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Baker's Dozen

I Ate It All Up In Fast Forward: Ariel Pink's Favourite LPs
Christopher Sanders , August 23rd, 2017 10:20

Ariel Pink shares 13 of his favourite records, taking in albums from Ata Kak, The Shaggs and John Maus amongst others

Ariel Pink and I didn’t really hit the ground running. His PR people had warned me beforehand that he’s not particularly fond of tQ, and that my interview was coming at the end of a long press day for him. I set my dictaphone recording. This annoyed him. “I was told nobody was going to be recording me today, but, like, whatever.” I tried to turn his attention to the albums he’d chosen, which was a bad idea. “This is painful for me. I just hate talking about it. I don’t like talking about music. Nothing could be more boring to me. The music speaks for itself. I find list making to be obnoxious, I don’t go for that.”

However, the general rule for talking to Pink seemed to be to get him going about something he’s interested in, for then he’s a joy; he spoke at length, for example, about Faith by The Cure, an album he obviously adores. Indeed, for a good portion of the interview, Pink was actually an engaging, warm, and affable character.

This was the Ariel Pink I had expected to meet. His work has always maintained a careful tonal balance between irony and sincerity, and with his new record, Dedicated To Bobby Jameson, authenticity is a running theme. Again and again on the new album, Pink confronts the listener with the desire to truly express emotion, no matter how childlike or 'sentimental'. One of the stand out songs on the record, 'Do Yourself A Favour,' asks you to open yourself up to a sense of childlike wonder and "try and new flavour," before repeating a familiar nursery-rhyme refrain of "pop-pop goes the weasel."

That Pink should call for such an opening up of the self is no surprise considering the depth and breadth of his musical knowledge. Through a series of digressions, Pink describes a young Ariel Rosenberg growing up in L.A. as a “junkie” for the far-out, the unheard, and everything in between. Harry Merry’s bizarre and beautiful First Contact makes an appearance, as does Paradisewärts, arguably one of Amon Düül’s finest records. His ex-girlfriend of eight years, Geneva Jacuzzi, is also featured in this list with her excellent lo-fi synth-pop record Lamaze.

This list is not exhaustive; he made clear on a number of occasions that they're certainly not his favourite records. However, what they do share in common, crucially, is an ability to "reach into" him. A vague premise, perhaps, but an undoubtedly sincere one.

Click the photo of Ariel Pink below to begin reading the selections. Dedicated To Bobby Jameson is released via Mexican Summer next month - to pre-order, go here