails.

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Jun 22, 2012 3:10pm

As one of them replied the last time I commented on their lack of review of the music...this is the quietus so what do you expect?

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