Moon Pix

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Moon Pix
Studio album by Cat Power
Released September 22, 1998
Recorded November 7, 1996
January 1998 at Sing Sing Studio in Melbourne, Australia
Genre Indie rock
Electric folk
Sadcore
Length 46:19
Label Matador
Producer Matt Voigt
Cat Power chronology
What Would the Community Think
(1996)
Moon Pix
(1998)
The Covers Record
(2000)

Moon Pix is the fourth album by American singer-songwriter Cat Power (a.k.a. Chan Marshall). It was released in September 1998 on Matador Records.

The album features Mick Turner and Jim White, of the Australian instrumental band Dirty Three, on guitar and drums, respectively.

Music[edit]

According to Cat Power: A Good Woman by Elizabeth Goodman, several songs on the album - "No Sense," "Say," "Metal Heart," "You May Know Him" and "Cross Bones Style" - were written "in one deranged night," following a hallucinatory nightmare Marshall had in the fall of 1997, while alone in the South Carolina farmhouse she shared with then-boyfriend, Bill Callahan. "I got woken up by someone in the field behind my house in South Carolina," she explained, "The earth started shaking, and dark spirits were smashing up against every window of my house. I woke up and I had my kitten next to me...and I started praying to God to help me...So I just ran and got my guitar because I was trying to distract myself. I had to turn on the lights and sing to God. I got a tape recorder and recorded the next sixty minutes. And I played these long changes, into six different songs. That's where I got the record." [1]

Recording[edit]

Moon Pix was recorded at Sing Sing Studio in Melbourne, Australia by house engineer Matt Voigt. In a 2006 interview with Mess+Noise, Voigt revealed that he had not heard of Marshall, and refused to start work on New Year's Day, as requested by the studio. Work on the album started the following day, with Marshall arriving with her guitar and asking Voigt how he wanted to set up for recording. She sang and played guitar at the same time, with a small guitar amplifier in one room, and Marshall singing into a microphone in another room.

The album's opener, "American Flag," features a slowed-down reversed drum sample from the 1986 Beastie Boys song, "Paul Revere." According to Voigt, Marshall appeared with a copy of the song on album in her bag, and requested a "backwards drum beat," which Marshall then recorded on top of.[2] The sample is uncredited on Moon Pix.

Voigt recalls that Marshall was "a lovely lady. Very emotional. We would do takes and she'd just start crying in the middle of a take. And she'd say 'Stop, stop, I'm sorry, I'm sorry' and I'm like "'It sounded great!'" [3]

According to Voigt, the Dirty Three members joined the studio most likely on the second day. White played drums over vocals and guitar already recorded by Marshall, and all three musicians recorded two songs live with bassist Andrew Entsch on double bass.[3]

Release[edit]

No singles were released for Moon Pix, although a music video directed by Brett Vapnek was released for the song "Cross Bones Style."

Reception[edit]

Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
About.com 5/5 stars[4]
Allmusic 4.5/5 stars[5]
Rolling Stone 4.5/4.5 stars[6]

Moon Pix has been called Cat Power's "magnum opus" and "a true masterpiece of emotional shading and compositional clarity." [3] Critics cited it as evidence of Marshall's maturation as a songwriter, with Heather Phares of Allmusic writing that "Moon Pix continues Chan Marshall's transformation from an indie rock Cassandra into a reflective, accomplished singer/songwriter." [7] Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone called it "even stronger" than her previous album, What Would the Community Think (1996), and wrote that "it still holds up as one of the Nineties great singer/songwriter triumphs." [8]

The album is referenced in Jeffrey Brown's 2005 graphic novel, "Aeiou: An Easy Intimacy," as part of the 'Soundtrack Side A'.

The album's cover was reenacted by the Shins on their 2001 music video for "New Slang," along with album covers by Hüsker Dü, the Replacements, the Minutemen, Squirrel Bait, Sonic Youth and Slint.

Track listing[edit]

  1. "American Flag" – 3:30
  2. "He Turns Down" – 5:39
  3. "No Sense" – 4:50
  4. "Say" – 3:24
  5. "Metal Heart" – 4:02
  6. "Back of Your Head" – 3:43
  7. "Moonshiner" (traditional) – 4:50
  8. "You May Know Him" – 2:46
  9. "Colors and the Kids" – 6:35
  10. "Cross Bones Style" – 4:32
  11. "Peking Saint" – 2:28

Personnel[edit]

  • Chan Marshall - guitar, vocals, piano
  • Mick Turner - guitar, engineer
  • Mark Ohe - imperialized
  • Frank Longo - imperialized
  • Belinda Woods - flute
  • Matt Voigt - engineer
  • Jim White - drums
  • Andrew Entsch - bass
  • Roe Ethridge - photography

References[edit]

  1. ^ Goodman, Elizabeth (2009). Cat Power: A Good Woman. Three Rivers Press. ISBN 978-0-307-39636-5. 
  2. ^ "Recording Cat Power : Mess+Noise". Messandnoise.com. 2006-03-25. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  3. ^ a b c "Recording Cat Power : Mess+Noise". Messandnoise.com. 2006-03-25. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  4. ^ "About.com review". Altmusic.about.com. 1998-09-22. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  5. ^ Allmusic review
  6. ^ "Rolling Stone review". Rolling Stone. Retrieved 2011-10-10. 
  7. ^ Phares, Heather (1998-09-22). "Moon Pix - Cat Power". AllMusic. Retrieved 2010-12-10. 
  8. ^ By  Rob Sheffield (2010-04-10). "Cat Power | Rolling Stone Music". Rollingstone.com. Retrieved 2010-12-10.