The Legendary Pink Dots

Basilisk

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Basilisk first came out as a Third Mind Records cassette in 1983. It was reissued (both legitimately and bootlegged) a few times in the same format during the '80s by small European labels, including the Legendary Pink Dots' own favorite Dutch imprint, TeKa. The album finally received wider circulation in 2002 when TeKa reissued it on CD in collaboration with the U.S. label Beta-Lactam Ring Records. The album ranks among the Dots' experimental releases. It features a few songs typically dominated by repetitive keyboard chords and Edward Ka-Spel's murmur beyond the grave. But for each song included, there's a disquieting instrumental piece. They provide a suitable soundtrack for walks through the local cemetery on a foggy night, especially "Basilisk 2," which used to conclude the original album. In keeping with the cassette esthetics, the CD reissue lumps the material from each side into two 30-minute tracks. Beside the usual suspects (Ka-Spel and Phil Knight), the lineup includes guitarist Barry Gray, violinist/keyboardist Patrick Paganini, drummer Keith G. Thompson, and singer April Iliffe, although these musicians seem to appear only on the bonus tracks. The sound of the main album is dominated by keyboards. "The Ocean Cried Blue Murder a Ferry in a Storm on a Walkman" is a dark folk song recorded direct-to-Walkman. "Ideal Home" (which first appeared on Atomic Roses, 1982) is presented in a previously unreleased version from 1981. The bonus tracks have a shaky sound quality, but Basilisk itself sounds quite good considering that the master tapes have been lost.

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