Rothko – A Continual Search for Origins
Too Pure, 2002
Acquired: Love Garden Blowout Location, New, 2009
Price: $1 (originally $15)
Instrumental, ambient, snooze-tastic. I picked this one up for the simple yet beautiful design work of the cover and the perfect font choice. Jenny told me that the image on the front is of bloodcells, which is neat. I also bought this because it is on Too Pure, which earned a place in my heart a couple years back when they put out one of my favorite records, Electrelane's No Shouts No Calls. On top of that, they had the best record label name in the business until they went under and were absorbed by 4AD. Maybe it's because Rothko records just do not sell. The band is essentially one Mark Beazley, who lets us know in the liner notes that he escaped the “blank aggression and violent pace of life...in London” for his friend's flat in Switzerland. Sounds cool, like homeboy has a good friend there, but what he did was record atmospherics in the “peaceful and serene” little village. I mean, come ON dude, I already knew you were pretentious from your band name and I'm sure you try to do for music what Rothko did for painting, but you didn't need to give me this explanation because it makes your pretension seem overkill. I mean, the “blank aggression and violent pace of life in London?” That's what makes the best art! You know what this reminds me of? That scene at the end of The Third Man* where Orson Welles gives that amazing speech that went like, well, here it is:
So basically, Mark (his name is Mark and his bands name is Rothko oh man!), what I'm trying to say is that nobody cares about your vacation in Switzerland. Your record is boring and nothing ever really builds or climaxes. It just kind of...sits. It's not unpleasant or anything like that, it just sounds neutered, declawed, without any sense of adventure. A couple of the tracks incorporated pseudo-builds and that was pretty nice, but still they were pretty boring. I know I don't really care about this overlong post-rock stuff, but at least bands like God Speed You Black Emperor make that shit seem epic. I'm sorry, Mark, but this record does not make me feel like I am in Switzerland, or another place for that matter, and I know you wanted to share “bits” you'd brought back with you, but come on. This is blatant white elephant art and I'm sorry but if you want to move people or create a sensation, there needs to be something in the music that is actually capable of rousing people's interest. This sounds like the antithesis to vital, important music. Music content to just wait around in the background.
Note: This record also contained a 7-inch, which has been added to my 7-inch collection and will be covered when those are.
*I have decided that my name-dropping The Third Man is not pretentious because I paid $50,000 for a film degree and I need to fucking use it somewhere)