Gang Gang Dance and Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, The Smell, February 2, 2009


Is there a gas leak in the room? Bodies drape themselves in zombie postures, eyes closed, slumped shoulders, swaying and leaning on sleepy-looking strangers. What we have here is the natural effect Gang Gang Dance administers on an audience, compounded by the intimacy of the Smell’s narrow walls. The music sounds like helicopters taking off in a kitchen on Mars, where the plants on the windowsill have dog heads and howl for a midday water drip, and the toaster spits cookies from its mouth at will. Beautiful and bizarre, narcotizing, sending visitors to a little place inside their heads generally reserved for hallucinatory effects and self-realization.

Ariel Pink is a hallucination. Hopefully, one day, his genius will be recognized and the eccentric little man and his tambourine will be dressed in dirty designer suits, sprawled out on a lobster-shaped sofa with a My First Sony recorder. L.A.’s lone ranger prince of lo-fi has been working with a band, Haunted Graffiti, which seems to hold him together and tell him what song’s next. He’s a lost puppy searching for love between the long legs of the clouds or a smoke-filled jar.

Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti

A show that should go down in history, Gang Gang Dance and Haunted Graffiti made it special for those who gained entry to the sold out Smell concert. Gang Gang took a break from writing music in the desert to test new asymmetric drum patterns out on a more than willing experimental group. Reverb is the tie that binds Gang Gang and Haunted Graffiti. Both bands explore the depths of a musical note as if it’s a bottomless hole—seeking wisdom? Maybe.—Seizing a neuron and talking to it backwards.



Smell Man