Pete Um ‎– Giraffe

Grist ‎– 0009
Vinyl, LP


Edition of 250 LPs. Reissue of 2004 CD-R release of the same name.


Reissue time on Grist again as 2004's supposed meisterwerk Giraffe gets a deluxe rebirth on wax, remastered and with a proper full colour cover and labels and everything, although the homemade inserts are keeping it real obviously. 250 copies, so a limited run - but not to the extent that The New Album and Babysitting The Apocalypse were (100 each). All Um records are compilations, apparently, but this is more of a discrete piece of work than most and is perhaps the better for it. It has been described as the zenith of Um's gnostic electronic rock. There's a piece of text to go with this edition written by Matt “Woebot” Ingram attached, and also a great review of the original CD-R lifted from the Kid Shirt blog. If anyone can help get this record heard, on sale or sold please contact Pete Um any way you can.

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I can just imagine Pete flicking through his old MiniDiscs: “Nah that’s too early to be from the Giraffe sessions”, or “Too late, that will never do…” Like Brian Wilson must have been sifting through tracks for the SMiLE reissue project. “Yeah well, y’see, technically speaking that belongs to Wild Honey…” Because that’s the way the way Pete works. Constantly making stuff. Stuff it seems he isn’t quite sure what to do with. Mere mortals set out to start and finish an LP but real creativity doesn’t work that way. Pete’s friend Dave Nochexx agrees to put together a compilation of his friend’s work but throws in the towel in a fit of exhaustion and rage. How to deal with the torrent of DMT-addled DATs? How the hell to marshal Pete Um? Um.

However there is something about “Giraffe”; something that deserves to be conceived as a discrete artistic object. The album is unostentatiously special. In a creative life it can happen once or twice, when the stars align and when what an artist is doing gains an unexpected cosmic resonance. Sometimes the world notices. “Giraffe” came out first in 2004. Looking back, sheesh, that was a bad year for LPs. Only Joanna Newsom’s “Milk-Eyed Mender” and Kanye West’s “The College Dropout” seem to have stood the test of time. It’s a shame then that “Giraffe” didn’t register on the landscape. It’s one of those historic travesties, like why no one clocked S.Y.P.H’s “4LP”, The Numbers Band’s “Jimmy Bell’s Still In Town” or The Monks “Black Monk Time”. It is a stone-cold classic.

Um displays here a knack for minute-long pop perfection. They have the vestige of verse, chorus and bridge but does that mean these songs should repeat each thrice? Fizzing with witty, daft, hilarious, goofy, drunk, stoned, gloomy but always self-deprecating lyrics; sonic ideas bounce off the walls. Never dreaming to outstay its welcome "Giraffe" is a universe unto itself. At its centre is the beguiling Um – the racehorse that won’t run.

Matthew Ingram

March 2013"

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