November 08, 2002

Slanted and Enchanted Reissued

I wonder if this was done by Matador or by the band? Anyway, Slanted and Enchanted has been remastered and had about seventy-five million extra things added to it as part of this reissue.

Reissues always provoke reaction. I'm not all that perturbed by having to buy a reissue to keep my collection complete, a) because my collection isn't complete anyway; b) because I haven't bought a CD in about ten months anyway and won't be for some time yet; c) completism is a self-inflicted disease. I am a bit perturbed by reissuing it on principle though, because it has never been deleted. 10 year anniversary? Then just release the extra material, which would be worth having on its own anyway - some good studio stuff never released, and some good live sets. Don't go around reinflating the legacy, it stands on its own just fine.

Chris Ott, one of Pitchfork's endless legions of overly self-appreciating music opinionators, has this to say about the reissue. Of course, he loves it because Pavement saved us from Nirvana (they didn't), they came out of left field (they didn't), they weren't part of the sub-Sonic Youth scene (they were) and Steve Malkmus can sing (fair enough).

Ott also complies with the first rule of new music criticism, which is to imply a very large amount Technical Knowledge without actually having said Technical Knowledge. For example, he contends that Pavement's genius lies partly in writing basslines which use the instrument "as it was intended: the foundation of the song" (also, apparently, "one of the few modern pop recordings" to do so). It's true that the bass in unornamented in Slanted and Enchanted; it's truer that there isn't a song on the album that doesn't work as a two-guitar and drum effort. Perhaps he means that the mix doesn't make everything swim in a bass-heavy swamp. Well, it wouldn't: a few of these tracks are still using the old Pavement trick of playing a bassline on a standard-tuned guitar through a bass amp, and the mix is biscuit-flat anyway.

I'm tickled by the idea of remastering the album, anyway. Half the charm is in the low-rent production. I pity the poor engineer who got given the job of trying to make it sound big and clear.

posted on November 08, 2002 at 01:30 PM by darren.