There is something to be said when you’re an obsessed fan over a certain band or even record. For the hardcore record collectors, that means getting each and every single variant and pressing and release version there is. At least if you’re a completist asshole like myself. There is no denying my undying love with the 90’s Louisville hardcore and punk scene. It’s been mentioned and posted about ad nauseum. Living In Louisville at the time, I was involved in the scene as a fan and I got not only see some great bands whose music shaped who I became and still am, but also I was able to make lifelong friendships with.
Although only a few years older than myself, SLINT were already a band whose name and music were whispered in reverence and almost like kept a secret in the scene. By the time, the Spiderland LP was released, it was already treated as a peak of the artistic music scene in town. And it deservedly was. Great record that was unlike anything else I had heard at the time and since. Funny enough I never owned a copy of the record on vinyl, so when Touch & Go rolled out the very massive box set for the remastered edition earlier this year, I jumped all over it. Especially with all added material like demos, the documentary DVD Breadcrumb Trail, signed book edition, etc. But alas, I received it and didn’t get around to opening it. So T&G later on opted to release a more singular edition of just the record with the DVD. I ordered that as well figuring it would be a more accessible listening copy.
To say that that this reissue is spectacular would be an understament. From the Green & Black Swirl color choice for the 180g vinyl on the more limited edition version to the gatefold and 12 page booklet inside, this is what all great reissues should look like.
The remastering by Bob Weston on these recordings is beyond great. Sure there was an uniqueness and rawness to the original recordings as they were and that was part of the charm that set Spiderland and Slint apart from everyone else. But the remastered recordings open up the sounds and feels as though each and every instrument and note breathe in a more spacious landscape. Nothing is taken away from the original magic found in the record. It feels as though listening to the record for the first time ever with a new set of ears and understanding.
Watching the Breadcrumb Trail DVD proved to be a very emotional task. In a nutshell, I was right there in the music scene at the time and knew personally a lot of the folks featured in the documentary. It was heartwrenching specifically to see someone like Jason Noble, who I had met a number of times, in what looks like his last days before passing away from cancer. It also made feel extremely nostalgic to see some of themembers of bands like Maurice, Kinghorse, and Rodan, as not only I got to see them a number of times back then, but also being reminded of some of the friendships I still have with a few people and the few lost as well. And of course it made me want to see a more comprehensive documentary or film covering the entire Louisville hardcore and punk scene of those days.
Slint’s Spiderland is one of those record that never leaves you. Once you listen to it for the first time it stays with you and gets ingrained into your mind and heart. Musically and lyrically, it’s jagged and non-linear and won’t make sense to any passive music fan. But to someone who truly sees and hears what is beyond the surface, a true gem of music is in your hands. That heart and passion in the music and within yourself, is what makes a great record that will stand the test of time and changes of music scenes and tastes.
As I’ve grown older and expanded my tastes in music and gone beyond just aggressive music, Spiderland will be one of those top whatever lists records that will never lose its place and I can always go back to at any time. Immense gratitude for Slint to have created this. It means a lot to a lot of people including myself.