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Legendary Pink Dots, "Chemical Playschool 11, 12 & 13"

This is definitely one of the most ambitious releases in months and isquite possibly the most ambitious LPD release to date. This three CDset is composed of nearly all unreleased music, with the exception oftwo tracks from the LP edition of 'Nemesis Online' ("10th Shade," and"Schatten").
The spirit recalls that of the very first ChemicalPlayschool cassettes. Volumes 1 and 2 were released together overtwenty years ago, collecting various recordings that were eitheralternate versions, compilation tracks or completely unreleased songssharing one common characteristic: they never graced a full-length LPDalbum. In addition to that, unlike Volumes 8, 9, or 10, each disccontains nearly all the songs on one track. Just like good old cassettetapes, you hit play at the start and the hassle of scanning thoughtracks isn't worth bothering enough to find your favorite songs.Another parallel is the expense of mediums: both in 1981 and 2001 themost expensive commonly produced music medium is vinyl (CDs weren't-that- common until the mid-late 1980s). Cassettes were the mostaffordable medium then and CDs are the most affordable ones now. EachCD in this set captures a similar "home made" feel to them: lying instandard jewel boxes, absent of UPC codes, URLs, and even copyrightnotices. The music is a much welcomed return to form—considerably areturn to an absence of form—with varying styles from beat-lessatmospheric tracks, rhythmic grooves, hypnotic loops, a waltz or two,proverbial Ka-Spelian stories, kraut-rock jams, sparse soundscapes withhammering guitar bits, flute pieces, and electronic noises. The songs,strung together without silent pauses, have been collected over theyears, dating back to as early as 1992 it seems, with very ShadowWeaver-like production qualities in parts, and more recent qualities inother parts. Home recordings from Ka-Spel and the Silverman sound likethey have made their way onto the collection, as well as full-forceband recordings where the drumming and bass guitar work is undoubtedlythe work of departed member Ryan Moore. For any long-time LPDs fanwhose interest has been waning over the last few years, a collectionlike this is certainly enough to re-ignite the love. The magic is back.It certainly has worked for me. Be careful as this Chemical Playschoolset demands your undivided attention and doesn't fare well asbackground music or driving music.