Chemical Playschool 11, 12 & 13 (Dusted Magazine)

Artist: Legendary Pink Dots
Album: Chemical Playschool 11, 12 & 13
Label: Soleilmoon
Review date: Apr. 6, 2002

I Was Raised To Expect Continuity…

The eventual ubiquity of CD burners will close the book on our old pal the mixed tape. Not just the format, but the medium. Used to be crafting the right mix was like inviting someone into your head, hoping they had the patience to follow your whims for 90 minutes and the soul to interpret the subtle cues you’d hidden in transitions and continuity. Burning someone a mixed CD, that’s a whole different show. You can index the tracks, which will allow random access. Basically, that makes it your own personal Totally Hits comp. Nine times out of ten, the recipient will burn the two or three songs he or she likes onto another disc and chuck your gift faster than Sam hocked your band’s promo. Or, you can put all the tunes onto one hour-plus track, if you’re that kind of an asshole.

That’s what the LPDs do on each of these three platters. They’re plenty of SONGS, just no TRACKS. So, if you play one through and really dig something about 52 minutes in, the number with the ominous voodoo drums and obsolete synths oozing out of the speakers like molasses spiked with LSD, or the part that’s on some weird-ass bossa nova shit, or that one bit that sounds like and Edison cylinder in reverse, you’ll have some manual fast-forwarding to do if you want to hear it again. Soleilmoon’s explanation is a tad hard to swallow: “It is not a collection of ‘greatest hits,’ nor does it have any potential for radio airplay.” Sounds like a serious snub to college radio, but hey, you’re the DJ, I’m only the rapper. And I suppose that, in the age of shuffle, program and download, this is one of the few remaining ways to make an LP feel like an odyssey.

Indeed, these three stashboxes of downers and psychedelics are best consumed in toto. It’s profoundly passive music, tone poetry trimmed with opaque anecdotes from dreams and soaked in all the excretions of readymade profundity. Particularly sneering, wheezing, hook-free guitar. It’s a lot like being, uh, dangerously fucked up. With only the neighborhood’s most antisocial bookstore clerk to talk you down.


By Emerson Dameron


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