Pink Canoes – Why Do You Think It’s Shaped This Way?

Years ago, back in the academy, a couple of musical folk of the guitar-playing inclination were commissioned to compose a new score to one of Derek Jarman’s later works for a performance at the Greek Theatre at Mills College. We didn’t know it at the time, but the original score to the film was composed by one Psychic Television, arguably at a pivotal moment in their colorful career. Another thing we didn’t know was that this performance would be somewhat pivotal to our own collective canons, but there was only one thing holding us back – a name. For weeks we argued about what would be best – something lasting or something passing. After a few more rehearsals, we decided that the ensemble might have a little more potential than a single 12-minute jam. We argued for a few more weeks, but continually found ourselves hung up on the masturbatory notions of a quintet consisting of four guitarists and a sax player. However, we also happened to be at Mills College at that moment, and the sheer notion of anything masturbatory was greeted with a slight degree of suspicion, if not a veiled political quip from a youngster in the throes of self-discovery. So, after some debate into the matter, two members of the soon-to be christened ensemble delved into euphemisms for something that would appease the nature of the ensemble, as well as the political inclinations of our proposed audience. And thus, by way of aforementioned euphemism, the Pink Canoes were formed.

 And now we fast forward three months or so. Five musicians gather in a marginally-heated room and begin recording. They set up in a circle and begin to play. Some jams came freely, others were conducted, others inspired by outside sources. All were recorded. Weeks later, they gathered again to listen to their pieces and four were selected that best represented what seemed to be a very unique sound – and from them, approximately 100 hand-printed discs were assembled to support the early tour activities of the fledgling Canoes. Since then, the resultant album was relatively unheard of until now, with the digital re-release of “Why Do You Think It’s Shaped This Way?” Somehow, politics notwithstanding, I still don’t think we know…


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