Paik are fighting an uphill battle. The group consists of three musicians in the classic power-trio format: guitar, bass, drums. All of their songs are instrumentals. Most of the songs are slow-to-mid tempo. There are only five tracks on "Satin Black," an hour- long record, and the shortest is seven minutes long. This is music that tests the attention span, it would seem.
Paik?s sound is characterized by an aggressively loud, highly-effected guitar. It?s a sound that recalls My Bloody Valentine as well as Black Sabbath. This is stadium-sized shoegaze, even if Paik are more likely to play in a modest indie club. The songs take two approaches: repetitious riffing or wide-open feedback improvisation. Sometimes, both approaches are employed simultaneously. Yet, this minimalist stance seems to work for Paik?s music. It?s clear that the group aims to hypnotize and sedate the listener, and then perhaps dunk his head under the water a few times. They succeed remarkably in this respect. Song titles like ?Dizzy Stars? only reinforce the drunken, spaced-out mode of Paik. If an hour of sonic bludgeoning doesn?t sound appealing, than you may want to skip this outing.
Paik seem a little out of context in the current climate of the psychedelic underground. They would have been right at home during the heady days of the mid to late nineties, alongside fellow Detroit artists Windy and Carl or Fuxa. One current group that shares Paik?s love for long tracks, hazy atmosphere, and guitar wizardry are Seattle?s Kinski. Both groups excel in the live setting, as attendants of 2002?s Terrastock V in Boston can attest (both groups played ferocious sets), and both groups have left a little to be desired in their studio efforts. If Paik could just find a way to vary their songs a little bit, they would probably appeal to a few more listeners. However, part of their charm is their reluctance to stray from the ultra-repetitious nature of their music. Once the album starts, it is easy to lose yourself in the chasm of its deep, black sound.
Ultimately, however, Paik offer no new perspectives on the instrumental psychedelic guitar freakout. There are many groups that mine the same territory in the slow/doom laden instrumental category, but not many that offer the same druggy sheen. There are a ton of psychedelic instrumentalists that improvise on minimalist themes for hours at a time, as well. Paik, for whatever its worth, do both. Over and over and over again. 6/10 -- Sean Witzman (25 May, 2005)