Produced by David Thomas.
Out Of Print.
The Wire, Edwin Pouncey, March '98, pp.59-60
As slick, slippery and dangerous as a tank of electric eels... It is hard to not be moved by their huge surges of power and passion. The greatest thing about Pennsylvania, though, is how Pere Ubu suck you in and hold you fast, and for 70 minutes you're convinced that they're the greatest out-rock 'n' roll group of this millennium, and probably the next."
Greil Marcus, "Double Trouble" (Faber and Faber)
What comes into view is a secret country: barely recognizable, and undeniable. And it's a thrill to hear, now, all of David Thomas's voices swirling around the listener, on the street. Pennsylvania seems to draw out of its own spectral geography and that street can be wherever you find yourself...
Mojo, Joe Cushley, April '98
A truth-defining album... Ubu are generally regarded as the missing link between the Velvets and punk. From the beginning they obviously understood the nuts and bolts of popular music, and then loosened them.
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Cooking Vinyl USA celebrates the Pere Ubu's 30th year anniversary with the release of The Director's Cut version of Pennsylvania. Released in 1998, American critic and author Greil Marcus voted it #1 in that year's Village Voice Pazz & Jop Music Critics Poll. It landed in Billboard's Best Albums Of The Year, and was Top 10 in The Wire's best of the year.
"The point of doing a Director's Cut is to benefit from that older and wiser thing," David Thomas explains. "I reviewed all alternate mixes from the session, sometimes discovering that an earlier mix turned out to be superior to the chosen mix. As well, 10 years later, we have access to improved mastering technology. Consequently, there is a greater clarity and cohesion to the Director's Cut. We are not going to make both versions available. The Director's Cut is the way it's supposed to be. Period."
The disc was re-mastered at Suma by David Thomas and Paul Hamann in early 2005. Alternate mixes andor edits of "Monday Morning," "Woolie Bullie," "Urban Lifestyle," "Muddy Waters," and "Drive" were substituted. Previously "hidden" tracks, "Fly's Eye (alt mix)" and "My Name Is..." were unhidden. ("My Name Is..." now appears as a shortened version.) The out-take "Dr Sax" was added as a bonus track as well as a live version of "SAD.TXT." The packaging has been redesigned in the jewel case format with a 4 page color booklet. A "Director's Cut" logo appears on the front cover.
"My Name Is..." was recorded live in a rehearsal studio. Jim Jones is playing organ and triggering the drum machine. David Thomas is playing the voices from a Mac.
"Dr Sax" features Tom Herman on sax and Steve Mehlman on foot steps.
Engineered by Paul Hamann.
Usual self-defeating press release
[The following is the text of the press release for the album.]
Note from record company press agent:
Is there any concept behind the lp? Are there any underlying themes? Is there anything we can say to provide journalists with pointers to aid their understanding of the lp? Where does David see it in relation to his body of work? Basically, it helps enormously if we can offer any guidelines to journalists in understanding the record. Please elucidate.
Response from David:
I will try to help but you gotta understand that I find it an impossible and frustrating task to explain things. That's why I got into rock. Rock music as an art is designed to communicate that which is beyond words. It's visionary, nonlinear, nonverbal, non-narrative, inarticulate. We're dedicated to the art of cohesive, intelligent, nonverbal communication. And then we're supposed to explain it?!?!? With WORDS!? Ah well...
Is there a concept?
Are there any underlying themes?
Is there anything we can say to provide journalists with pointers to aid their understanding of the lp?
So what can I say?
Pere Ubu is a rock band. We are the custodians of the avant-garage.
We had the misfortune to have a dream and vision at an early age that was too powerful to shake in older life. If you're young enough and if the vision is strong enough, you will never lose it-- like the people who became communists in the '30s. They had no alternative but to continue. With us, it's a similar thing. We saw what rock music should be and could be and nothing less than that would ever do for us.
Where does David see it in relation to his body of work?
Facts about Pennsylvania we think are important:
A picture to look at:
Photo by Jim Jones, featuring the air conditioner units round back at Suma.