US CD Caciocavallo CAD11
US LPx2 Beta-Lactam Ring MT050
Ryan Moore - bass, drums, percussion, sound processing
Martijn de Kleer - guitars, violin, drums and bass
Qa'Sepel - vox inhumana, keyboards
The Silverman - keyboards, filters, sound processing, voices from beyond
Niels van Hoornblower - saxophones, flute, bass clarinet, percussion
Frank Verschuuren - sound processing
Vinyl edition has a gatefold cover and separate lyric sheet. Also includes a white paper sheet with a pink dot on it.
The vinyl release features slightly different mixes of some tracks.
Power. The unutterable lust for power. How would it be if there was no shame attached to this trait? A belief in yourself as puppet master, shaping lives, moulding a world together that fits you like a glove; ultimately the certainty that only you exist and everyone and everything around you is merely a pliable illusion. The universe can only tolerate so much madness, and as the lust grew, he faded. And nobody forgave or honoured him for his actions because they couldn't remember his name or his face. Deeds, events slipped into history, into mythology, into stories to scare children with, into nursery rhymes of which nobody could decipher the meanings.... Into almost nothing. Almost. And him? Didn't he simply get what he wanted? The last doubts cast aside, a confirmation that only he existed in an empty universe that he had to fill? To fill, but with what? Still the shapes haunted him because they came unbidden, and they slipped away before he could catch them and give them substance. His substance. And still the voices haunted him, because they were not HIS voices yet they were somehow familiar. However, familiarity could never fit in this One-dimension. And he tried to think of nothing, and he applied himself with patience. And he almost succeeded. Almost.
Firmly in their psychedelic- goth period, A Perfect Mystery is one of the more conventional and enjoyable releases in Legendary Pink Dots' extensive discography. The album settles into a pattern where songs begin with a slow, atmospheric start and then increase instrumentation, which turns up the musical tension and explodes in a trippy fury of mad, whirling, musical dervishes, with Edward Ka-Spel's foreboding lyrics wavering over everything. It all comes together perfectly on "Pain Bubbles," where the Silver Man's swirling keyboards and Niels Van Hoorn's sax dance around each other over a pulsating beat. A gentle exception to the pattern, and a standout track, is the gentle groover "Blue," a spacey guitar-and-drums ballad that mutates into ambient dub that evokes drummer Ryan Moore's side project, Twilight Circus Dub Sound System. "When I'm with You" shows the rockier side of the group, a slow groover that intensifies and peaks majestically with an outstanding sax solo. The only misstep is the apocalyptic Appalachian chant "Skeltzer Speltzer." a psychedelic hoedown that sounds like Malcolm Mooney-era Can, but at one-quarter speed. Overall an excellent introduction to the band. Those not afraid of mildly challenging material should dive in enthusiastically. Note that the vinyl version of this album contains different mixes than the compact disc, and also includes an additional track. - James Mason, All Music Guide
I've seen the Legendary Pink Dots in concert twice and have heard live recordings, but this is the first studio album I've heard. Originally released by Soleilmoon in 2000, several of these songs sound familiar, which makes sense as this was the album they were surely supporting when I saw them perform in 2000. The Beta-Lactam release of the CD is a 2-LP set housed in a beautiful gatefold jacket, and includes an entire side (one lengthy track) not on the original CD. The Pink Dots web site discography also notes that the vinyl has different mixes of the tracks. Of the standard Pink Dots styled songs, "Lent", "Pain Bubbles", and "Condition Green" are my favorites. I'm almost certain "Lent" is the song they opened the show with when I last saw them in 2000. I really like the combination of droning ethereal electronics, sax, Martijn de Kleer's guitar, and Ka-Spel's haunting voice. de Kleer has a guitar style that at times reminds me of Dave Gilmour. The song is slow paced but there's a tremendous tension that builds throughout, the electronics and guitar giving a space rock edge to the music. "Pain Bubbles" is similar and culminates in an intense space jam and some more tasty guitar from de Kleer. "Condition Green" is a nice song with a floating psychedelic atmosphere. Acoustic guitar, wah'd electric guitar, flute and bubbly space synths make for a magic carpet ride backing to Ka-Spel's vocals. "When Lenny Meets Lorca" is a 60's pop-psych sounding tune with steady dancey percussion and razor sharp guitar attacks, phased pulsating drones, bubbling space synths, and a flute melody that gives an extra psychedelic kick to the music. A little different but worthy of mention is "Skeltzer Speltzer", a whimsical song that sounds like an avant-garde Celtic pub tune. But the real earcandy for space rock fans is "Godless" and "Premonition 25". "Godless" is a lengthy psychedelic voyage with poetic Daevid Allen styled delivery from Ka-Spel. It includes some of the freakier, and more overtly space rock, music heard on this set and is definitely one of the better headphone tracks. Love those pulsating beats, phased drones, raga styled acoustic music, and swirling electronics. "Premonition 25" is the side long bonus track and showcases the more experimental side of the Pink Dots. It's a Revolution #9 styled freakout journey with lots of oddball voice and sound samples, loops, and space electronics that are both collage styled aggressive and floating ambient. This one's for the dosed audience. It wasn't lost on me that the Legendary Pink Dots pretty well packed the house both times I saw them live. Probably the best crowds I've seen for a band that plays adventurous music that is often in the space rock realm. The band have a knack for good songwriting which may attract the larger audience, and I was impressed with the combination of solid songs and spacey, often experimental, music. I'll have to check out more of their studio releases. - Jerry Kranitz, Aural Innovations
For those of you who have the opportunity to see the tour for this new album, take it, and experience the unique space rock jam sessions that focus on this new material. Their new direction is improvisation and all-out jamming, and the music on this disc is some of a very joyous and new nature to the Pink Dots. The lyrics are wonderful, of course, sticking to Edward's excellent story-telling style, but most of them have a more rhyme-schemed, verse, chorus, verse style that is very out of the ordinary for him. Niels van Hoornblower's winds are throughout the disc, as well as Ryan Moore's distinct dub style and The Silverman's wonderfully eerie and spacey keyboards and effects. Martijn de Kleer mostly plays guitar, it seems, but also adds in superb violins on such tracks as "Skeltzer Spletzer." The CD really brings you back to the show, with a spellbinding and uplifting feeling - upbeat and more solemn tracks alike. As Edward said in a recent interview, a lot of the music on this disc "could never, in fact, be repeated." - Daniel McKernan, Brainwashed
HTEZZSIM...............SING WHILE YOU MAY!
Watched the boulder on the mountain bounce onto her head. I felt I should have warned her, but the first rule's "Nothing said..." So nothing's done...she smashed into little pieces, and me? I simply fled... When she puts herself together, I will hover overhead, crying "Ahhh..." The bigger the catastrophe, the more I hang around to feed on victims lying under me. I make that special sound that makes you laugh yourself to pieces, gets you rolling on the ground, gets you screaming "Ahhhh..." As you slide into the first dimension I pencil in the lines. No matter how grand your intentions, your destiny is all mine. I'm not giving you an answer, I'm just leaving you the time to find out what it's like to be here crying all the the time. Crying "Ahhh...."
We, the starving volunteers; the ones who go without. The shoeless, hair-shirts, bonded, veiled; seekers of the drought now stand before your floral gate to rend these rags and shout your name. In your name. We came to whine, remind you that it's time for endless vigil. On stone cold floors, on ashes or on white hot nails. Slow motion tip-toe and vicious gales that flex then flail then punch from all directions. In your name. Our crosses rotting in the rain, we hang before you in your name.We bear the bitter mark of Cain.
When I'm with You
From here to there in minus time, a spirit casts a line to fish alternatives and Caesar lives. It's 1939. It's Fall. We eat pizzas by the pool...we watch the Christians sing then fall in quadro. 50 legal channels, this one sponsored by St.Paul. Are you playing me? (Where next ?) Year sub-zero here in Baghdad,s uper-heroes stalk the street. The bitter moon looks down and laughs while I lie smoking in the bath with you. Now spray these lips with superglue, I'm lying through my teeth - it's ocean blue in Casablanca, but it's burned out black beneath. Playing me... (where next?) It's All Souls Night. I'm frightened because I'm standing here alone. I watched the last bus fly to Brighton. Now life's empty but it's home. And I skip lightly through the garbage, call you on your mobile phone. The message says you've re-located. "Leave a message...here's the tone." Playing me? (Where next?)
Death of a King
A man's allowed to cry today...to put his feelings on display. No ridicule and no disgrace. We've lost a king, but not his face. And should I fall apart in public, it's allowed. No...it's demanded. Zoom in, see how small I am. I'm humble now but, I hope, big-hearted. Let me be confetti on my grave. And all the secrets kept within these walls are scattered on the wind. He's human now. He's clipped his wings. The king is dead. Long live the king! Black ribbons hang now from his portrait. Candles flicker as the day breaks. Still he mutters, still he shakes...we've lost a king, but not his face. Still we wait for wisdom at his grave.
Everything we feared was swept inside a little box pushed out of sight for many years while we would talk about tomorrow.Two pedestals, a crowded room, we'd both lay out our past but only touch a glass divide that grew a little wider every night. But your memory was hungry and I watched you court your shadows in reverse. And from my corner, I would curse but never say a word. And still I like to think that we shared. Still I like to think we truly cared. And sure we had our dreams, but never dared. Tell me, lover, what's in like in there? In the Blue Room.
When Lenny meets Lorca
I practised in the mirror, dyed my hair black desert blonde. Got dead-drunk porcupine mascara. Learned your habits, sing your songs by heart. The gestures,a ll the subtleties... You're not alone my far-off prince though only I know really what you go through. When Lenny meets Lorca, they'll walk on the water. I know they want a piece of you but I just want to share. I'll throw open all my doors for you, wear orchids in my hair. I've traced your number now and though the message says "Not there!" Hear me, my frustrated prince, as I declare "Come and meet your twin!" When Lenny meets Lorca, they'll walk on the water.
I'm waiting at your bedside. I'm waiting for a sign. I never sleep, "Bleep..bleep" means I'm contented. I'll be fine...And I know it's been a year now, and I know it could be five. Don't care what doctors recommend I'll keep you alive. (No matter what it takes, I'll wait. I'll keep you alive.) Took a liver from a preacher, had that crooked jaw re-shaped. That ol' heart was shipped from Zanzibar. Those arteries have been scraped. When it's over you'll be happy - like being born a second time. Don't care what the neighbours say, I'll keep you alive (No matter what it takes, I'll wait. I'll keep you alive...) If you could only answer me, I know you'd give a nod, and keep that little white light blinking... No I am not playing God. It's the Lord above who pulls the strings, He does not pull the plug. And I remain his humble servant, fingers double-crossed for luck. I'll keep you alive. (No matter what it takes, I'll wait. I'll keep you alive.)
Two bees behind the curtain. We're certain we'll find our way outside. We'll climb the window and when it seems we've never got so high, we'll slide. Those depths we've never met before. I'm tired - I guess you feel the same. We'll try it once again. But we'll slide. Now take your coat and leave the room, ensuring you've locked us safely in. On no account should you assist us. We're desperate. We slide...
Honestly, what I like most of that album is that Pain Bubbles is often played in extended versions on their gigs. The rest of it (except maybe "Death Of A King") is near to simple pop. - Peter Sander
I found this to be one of their best 'recent' albums. While I have always preferred the earlier material, this record seemed to hearken back in some ways. It is definitely an anomaly when you place it in their lineup and I always wondered how this came about. Favorite tracks include Pain Bubbles and When I'm With You (both are fantastic live as someone mentioned). - Adam Webber
I agree...when it came out it revived my interest in the Dots, since it followed several albums that I didn't like very much. I saw them at the Velvet Underground that year and I remember that the show was good, and I think that both Silverman and Ryan Moore opened? It was the only time I saw Moore's solo antics; very goofy, mini-theremin, dildo. Also important to me was that "A Perfect Mystery" had the first good cover image I've seen from the band in years. After the cheap-looking, low-contrast, abstract, Atari 800 graphics of the previous few albums, it was nice to see a moody photographed "concept" image on a big fold-out sleeve. I even liked the font and the text colour (which I remember was discussed here at the time). The album seemed like a nice package. Few of the titles actually relate to the lyrics, which I noticed the Dots have done more and more. So on a casual listen I don't connect the "Mood 159" with any particular song. In fact, is "When Lenny Meets Lorca" the only song whose title is actually in the lyrics? I think so. I like the moodiness of the songs. They're catchy too. It sounds like everybody is playing WITH each other, instead of just noodling away on their own. A long-ago friend of mine (Mark Sherman, are you here?) used to judge Dots albums based on their level of "Horn Integration." While on some of their albums it sounds like Hoornblower added all of his parts during a two-hour session immediately prior to mixing, at other times his horn fits in perfectly. That happened on "Maria Dimension" and it ALSO happens here on "A Perfect Mystery." I too have always been REALLY curious about the story behind the cover art. Who? Maybe THAT is the "perfect mystery." "A Perfect Mystery" should have probably ended with "Blue," though. "Godless" sounds more like a "bonus fourth side" to me...nice but never quite pulls together. "Premonition 25" likewise never caught my attention...must buy a turntable and have another listen. My favourite: "When I'm With You" (has a great, sharp, chugging "Roxy Music" sound to it), "Mood 159" (what "Skeltzer Speltzer" wishes it could be, just off-kilter enough without going overboard), "Blue" (deep washes of reverb and a slide guitar, reminiscent of "9 Lives to Wonder"). - Muffy St. Bernard
I was so disappointed with "From Here You'll Watch the World Go By" (after the wonderful "9 Lives to Wonder") that I didn't listen to the following 3 albums until recently. But now that I've finally heard them, I love them. From this album, I love Skeltzer Speltzer, Mood 159, Blue and When I'm With You. - John Anderson
As for the record itself... i guess I am in the minority, but I have always loved Hallway. Maybe it's because it was my first taste of the Dots, but it has remained one of my favourites by them. I found APM strangely difficult to get into for awhile. The songs were not particularly unusual or challenging in their own right (comparatively!), but there was something about the production or recording of the record that I just couldn't get into for a long while, though I was never sure why. i like the record quite a lot now- Godless, Pain Bubbles and Lent are probably my favourites. However, I have never liked it as much as Hallway, and probably prefer Nemesis Online to it as well. Songs like 'When Lenny Meets Lorca', 'Condition Green', 'Skelter Speltzer' and 'Mood 159' never really stuck with me. I like them enough while listening, but ultimately find them to be a little light or forgettable. Cne interesting thing- 'Condition Green' is one of two LPD songs that I can think of where the lyrics quite directly advocate for a position on some controversial issue that I don't myself agree with (the other being 'Ghosts of Unborn Children'). However, especially in the latter case, this has never stopped me from enjoying the songs. without getting into a discussion about the underlying issues themselves, has anybody found that the political stances taken in songs such as these (or any other) has had an impact on how much you like the song, in either direction? - James Renihan
I do dig this album, it is fun to listen to, but after the depth of the past of their music, this one seemed 'lighter' than some of the others. Maybe less conceptual than some, like the shadow weaver series whose songs formed a whole album, A Perfect Mystery felt more meandering and a collection of tracks they had made. So, while I dig certain songs, the album lacked come cohesiveness to me. There are plenty of great songs here. I do really like Lorca. I hum that one sometimes, even when I haven't listened to this album in a while. It is so damn bouncy and entertaining. Death of a king has an older dots sound, this one is a nice evolution from the Maria Dimension/Any Day Now era stuff, the break in the song near the end with the new vocal fx and how the song starts to really roll along like a train. - Don Poe
Especially Lent and Pain Bubbles stand out for me on this album. Maybe not the album versions which sound a bit sterile compared to how they sounded live. They already played these songs in 1999. A perfect mystery marked the end of what I call the space rock period from the Pink Dots, a period that started around 1996 when had songs like "Andromeda suite" and "The Saucers are coming" on their setlist. Although APM is a good album it doesn't stand out in particular to me. I do however like also very much Premonition 25, the bonus track on the vinyl edition. - Erik Gibbels
I am kind of a fan of the "space rock era" of the dots. Although some tunes on APM are *pop* and although space rock is more or less boring sometimes, the dots' space rock is different. I knew the tracks 1 - 7 (from live shows) before I got the album. My first thought was: "What a terrible cover". But when you unfold it, you have a nice painting on the back and a part of it is also on the disc itself - I like that very much! Although the music is more powerful, when they play the songs live, I like my favourites also on the studio album (Lent, Mood 159, Pain bubbles). I consider the two "When..." songs as some of their weaker ones, but just in comparison to the rest of the album, they're not that bad generally :-). When I'm listening to Skeltzer Spleltzer (what a title), I'm always having Ed with his gestures of sliding insects in my mind. But I was very surprised by the last song "Godless". It has a nice evolution, in a musical sense, maybe they have imrovised something and took the first or maybe second take (there are some magical moments, like on CP 11-13). It's in my TOP 20 of their songs! - Thorsten Wald
APM falls into my Asian Daze, when I was living in Korea, then Japan. It also the time when I took a step back from the dots to focus on the stranger world around me. Thanks to Lisa for sending me a double CDr of a live denver show during this period which helped to introduce me to what i had been missing. I find the first 3 songs of APM extremely strong, as well as Mood and Pain. One thing that has bothered me (in a good way) is "When I'm with you" - it seems to me like this song sounds a lot like another, but perhaps it is just because I heard the live version first... I don't know... Anyway, APM is not an album that i reach for often, but it does get rotation at least once a year. - David Alsemgeest
A perfect mystery. That is a brillant title for an album, isn't it ? It was the last album with Ryan, and I can't help linking both events (the release of apm and Ryan's departure). I remember having seen them in Brussels (VKFee) in Ferbruar 2000, and they were not as positive as the previous time (in Paris, 1999). They played 3 songs I always wanted to see them play live: "Close your eyes, you can be a space captain", "9 shades to the circle" and "Premonition 13" (which is titled DEmolition 13 on the "Farwell milky way" live CD released the same year although recorded 1994 ), 3 songs which deal with death, destruction and rebirth, reconstruction. That is exactly what apm is to me: the end of an extraordinary era exploding like a star giving birth to new ones. At this show in Brussels, they also played 2 new songs which would appear on the still unreleased apm: "Lent" and "Pain bubbles", both very powerfull, surely the most powerfull pieces on the album, still very Ryan-influenced. The rest of the album, which was not played on this night, sounds to me like "exploring new ways without Ryan", giving some directions for the forthcoming releases. This one sounds very sad to me, for I remain a great fan of the Ryan-era, but I like it. - Wandrille.
Last great album with Ryan. Good to see he's doing well with da dub thing. Lent, a great track to start a show out with and they did for the USA tour. When I'm With You, is still one of the best pop songs. The stand out line for me is, "Now spray these lips with super glue, I'm lying through my teeth". Skeltzer Spletzer, the singing reminds me of Syd Barrett. Mood 159, leftover from Nemesis Online? Pain Bubbles, tour de force, nuff said! Blue, just bone chrushing chord progression decay that just brings me to my knees. Thanks Ed!! I love playing this one before, during and after having the flu. Condition Green is a lovely acoustic strumming song even if the topic is about a loved one in a coma. Death Of A King and Godless just play out the album great in typical LPD style. As far as the artwork goes, it kinda reminds of the latter episodes of Twin Peaks with the scenes in the room with the curtains and the whispering dialog. Or is it just Count Dracula having supper with his disciples? - Rod LeCloux
Like a lot of people said, it took me a while to get into this album, even though I loved hearing the new songs live when they played Pittsburgh that year. It seems like several of the songs go on a bit too long for the recording. My favourite song on this one has to be When I'm With You. When I got married a couple years ago, we did all our own music and the only LPD song I could convince my wife to let me play was this one. (No, she's not a big fan of the Pink Dots.) Anyway, it was close to the end of the night, most of the older guests/relatives had left, and it was just us with all our friends and LOTS of alcohol. Everyone was dancing and acting crazy already, but as soon as When I'm With You came on, we went even crazier. That song is so crazy and so layered and there's so much frenzy it's just great. Blasting from the speakers at the reception was almost like having the Dots there playing it live for us and it was great. I always think of that now when I hear that song. :) Godless is one of those strange songs that I barely even notice is happening until about the 6 minute mark when it starts to get weird and wonderful and suddenly, without me realizing it, my ears perk up and take notice. I love the way this album ends. - Justin Baldonieri
A Perfect Mystery . . when I first listened to this album it never really grabbed me massively on an emotional level, but I still kind of enjoyed it just for the basic fact that it was the Dots - those sounds, that approach, that voice, the humour , the intensity, the textural devices . .. . . I have been listening from day one (...one day...!) and though my heart was captured within the reverse primitivism of the first few releases, i only have to compare any recent dots album to any other band of these times to remind myself that even if a new album is not my favourite - it still somehow sparkles so much brighter than many of the alternatives. Someone said its too much like a pop(ular) album ... strange how that could make it less popular..... in fact it does follow many verse/chorus/mid8 structures and contain devices like the vocal/saxophone call and response , or the perfectly placed instrumental solos. But there are constant reminders too of the music being dragged away from the more conventional arrangements as though too afraid to settle in conformity. Unfortunately I never got to see them live during this period , it sounds like the songs here worked great in a live setting. But, here I am re-listening to the album all week - and now I am hooked , loving it , repeating it, finding new paths through it, and connecting to it on a level I never did before!! On the whole I feel the production is okay, a little shiny perhaps, vocal are settled inside the mix rather than on top like usual. though I am not keen on the electric guitar production -sounds a bit too saturated, like some transistor amp modeling pre-set. In fact the overall sound is quite vibrant, but i suppose the instrumentation is very robust and extensive so most frequency bands are consumed somehow and as a result the 'Studio' is used less an an instrument and more as a mixer. I would love to do an analysis of Edward's vocal melodies sometime to try and get to the bottom of how he manages to endlessly repeat melodic motifs but with just enough variation in every track to make each one unique ! Quite a challenge with such a vast output. . . . .. and I challenge anyone on this list to reach a note as low as he does in the final sung chorus of "Slide . . . Slide . . ." in Skeltzer Speltzer . . . . . . - Paul Rogers