photo manipulation by nacrowe
when i first came across SLINT's second record SPIDERLAND (TOUCH AND GO, 1991) record years ago, i remember how it had a visceral and immediate quality yet somehow simultaneously seemed opaque and inaccessible, almost like MARK ROTHKO painting. ROTHKO paintings hit you on an emotional level, for me at least, and leave you attempt to meet it on an intellectual level before you give up and just acquiesce to the art itself. that was how i felt about that album in general. much like JAZZ, it is a sublime moment in time with no discernible narrative or entry point other than the seduction of the music itself.
in the intervening years since its release the album and the band have manifest a cult following and a certain mystique, probably because by the time of its release the band had broken up and never toured it. BREADCRUMB TRAIL (2014) is a film that attempts to explore the band , the HARDCORE scene they came out of in KENTUCKY and of course the record itself. interviews with peers such as DAVID YOW (THE JESUS LIZARD), IAN MCKAYE (MINOR THREAT / FUGAZI) and JAMES MURPHY (LCD SOUNDSYSTEM), producers STEVE ALBINI and BRIAN PAULSON as well as TOUCH AND GO RECORD founder COREY RUSK and the band members themselves (BRITT WALFORD, BRIAN MCMAHAN, DAVID PAJO, TODD BRASHEAR and ETHAN BUCKLER.
as much as these interviews are conducted with an eye towards transparency, its interesting to hear the band members discuss the creative process. if anything, the process is in-keeping with the dual DIY ethic of being prepared and putting your time into the craft while also recognizing the importance of being in the moment. there is a looseness to the record that comes with establishing a chemistry between players. again, it is almost like a great JAZZ combo, that unspoken connection. it was interesting listening to the members struggle to identify the spark or reason behind the record coming out the way it did. it just did. they had a weekend to record, they were prepared and just went for it. lightning in a bottle.
and then just left it, purity intact.
for me this documentary doesnt really affect my appreciation for the record. it just provides context to scene that helped influence it, bands such as KILLDOZER, BIG BLACK and THE JESUS LIZARD. that SPIDERLAND sounds nothing like such only further cements its uniqueness. that members of SLINT previously played in a straight-up METAL band as teenagers who opened for SAMHAIN on tour of all things was a pretty unexpected surprise as well.
if you are a fan of INDIE ROCK or appreciate its influence on 90s ALTERNATIVE ROCK, then this documentary is well worth your time.