Morningrise (Slowdive song)

Slowdive

Slowdive were a shoegazing band formed in 1989, lasting until 1995. The band was formed in Reading, Berkshire, England and soon signed to Creation Records in the UK. The band consisted of Neil Halstead (vocals/guitar), Rachel Goswell (vocals/guitar), Nick Chaplin (bass), Christian Savill (guitar), Adrian Sell (drums, 1989), Simon Scott (drums, 1990 until early 1994) and Ian McCutcheon (drums, 1994 onwards). Goswell and Halstead had known each other since early childhood in Reading, Berkshire, when Goswell was an obsessive fan of The Smiths. When Savill and Chaplin left the band after the release of Pygmalion, the remaining members renamed the band Mojave 3.

Career

The band claims it did not take its name from the Siouxsie & The Banshees song "Slowdive," but rather from a dream that bassist Chaplin had. Initial demos were released as the Slowdive EP in late 1990; the band's dreamlike sound was influenced by the Cocteau Twins and Creation labelmates My Bloody Valentine, featuring heavy use of guitar effects and subdued vocals. Reviews in Melody Maker and the NME were enthusiastic, and two further well-regarded EPs followed in 1991. Debut album Just For a Day was written and recorded in six weeks, and reached the UK top forty. It also received some play on alternative and college radio stations in the U.S., such as WHFS.

The UK music press had started to pick up on the exploding American grunge scene, and the more introspective sounds of Slowdive, labelmates Ride, Chapterhouse, and other "shoegazing" bands, had fallen from critical favor. American label SBK Records pushed back the release of the album after a disastrous viral marketing campaign (involving vandalism of a public statue). In early 1992 the band toured the U.S. with Ride (the two bands released a split tour 7"), and returned to the UK to record a second album.

The following album, Souvlaki, is the band's most popular and well-received record, and has been regarded by several websites as one of the best albums from the shoegazing movement. Two songs featured contributions from Brian Eno, "Souvlaki Space Station" was influenced by dub reggae tracks such as "Dagger" and "Here She Comes" were indications of the country-rock direction Halstead and Goswell would take a few years later. Several songs, such as "When the Sun Hits" and "Alison," continued the style of the first album. Initial copies of the UK version came with Blue Day, a compilation of most of the early EP tracks which was originally released as a separate album in Japan and some European countries. Later in the year the band released 5EP, four songs which showed the influence of ambient techno - the lead track "In Mind" was remixed by Bandulu and Reload (both then signed to Creation's dance label).

As with the first album, SBK delayed release, and the band found themselves touring the USA in the summer of 1993, supporting Catherine Wheel, with no new product to promote. The U.S. version of Souvlaki was eventually released in February 1994, and included a cover of "Some Velvet Morning" (originally recorded for the Volume 7 compilation) and three of the tracks from 5EP. When Slowdive was finally able to tour America to support the second album, SBK withdrew funding halfway through; two further tours that year were entirely funded by the band. SBK supposedly gave promotional trinkets to members of Slowdive's street team who posted the most gig flyers on telephone poles (each of which, of course, required photographic proof, in the days before digital cameras); this was because SBK refused to post said flyers themselves.

Drummer Simon Scott left amidst creative differences in 1994 and went on to become a session drummer including a brief stint in Chapterhouse. In 2004 he formed Televise taking the ambient shoegaze sound and pushing it into electronic fields similar to Fennesz. He was, however, replaced on drums by Ian McCutcheon. By the recording of their final album, Pygmalion, Halstead had moved Slowdive away from the dreamy guitar sound and warm yet solemn tone of earlier Slowdive to a newer, more acoustic minimalist extreme, similar to heavily-ambient bands such as Seefeel, A R Kane, and Labradford.

Slowdive was dropped by Creation a week after the release of Pygmalion (as were Swervedriver not long after); Halstead had been warned before the recording of the album that the relationship with the label would end unless Slowdive delivered a "pop album." A legend arose that the band was dropped due to the Gallagher brothers refusing to sign Oasis to Creation if Slowdive and their counterparts remained on the label's roster, although Oasis had in fact released their debut single almost a year before Pygmalion.

Post-Slowdive endeavours

Shortly after being dropped by Creation, Halstead, Goswell and McCutcheon recorded an album of country-influenced songs, and were signed to label 4AD, changing the band name to Mojave 3 to reflect the new musical direction. This group is still active.

In 2004, Scott (once the drummer of Cambridge band The Charlottes) formed Televise, a group which has an ambient electronic focus and in 2007 Morr Music signed his new band Seavault which was formed with Antony Ryan from Isan.

Savill went on to form Monster Movie, a dream pop group that has maintained much of the older Slowdive style. They have released four albums and an EP to date. Pre-Slowdive, Savill was in a band called Eternal, which also included Monster Movie member Sean Hewson.

Halstead and Goswell have both released solo albums on 4AD.

Legacy

Following 2004's Catch the Breeze compilation, all of Slowdive's albums were reissued in 2005. Just for a Day included a bonus disc with all tracks from the first three EPs, and the three songs recorded for a John Peel session on 26 March, 1991. Souvlaki included a bonus disc with all the remaining EP tracks, and "Some Velvet Morning." Pygmalion, which had become a collector's item in the years since its release, never having been issued in the U.S., contained no extra material.

Italian dream-pop-based magazine Losing Today was named after an early Slowdive b-side.

An electronica-themed tribute album to Slowdive was released in 2002 on Morr Music (now home of ex drummer Simon Scott`s new band Seavault, entitled Blue Skied an' Clear.

"Dagger" was covered in 1998 by The Hope Blister (featuring guest vocals by Halstead). "When the Sun Hits" was covered in 1997 by Dutch band The Gathering.

Writer/Director Dustin Lane has called his 1st short film "Blue Skied an' Clear" after the track of the same name on Pygmalion.

Director Gregg Araki is a huge Slowdive fan, using their music in many of his films. "Avalyn II" is played during the opening credits of the film Nowhere. "Blue Skied an' Clear" is played during the closing credits of The Doom Generation. "Alison" is used in The Doom Generation. "Golden Hair" is played during the opening credits of Mysterious Skin. "Dagger" and "Catch the Breeze" are used in the film Mysterious Skin. In the movie Mysterious Skin, the character of Avalyn Freisen, played by Mary-Lynn Rajskub, is named after a rare Slowdive song. Splendor includes the song "Shine".

Discography

Albums

EP's

Singles

Compilations

Bootlegs

  • 1991 Reading University, Reading (UK)
  • 1991 Marquee - Band Explosion (UK)
  • 1992 Cabaret Metro, Chicago (US) (with Ride)
  • 1992 Cabaret Metro, Chicago (US) (with Catherine Wheel)
  • 1993 Sentrum Scene, Oslo (Norway) (with Cranes)
  • 1994 The Roxy, Los Angeles (US) (with Rosemarys)
  • 1994 Cabaret Metro, Chicago (US)
  • 1994 Live in Toronto (Canada)

Blue Day was available in the UK with the initial 1000 copies of "Souvlaki" in a limited double cd edition ('brilliant box') as well, with the catalog number CRECD 139x..

Unofficial Releases

During the 'Souvlaki' tour, Slowdive released a live tape of a performance in Centrum, Oslo in 1993. This was made available to those attending live performances and to the Slowdive fan club.

Christian Savill mailed some demo material to a few fans in 2000, most later spread online and on P2P networks. The 'Souvlaki' era demos have appeared in an unofficial release under the title of 'I Saw The Sun' that contains 21 tracks. In actuality, including all variations (some demos have up to three different mixes or recordings), over 33 demos exist from the Souvlaki era, over ten of which were not given out by Christian. The Pygmalion era demos number 14, and can be found in an unofficial release titled 'Pygmalion Demos' that is missing two tracks (facto and cargo (vox)), as these were also not widely given out by Christian, and as a result are rather obscure today.

A soundtrack for the film I'm The Elephant, U Are The Mouse (Forest Wise, 1999) is also unreleased and contains 18 tracks. In October 2004, the director Forest Wise was alleged to be in talks with Halstead to release this soundtrack.

Music videos

Music videos were released for: "Shine" (featuring interpretive dance moves by Goswell), "Morningrise," "Ballad Of Sister Sue," "Catch The Breeze," and "Alison." A promotional VHS tape called Catch The Breeze was released in Sept. 1991, featuring snippets from the band's videos, as well as interview segments.

Soundtrack appearances

References

External links

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