Like other so-called "bands" in the like-minded Elephant 6 coterie, Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't was more of a person than a band. In this case, that person was Pete Erchick, keyboardist and contributor to the Olivia Tremor Control.
Erchick joined the OTC following the release of their Dusk at Cubist Castle album, to help reproduce the band's Wall of Sound in a live environment. Erchick became an increasingly active member, contributing "I Have Been Floated" to the group's 1999 effort Black Foliage: Animation Music. Following that album's release, the band splintered into several outfits, including Will Cullen Hart's the Circulatory System (with who Erchick recorded and toured), and Bill Doss' the Sunshine Fix. During this period, Erchick commenced work on solo projects under the name Pipes You See, Pipes You Don't. The name was drawn from a cutaway illustration in a book Erchick had as a child. In 2000, he contributed to Naked in the Afternoon (a tribute to outside folk musician Jandek) as well as the U.S. Pop Live, Vol. 5 compilation.
In August 2001, he issued Individualized Shirts, in conjunction with Cloud Recordings (a label run by OTC's John Fernandes and Will Cullen Hart). The disc was typical, though very well-done, Elephant 6 fare: psychedelic swirls of keyboards, folkish guitars, and horns, featuring a long cast of extended family members (including OTC's Fernandes and Eric Harris, as well as Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum and Scott Spillane). Erchick peppered the release's liner notes with references to '70s baseball players, such as Ed Kranepool and Brooks Robinson. ~ Jesse Jarnow, Rovi