The Orson Fader
Paik is a band of shoegazing kids from Detroit, whom I suspect I have seen play before, under a different moniker (but I can’t be sure). Nevertheless, I must say that The Orson Fader is probably one of the best albums of this tired and stale genre that I’ve heard in years.
What struck me most about this album is its two-pronged enjoyment potential. When played quietly, this album provides a nice, somber ambiance to which to read (I just finished reading Edith Wharton’s Age of Innocence as The Orson Fader played quietly on my stereo). Conversely, I was blown away when I had the rare opportunity to turn the volume up. The guitars are absolutely overpowering! When played loud, the album reveals what is a rather incredible recording quality, showcasing a very strange guitar sound that Paik has made for themselves. It’s not the typical shoegazer sound (e.g. really slick and clean). There’s a gritty, almost raunchy feel to the guitars; they sound as if they’ve been layered about a million times, creating a tremendous wall of sound.
In terms of the songs themselves, the title track is the standout. The guitars aren’t distorted in the beginning, but they have a strange effect on them (a suffusion reverb) that makes it sound as if they are being played inside of a large can. The same chord is played, over and over, as a bass line flutters about behind it. There’s a strange bending of the notes every few seconds, but it’s so miniscule that it just sounds like the guitars might be out of tune. Nevertheless, the song inevitably climaxes with a big, triumphant extravaganza of repetition.
Overall, this album is fantastic. With no words to bog down the listener, it’s a multipurpose record. Rare is the album that can be listened to while doing just about any task imaginable, but The Orson Fader typifies such a notion. I look forward to using it as the backdrop to the next novel I attack!