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Kevin Shields Discusses New MBV Album
The Quietus , May 8th, 2012 14:54

Eight tracks down, fast working, drum & bass direction shocker!

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Kevin Shields has spoken to the Quietus' Taylor Parkes about the progress being made on the new My Bloody Valentine album, saying that those expecting it to take years might be confounded as he’s going to try and "bash out a record" which will sound very "raw"… with even a drum & bass influence to one track.

"We're making it now, in fact it's almost done," Shields said. "I'm on the eighth song, and I've got to do vocals for that, then I've got to record the ninth song from scratch. Then I've got to mix it. But that's OK, because I'm not slow at mixing."

Shields went on to explain the reason why recording new music is more time consuming that mixing: "I made a living for a while as a mixer, because I can do that on time and on budget. A day and half each song - it's hard to spend much longer than that, unless you don't know what you're doing. Whereas recording music is different, because you have the basic structure of the song, and in my mind the part that goes on top looks like this and moves like that, and when you go to do it, it doesn't sound like that! And you go 'mmm'. And then the next day I'm not in the right mood, and then three or four days later I don't really feel like recording, and that's why that takes time. And meanwhile that part's still there waiting, and I'm saying 'don't worry, I'll make sure I do you justice' but it might take a week, or a month."

The legends written about the time it took to record Loveless have taken up many acres of book and newsprint, but this could be all change, as Shields explains. "I'm actually trying to move away from that way of working. I'm just going to try, as an experiment, to bash out a record for better or for worse. Do it quick enough to not allow my imagination to slow me down. Because if I achieve something that's in my mind, it's not necessarily better than something I do spontaneously - because then it can take on a life of its own, you don't expect it, but you hear something that comes up by chance and think shit, that's great. If you only allow yourself to do things the way you hear them in your mind, it won't be worse than that – but it's not necessarily better."

Shields also gave some indications as to what the third album might be like: "It's not going to sound like Loveless where it's like looking into another world," he said "More like Isn't Anything, where it seems to be of this world, but with one foot in another world. The songs on Loveless had more in common with folk-blues music to me, just a verse and an instrumental passage, circular. The new songs are more... sometimes it's just that, and sometimes it's songs that have one verse, then a musical part, then something that's totally different. More elongated... and more raw. A lot of the guitars are very aggressive."

Much has been made in the MBV mythology of drum & bass tracks that never saw light of day... until now. "There's one drum & bass song, from that era when we were doing drum & bass music, which never came out," Shields reveals. "We were actually inventing a new sound – and this song doesn't really represent it, but – we were doing slowed down drum & bass music around 1993, 1994. But it just came to nothing, mainly because we didn't know how to do it. We didn't realise that you use just a few good samples, then it's about how you stretch them on the computer. We were trying to program it, work out every beat. We got some really good things, but the lesson we learnt was that without the element of spontaneity, without the element of chance we used to get from live playing, it doesn't work for us. Just making music on the computer isn't really what I'm into. But there's one song that survived from that period, that approach. Like slowed down drum & bass. Except, um... it's really fast."

You can read the entire interview with Shields here.

My Bloody Valentine’s reissues of Isn’t Anything, Loveless and EP’s 1988 – 1991 are out now.

Derek Walmsley
May 8, 2012 7:11pm

Don't get me wrong, it'll be good news if it happens, but hasn't every MBV news story for the last decade or so been saying more or less the same thing, including the drum 'n' bass influence?

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jonny mugwump
May 8, 2012 7:29pm

In reply to Derek Walmsley:

I've imagined that drum 'n' bass album so many times now that i feel like i've bloody written it. Derek you're right of course but he does actually seem to be saying this every day at the moment and with more confidence than usual - maybe....?

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Mars
May 8, 2012 9:32pm

Yeah, I remember back in the 90's right after Loveless dropped Kevin mentioned D&B and, the real shocker... Speed Metal!

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Reggie P
May 8, 2012 9:35pm

In reply to Derek Walmsley:

At last someone telling it like is - and he's from Wire so that lends weight to things! MBV drum 'n' bass. Phoar!! The future!! *yawns*

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Big Baby Fucking JEsus
May 8, 2012 10:21pm

In reply to Reggie P:

you bellend

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 12:01am

I'd rather he sorted out the mess they made of the Loveless reissue:
http://thepowerofindependenttrucking.blogspot.de/2012/05/mbv-loveless-2012-remasters.html

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Reggie P
May 9, 2012 7:49am

In reply to Big Baby Fucking JEsus:

No actually you are the bellend, sir. Isn't arguing on-line great?!

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May 9, 2012 8:44am

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

Wow, interesting read, just listened to the remaster on we7 and can hear the glitch mentioned. Maybe it was an unresolvable glitch from the analog master tapes?

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SY
May 9, 2012 10:55am

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

Er, what's he on about - the "1/2 inch analogue tape" is CD2.

Isn't it?

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 11:12am

In reply to SY:

What he's saying is that the 1/2" inch analogue tape remaster is actually on CD1, despite the discs labelled and the cover text displayed the other way round.

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SY
May 9, 2012 11:30am

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

so, lets get this straight - the way to tell them apart is that only the Digital Remaster has a 1/2 second of hiss before track one, and only the Analogue master has a glitch at 2:46?

I think I'm going mad.

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SY
May 9, 2012 1:43pm

In reply to SY:

They both have the glitch at 2:46 or 2:47 on What You Want. So now what?

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 2:37pm

In reply to SY:

What is interesting about TPoIT's analysis is that it's the only real description of the actual remastering done on these reissues I've read on the net. The reviews I've read so far only really discuss the original artisitic merit in any detail, which is of course undisputed. That the remasters possibly are switched and are almost indistinguishable from the original recordings is very interesting indeed.

With regards to TPoIT's qualifications to judge the quality of the remastering, remember this is one of the guys behind the fan remastering projects of the Joy Division, New Order and Smiths singles.

That being said, I can't tell the remasters apart at all myself, although I seem to prefer the first disc for no rational reason. And you're right about the glitch being on both CDs - I heard that too.

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SY
May 9, 2012 2:44pm

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

Yeah, I completely agree - I've been firing off the same question into the ether since I got my hands on them and this is the closest to an answer yet. Oddly, on Spotify, there is no glitch on the second version of the album, which does indeed tally with TPoIT's analysis as this would be the 'Digital' Remaster'. I hope I didn't receive 2 identical CD's. Now I'm getting paranoid and will have to check the actual discs (not the ripped versions on my iPod) when I get home!

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 2:47pm

In reply to SY:

Yeah, I've also had the suspicion that both my CDs could be the same. I found another glitch somewhere else (I really don't remember where) where the volume drops slightly midbeat. I found that glitch at exactly the same position on both CDs.

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SY
May 9, 2012 3:01pm

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

Still, if the discs are the same then I guess it's the analogue version, which is good news.

Nonetheless, pretty annoying!

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Chris Herbert
May 9, 2012 3:16pm

In reply to SY:

They shouldn't have: after a close listen I absolutely concur with the TPoIT blog post. For me, CD 1 (labelled as 'remastered from the original tape') is the more recently minted analogue master and contains the 2:47 glitch in What You Want. What I have as CD2 is exactly as the 1991 Creation CD (albeit a bit louder and 'Touched' might be slightly limited at one point) and is glitch free. The differences are minor but I can tell the discs apart.

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 3:20pm

In reply to Chris Herbert:

So I guess that confirms the following manufacturing mistakes:
- CDs are switched on some copies
- CDs are identical, 1/2'' mixes on other copies

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Chris Herbert
May 9, 2012 3:20pm

In reply to Chris Herbert:

(Being suitably microscopic: "They shouldn't have" refers to "They both have the glitch at 2:46 or 2:47 on What You Want", this entire fiasco is like a never ending Escher maze.)

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 3:26pm

In reply to Chris Herbert:

I've posted our findings re identical CDs over at TPoIT. We'll see what Analogue Loyalist has to say about it.

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SY
May 9, 2012 3:39pm

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

This is so frustrating. I might take Loveless back to HMV and do a swap - or even better, get a refund until someone comes clean and this whole issue officially clarified.....

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Alexander Tucker
May 9, 2012 5:33pm

Lets all just calm down and have a cup of tea

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Chris Herbert
May 9, 2012 6:02pm

In reply to Alexander Tucker:

Hold up! Close examination shows there is a tiny chip near the top of my mug and isn't the milk slightly on the turn?!

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staringatmyshoes
May 9, 2012 8:19pm

In reply to Alexander Tucker:

This cup of tea tastes exactly like the last cup of tea. In fact, I'm not really sure it's any different from that cup of tea Kevin made for me 20 years ago!

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Taylor Parkes
May 9, 2012 11:39pm

I've just dug out the four-year-old promo CDs I used for the review. There's no glitch on "What You Want" on CD1, listed as "Original Mix". The glitch appears on CD2, listed as "Remaster". On the finished copy of the new release, it's on CD1 but not on CD2. Looks to me like they've corrected the order of the discs for the release, even if they've left that smut on the original.

But no, the discs aren't exactly the same (although that would be one of the great audiophile hoaxes). I could never really tell the difference anyway, and admitted as much in the review - I've got good ears, but not that good - apart from on "Soon", where the two versions are slightly but very definitely different. A change, it turns out, which goes a bit further than mixing and remastering - listen at 0.43, if you can be arsed (Kevin explains all in the interview tomorrow).

I heard about this too late to raise the subject with him when I did the interview, by the way. I wasn't copping out.

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staringatmyshoes
May 10, 2012 8:04am

In reply to Taylor Parkes:

Having taken the time to check with good equipment I can confirm my CDs are indeed quite different, and that I have the glitch in "What You Want" on CD1.

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SY
May 10, 2012 9:48am

In reply to staringatmyshoes:

So, on the 2012 release,have we decided which disc is which? Mine must be different, for a start one is 2 seconds longer than the other.....

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May 10, 2012 2:08pm

In reply to SY:

That's what you get for posting when you should be sleeping: having re-read that blog article, the first couple of sentences of my last post were actually pointless.

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Taylor Parkes
May 10, 2012 2:10pm

In reply to :

And, having still not slept properly, I forgot to put my name on the post above this. Jesus Christ.

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SY
May 10, 2012 2:40pm

In reply to Taylor Parkes:

Trying too hard to get into the head of Kevin Shields by emulating his sleep deprivation?

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Taylor Parkes
May 10, 2012 3:02pm

In reply to SY:

It's more to do with what's happening in my own head, literally. Dental pain, it's a motherfucker.

Thanks for listening.

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