Album: Patti Smith and Kevin Shields, The Coral Sea (PASK)
Friday 04 July 2008
Kevin Shields' first sustained original work since My Bloody Valentine's last record, 1991's Loveless, is entirely in the service of Patti Smith's long poem in memory of her early lover, photographer Robert Mapplethorpe, who died of Aids.
On two hour-long readings of that work at London's Queen Elizabeth Hall in 2005 and 2006, Shields precisely modulates feedback, and lets low, long, vibrating notes swell to some sort of climax. Both CDs sound as if they were recorded deep in the hold of the symbolic, mist-shrouded ship where Smith casts her poem's hero.
This Mapplethorpe figure is similar to the angelic boy she saw Kurt Cobain as on Gone Again (1996), another work powered by death. It takes a while to get used to Smith's sensual language, and the attention span her unbroken incantation requires. But The Coral Sea's weird narrative, in which women slit open their wombs for men to crawl back to and clouds can be climbed, attains giddy momentum. And Smith, on the more confident second show especially, channels Jim Morrison to aggressively suggest just the sort of transfiguration she must have wished for Mapplethorpe.
Pick of the album:CD2, Tracks 1 and 4
Maisie Williams single-handedly rises to the challengeTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 2 Kim Kardashian on Bruce Jenner's 'story': 'We support him no matter what, and I think when the time is right, he'll talk'
- 3 Russian girl takes her own life after parents find pornography on her computer
- 4 Ball pool for adults opens in London
- 5 Amal Clooney gives excellent response to fashion question at European Court of Human Rights
The Jump 2015 line-up: Joey Essex, Mike Tindall, Jodie Kidd and co take to the slopes
Game of Thrones: Grey Worm actor Jacob Anderson is all for more male nudity – as long as he can keep his clothes on
Roald Dahl letter warning student to 'eschew beastly adjectives' goes viral 35 years later
Martin Scorsese 'in shock and sorrow' after death on set of new film Silence
The secret joke hidden in Silence of the Lambs' most famous line
9 reasons Greece's experiment with the radical left is doomed to failure
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
Have we reached 'peak food'? Shortages loom as global production rates slow
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia