The Sonic Cathedral Spotify-Themed Playlist Of Shoey Goodness
, May 8th, 2009 08:29
Beard Lord Nathaniel Cramp of shoegaze label Sonic Cathedral prepares to inspect his loafers as he compiles our weekly playlist
Sonic Cathedral started as a club night back in October 2004 with the intention of celebrating not just itself, but also shoegaze and all its influences and inspirations. That was partly because I thought I’d run out of Chapterhouse 12-inches pretty quickly, but also because it was more fun to push the boundaries a little bit. It also allows me to repeatedly make the joke that Sonic Cathedral is a broad church. While this playlist doesn’t include some of our more out-there forays into bluegrass, gospel or dub, it is full of bands and songs that are important to the Sonic Cathedral story.
The Radio Dept and Engineers were two of the bands that inspired me to start Sonic Cathedral in the first place, while The Early Years have played more times than I care to remember and I even released their ‘Like A Suicide’ single. Maybe they’ll get the recognition they deserve now The Horrors have appropriated their krautrock-meets-MBV-meets-Psychedelic Furs sound.
I also released School Of Seven Bells’ debut single, an earlier version of ‘My Cabal’ than the one on the album, which is something I’m very proud of, as is releasing ‘Planet’, the epic debut from Kyte. Maps and M83 did a remix swap of the two tracks on the playlist for another Sonic Cathedral single and the latter played one of the most memorable nights to date at St Giles-In-The-Fields Church last December.
Another memorable show was by Dean & Britta. (Galaxie 500 and Luna are two of my favourite bands and Dean Wareham also played on Mercury Rev’s ‘Car Wash Hair’ if any more evidence of his genius were needed.) Afterwards, I persuaded them to let me put out this Sonic Boom remix of ‘White Horses’ on white vinyl. Miranda Lee Richards’ lovely ‘Life Boat’ came out on yellow vinyl complete with a remix from Neil Halstead of Mojave 3 and Slowdive (more of them later).
Now, here’s where the playlist gets a bit conceptual. Miranda learned to play guitar to Mazzy Star’s records (her teacher? Kirk Hammett of Metallica, weirdly enough) but what’s better than Mazzy Star? Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions, of course, which adds My Bloody Valentine drummer Colm O’Ciosoig to the equation. Colm wrote the strange sound collage ‘Touched’ from ‘Loveless’, which Ricardo Tobar (notice the sample of MBV’s ‘Swallow’ in his track?) remixed a cover of by Japancakes for yet another single. Oh, and that came out on white vinyl too. Are you following this?
Thankfully Seefeel and the Cocteau Twins need no explanation, but it’s worth seeking out the Mark Clifford of the formers’ remixes of the latter. Stephen, Andy and Simon from Chapterhouse, with assistance from Ulrich Schnauss, actually played ‘Love Forever’ live last year on the Sonic Cathedral stage at the Truck festival, which was a very special moment. ‘Vapour Trail’ is a beautiful song, whoever sings it and ‘Dreams Burn Down’ is audible proof that Loz Colbert was indeed the Keith Moon of shoegaze.
Ulrich Schnauss’ cover of Slowdive’s ‘Crazy For You’ is as lovely as the man himself, who has graced the Sonic Cathedral stage and decks numerous times over the past five years, as well as remixing singles by Mark Gardener and Daniel Land & The Modern Painters. Last but certainly not least we have Slowdive’s ‘Catch The Breeze’ – from 2.59 onwards possibly the most beautiful thing ever recorded. As that three-guitar coda kicks in it’s like high diving into a sea of sound and an ocean of pretentious metaphors. Truly a sonic cathedral.