On May 27th, 1998, Sonic Youth played at The Fillmore in San Francisco. As usual, their choice of opening acts showed love for the local scene. Recent Matador signings, Fuck, took the middle slot, but the real coup of the evening was the opening act. This was the first time anyone had seen rRope on a stage this big. While their larger than life sound could be threatening in a small DIY venue, here they were transcendent. rRope never relied on blown out amps or distortion pedals that mangled their guitars into oblivion. Known for building their own amps based on old tube schematics, their guitars were meant to soar from one dimension, temporarily into ours, and then into another beyond imagining. When their rhythms would burst into neutrino fast intricacies, this was the sound of string theory manifested right before you, not a simple-minded blast of anger. At small warehouses, these sounds would bounce around the room, for better or worse. But on that night, they were truly free. This was rRope in their true element and it was their night. Rumors began that Sonic Youth had invited them to tour together. Years of hard dues seemed to have paid off. Needless to say, it was exciting. This would also be rRope's last show.
The bay area is well known for it's musical innovation and the 90s were a golden era. From Thinking Fellers Union Local 282 to A Minor Forest, from Caroliner to Henry's Dress and the growing drum and bass scene, being different was more than okay. It was embraced. Still, for some of us, rRope were the ones. Comparisons to the equally smart and dreamy My Bloody Valentine weren't wrong, just misleading. This band was just too heavy. Their singer, having moved to the bay from Colorado, had a cowboy's heart and even a bit of twang in his delivery. Would Touch n' Go take notice? Or was there too much bliss in their hooks? The recognition of a band like Sonic Youth, that had not only blazed their own trail, but had won the hearts of so many doing it, was an amazing omen. Especially in these pre-internet world where word of mouth mattered more than ever. Of course, sometimes these things don't work out.
Then came a new century and everything changed. A band like Lightning Bolt could become national icons. Wolf Eyes could get signed to Sub Pop. Animal Collective could change the definition of indie rock. During this time my love for rRope and their many recordings only grew. In the wee hours of the night after a long party, I was fond of slipping on a rRope album for any unsuspecting people still remaining. The response was always unanimous. Who is this amazing band? Can I get a copy for my radio show? When are they playing next? These guys are the best band around. While it was sad for me to break the news that rRope was speaking to them from an entire other decade, there was a joy in knowing that their work was not fading. Rather, it was finding its time. Their albums, mostly long out of print, were something I searched every California record store's used bin for. I would just give them away to anyone else that got excited about the band. Eventually the used bins ran dry. Being a patron to their art required something more. That was a few years ago. Now, after what felt like endless remastering sessions and debates on to present this long overdue anthology, I am very proud to present to you: rRope. This triple LP collects every release, from their first split 7" with VNC to their final album. In addition, the most telling live recordings have been included to help tell their story. These live recordings are from that very show with Sonic Youth. Besides capturing rRope's real power, these live recordings also contain songs never tracked in a studio.
Edition of 300