The Legendary Pink Dots’ mood-altering mix of psychedelic pop and trippy jams
By Sam Prestianni
published: November 13, 2002
Like any mood-altering substance that may be hazardous to your health, the Legendary Pink Dots require a certain leap of faith for a successful experience. Listeners must trust that Edward Ka-Spel’s parade of freaky noise will send them somewhere over the rainbow instead of stranding them in the existential gutter on the way there. With his latest release, the three-CD Chemical Playschool Volumes 11, 12 & 13, Ka-Spel puts this premise to the ultimate test.
The box set’s individual discs — Excess, Where the Hell????, and I Can See Clearly Now (I Think) — are basically nonstop soundtracks, with no digital time codes separating tracks such as “Furtherfurtherfurtherfurtherfurther” and “OK, It’s Betsy the Bumblebee.” Without being able to simply access specific songs, the listener must submit to a full hour of LPD overload in order to reap maximum benefits. In an attention-deficit world, this is no small demand on even the staunchest fan.
But after dozens of Pink Dots recordings (and plenty of solo albums) since he began making music in 1980, Ka-Spel has proved himself a trustworthy designated driver with a clearly defined, hyperwired vision. He brings the finesse and sophistication of classical avant-garde composition to an alien mix of psychedelic pop (reminiscent of Syd Barrett-era Pink Floyd), trippy ’60s jams (à la the Grateful Dead), mind-melting industrial thump (think Skinny Puppy), and synth-deep rave grooves designed for astral projection. If you put your faith in the transformative power of LPD, Ka-Spel will steer you out of both mind and body.
Where: Slim’s, 333 11th St. (at Folsom), S.F.
Details: Friday, Nov. 15, at 9 p.m.
Tickets are $15-17