satin black 2xlp
Let me get this out of the way: Paik's second album, Corridors is hugely underrated, under-distributed, and criminally obscure. Using a wash of colors previously mastered by Kevin Shields, they repainted their harsh view of American psychedelic instrumental rock with surprising clarity. Two albums later, they finally find themselves on a label well suited to establishing them a proper fanbase, alongside such peers as Kinski, Surface of Eceyon, Cul de Sac, and Vocokesh.

In fact, last year Paik shared a CD with Kinski and Surface of Eceyon as part of the Music Fellowship's tryptych series. Their contribution offered two sides of the band - guitar rock mode, and crushing walls of sound/drone. Expanding upon these balancing tendencies, Satin Black toes the line between the two unlike any of their previous full lengths, while digging much deeper into the darker vibes they've always hinted at.

The opener "Jayne Field" could fit on any of their previous efforts. Its gradual build and jangly wall of sound climb to a roar, which quickly finds itself at the mercy of the rhythmic "Dirt for Driver." At this point in the record, the "pop" (using the term very, very loosely) songs end.

From here on, there are 3 side-long tracks, all breaking the 10-minute mark. Also from here on, the songs start to sound less like they came from a band that started in the same scene as Fuxa, Windy + Carl, and Transient Waves. Rather, they hint at the damaged and crushing sonics of a scene far heavier: drone metal's godfathers Earth and The Melvins (well, some of their records) come to mind, as do Sunn0))). "Stellar Meltdown in el Oceano" is nearly 15 minutes of distorted waves of crackling guitar chords, feedback, and cymbal washes. Not for the weary, that's for sure, but an exciting direction for the band.

This new album shows Paik once again gaining momentum, hopefully to record the equivalent of their masterpiece Corridors as filtered through the slightly fractured view they seem to be working to crack and distort more and more with each release.

reviewed by: Sean Hammond for Fakejazz

How do you describe an album like this? Paik's work falls under the instrumental drone rock banner, but it is so noisy and aggressive that I can't help thinking it would make for one pretty messed up acid trip. Right off the get-go, Satin Black is an aural assault - "Jaynefield" opens with a brooding guitar line to set things up, before jumping into a chugging, metal-influenced slab of rock. It's actually surprisingly accessible, as Paik seems content to wait awhile before heading into the more experimental realm of feedback and drone. Second track "Dirt For Driver" covers that base - it's an uplifting, echoing hunk of psych-metal abstraction. Riffs keep things vaguely structured, but as a whole it's a pretty atmospheric piece of music.

"Satin Black," at fifteen minutes, finally drops off the deep end; a dreamy work of acid drone, it makes no apologies and doesn't even pretend to be accessible. What starts off with a distinct rhythm and a growling bass riff eventually disintegrates into a reverberating, chaotic hollowness. Every semblance of melody is buried so deep in the mess you'd need a pneumatic drill to extract it. "Dizzy Stars," meanwhile, is sludgy and suffocating - a descent into the netherworlds of existence. The haunting, beatless "Stellar Meltdown En El Oceano" finishes things up in pure ambient drone territory.

Paik makes powerful drone metal music that is worth a listen if you're into the instrumental psychedelia noise genre. Despite all the feedback and chaos, they are still considerably more accessible than most acts working under the same genre, and will therefore make for a fine introductory course. Satin Black is apocalyptic fun.

reviewed by: Matt Shimmer for Indieville

There's a very good chance that Paik won't be appreciated in their own time -- they sprung from an astounding space rock tradition that nestled other (formerly) underappreciated bands, like Spacemen 3, Flying Saucer Attack and Loop, tight to its bosom. But it seems that such misapprehensions and general malaise are simply a rite of passage for the 'gazer set; godheads My Bloody Valentine weren't fanatically worshipped until they hung up their six-strings, and the heaps of praise eventually afforded everyone from Jason Pierce to the Quickspace boys came after they'd either given up the plot or moved on to greener pastures. Epic, bold and brash, Paik are a continuation of that natural order...so their maniacal praise should begin sometime around the year 2024.

The entire enveloping scope of Paik's immense oeuvre is akin to sitting in a darkened room, staring at a candle as it slowly burns down into a puddle of wax and glistening embers -- it's almost painfully methodical, yet retains an air of mystery and triumph usually reserved for soulless arena-rock bombast. The galaxy-crushing power of Satin Black is seven years in the making, a fully-realized byproduct of three Michiganites with too little to do and copies of Can's Tago Mago and Bark Psychosis's Hex at their immediate disposal.

Paik recently toured with fellow interstellar noise gonks Kinski, and the depth of that band's influence shows as tracks like "Dirt for Driver" erupt in a hail of crashing guitars and molten rhythmic uprisings. Far more cunning that most bands of their ilk, Paik realize the immense value of, to quote Brian Jonestown Massacre, "bravery, repetition and noise". Each of Satin Black's five compositions begins subtly, with a gargling drone or stubbly drum pattern, then slowly, carefully spirals upwards into a cloud of cacophonous beauty and gut-wrenching precision. The title track is a masterpiece of noise-based songwriting, thirteen minutes of textured feedback, garrulous drumming and pinprick bass notes, often redolent of Mogwai's crowning achievement, Young Team.

These songs' sheer duration will be enough for some to proclaim Satin Black an exercise in tedium -- which, depending on your attention span, means you'll either see the songs for what they truly are (carefully constructed walls of noise laced with gorgeous glissandi and hair-raising lows) or lose focus and let your mind wander to a place where songs are crammed full of sucker-punch hooks and blazing choruses, and Krautrock has yet to be invented.

reviewed by: Jason Jackowiak for Splendid

I first heard Paik through the indie label Clairecords' website. I then went out and bought its last proper full-length, Orson Fader. I thought that it was a pretty good record even though the first couple of tracks took some time before I warmed up to them. Satin Black is Paik's third full-length, and it seems that the band has only grown over the past couple of years through experience in the Michigan scene to which it belongs.

Satin Black is a far better record than I ever expected this band to make. The five tracks here seem to bleed into one another to make what seems like one long drone. This is not a bad thing at all. It allows the listener to choose where they want to start their audio adventure each time. Satin Black is also much much heavier than Orson Fader, sounding like an instrumental My Bloody Valentine on steroids paying homage to Black Sabbath. It is incredibly hard to believe that there are only three members in this band because the noise is so utterly dense that the first time I listened to this record it made me sick, literally. The low-end frequencies hit you right in the gut while the high end pierce your ears with deafening squall. This is very intense stuff.

Satin Black doesn't really beg to be analyzed on a track-by-track basis because after the opening arpeggios of "Jayne Field," the rest of the record blurs together through "Dirt for Driver," the title track, "Dizzy Stars," and "Stellar Meltdown En El Oceano." Most of the songs on Satin Black are over 10 minutes with the exception of "Jayne Field;" two of them clock in at around 15 minutes. Many bands wouldn't know what to do with this amount of time allotted for songs, but Paik takes it to the bank, providing a backdrop of psychedelic noise for these stunning arrangements to stretch out upon. I highly suggest that any fans of Mogwai, Mono, or Explosions in the Sky pick this record up immediately; you will not be disappointed.

reviewed by: Joe Davenport for Delusions of Adequacy

Albums are sometimes best understood in terms of the circumstances under which you might want to listen to them. Think of Mojo magazine asking a handful of quasi-celebrities each month to pick a "Saturday Night" and "Sunday Morning" record; Loren Connors' The Departing of a Dream, for example, should only be legally available between 11 p.m. and 4 a.m., while Sam Prekop's solo record makes sense on a cheery day when the sunlight is streaming through the window..

When listening to Satin Black, the fourth record by the instrumental guitar/bass/drum trio Paik, I'm struck with a paradox. This is the perfect soundtrack for a dark room in a dank basement that has been sealed off completely from a disgustingly sunny day, so it's daytime music of a different sort. Paik make the kind of slow, drop-D guitar sludge that alienated suburban kids have been getting stoned to since Black Sabbath entered the fray. Nighttime is about dreams and endless possibility and daytime is for making things happen; Satin Black is about disengaging from the cycle altogether.

I mention Sabbath only as an indicator of mood; Paik are not metal, though they are certainly heavy. The touchstones of their sound are ultimately much more contemporary, as they combine Sonic Youth's experiments in tuning and atonal riffage with Bardo Pond's krautrock-channeling rhythmic thrust. Guitarist Robert Smith's instrument often seems as though it has only a couple of loosely wound strings (such is the nature of his bottom-focused stabs and endless ripples of sustain), which is amplified by the fact that he often wraps his lines completely around those of the bass guitar. The drummer focuses on a thudding style of heavy rock "groove" while making heavy use of crash and ride cymbals to maintain an air of mysticism, the sharp metal percussion connecting with our subconscious vision of the gypsy caravan.

I would say that Paik chug forward like a poorly lubed steam train, but since they're from Michigan, perhaps a souped-up but rusted-out 1978 Crown Victoria would be a better metaphor. In any event, Paik construct an unpredictable ramshackle clang, always just on the verge of falling apart, around a core of serious power. The detuned three-note riff of "Jayne Field" combined with the Bonham-esque percussion stomp creates a tension that the tumbling middle refrain releases nicely. "Dirt for Driver" and the title track, meanwhile, find the guitar leaving the massive central bass riff to explore acidic upper-register runs, at times exhibiting a touching lyricism. The songs are all on the long side, of course, befitting a band that aligns itself with the Michigan space-rock scene, and Satin Black culminates in the 15-minute closer "Stellar Meltdown en el Oceano", an extended feedback drone with the drummer laying out that could be understood as a tribute to the sonic ambience of Detroit industry.

Even if Satin Black is heavy and bleak music for dropping out, I'm certainly not knocking it. In fact, we need those kinds of records desperately. A few hours wallowing alone with records like this one can be cathartic in its own way, like pushing the "pause" button on your life, and it's sure a lot better for you than heroin. You can always open the curtains after you've spent some time down here working things out.

reviewed by: Mark Richardson for Pitchfork Media