Retrospective | Slint
I was working in a used bookstore in Pasadena, California at the time…
While anecdotes alluding to a first listening have become trite and are often superfluous, hearing that tone an enthusiasm from a man that I shared most waking moments with (often doing no less than chain-smoking while creating/discussing our latest musical ventures) was a bit of a shock. I soon after came to realise that experience embodied the impact Slint had on musicians my age within our little subculture. Slint somehow managed to stay in my periphery for years, yet all the while they were shaping the ideas of my peers and predecessors. They were completely off the grid through my life–I had never heard of them and they were never mentioned. Yet somehow through inquiry, I discovered that my closest friends and band mates had been life-long fans, and I quickly discovered that while not many had known of the band, everyone that explored enough to find them had internalized and adopted their music.
Later that night in the library of a mansion, Tweez was played for me so that I would fully absorb the discography. It didn’t take long for me to begin to realise the role Slint’s music had in influencing the albums I had become so fond of. Slint can be recognised by disjunctive change, wholesome timbres and seemingly diegetic noises ranging anywhere from the vocal mumbling style to shattering glass. If you can decode either of the vocal extremes, the lyrics are profound and read quite close to poetry set to music (and as thorough in depicting scenery and situations as the likes of veterans Leonard Cohen and Tom Waits). Slint became a missing link in music evolution: the ancestor to what I myself had been attempting to create. The music was powerful for us that night, just as those two albums are still so meaningful am never diminished in their influential relevance. So familiar to the styles I have adopted, I hear Slint echo through my past and present as there has always been a faint resemblance.
Contextualising the music to its era, we see exactly why the band was met with such praise: no one was making music the way they were, and to this day, that claim stands strong.