Bloomington, Indiana combo Ativin was active since the early 90s and, inspired by the likes of Slint and Gastr Del Sol, they recorded four studio albums between 1996 and 2001. With two guitarists, drummer and no bassist, they constantly tested the possibilities of soft/ loud dynamics.
The band was formed in the winter of 1994 by guitarist Chris Carothers and drummer Rory Leitch when two met at Indiana University. The following year guitarist Dan Burton joined the band by 1996 Ativin produced their debut EP – “Pills Vs. Planes”.
“Pills…” was jointly produced by Steve Albini (Big Black, Rapeman, Shellac) and Carl Saff. In their review of the album, Nude As The News site website concluded that “Pills…” contains five songs that utilize a tension-release concept to convey themes of despair, confusion and anger. and that “Ativin is a brazen reminder of what happens when artists sweep the standard ideals of music under the rug.”
Their first LP was 1998 “German Water”, which came out on Secretly Canadian label. All Music Guide pronounced it to be “an inspiring masterpiece of forward-looking rock.” In their review of the album, Ink 19 website concluded that “Those without patience may quickly conclude that Ativin is morose. Notice that they are taking the time to fill the space between notes with silence.”
The band produced one more EP – 1999 “Summing The Approach” – before going on temporary hiatus. AMG summarized the EP by saying that “Ativin moved well beyond the pummelling soft-to-loud transitions of Slint and toward a highly distinctive blend of treated, interlocked guitar grooves, firm rhythmic manuevers and electronically-enhanced atmospheres.”
New millennium brought 2002 “Interiors” and 2004 “Night Mute” (both on Secretly Canadian label). InSound called Night Mute “An intentional homage to the world of horror literature and film / Ativin’s ten-song exploration into the themes of death, hopelessness, and fear.”, while AMG pronounced “Interiors” to be “a declaration of emotional expression in subtle contexts.” and “a perfect music to relax to and soak in all the winter dreariness of a northern landscape.”
Outside of Ativin, band members were also involved with Early Day Miners, Swords Project and Magnolia Electric Co., among other bands.
Daniel Burton (Early Day Miners)
Joey Ficken (Swords Project)
Mark Rice (Impossible Shapes, Magnolia Electric Co., Songs: Ohia)
Rory Leitch (Early Day Miners)
Modern Gang Reader 7″ (Secretly Canadian, 1996)
Pills Vs. Planes EP CD (Polivinyl, 1996)
German Water CD (Secretly Canadian, 1997)
Interiors CD (Secretly Canadian, 2002)
Night Mute CD Secretly Canadian, 2004)
“Slovenia” on Ooh Do I Love You (The Core For Care, 1998)
“Riding And Roaming” on Zum Audio Vol. 2 (Zum, 1998)
“Hell Hammer (Live)” on Currents And Directions (Meridien, 2002)
“Wings And Trees” on For Jonathan (The Great Vitamin Mystery, 2004)
“Soft Evenings” on SC100 (Secretly Canadian, 2007)