Release Date: Jul 8, 2008
Record label: Pask
This double-CD set is a live recording of Smith reading the The Coral Sea in collaboration with Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine; he accompanies her on electric guitar and effects. It is compiled from two separate sold-out performances at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in London in June of 2005 and September of 2006. It is released on their own PASK imprint.
Patti Smith isn’t ready to bury the memory of her former friend and lover Robert Mapplethorpe. Not at all. The Coral Sea was originally a book that paid tribute to the late photographer, and it was written by Smith just seven years after Mapplethorpe’s death. The book subsequently became the inspiration for this project, between Smith and My Bloody Valentine singer/guitarist Kevin Shields.They’re an odd match, Smith and Shields.
Review Summary: Post-rock poetry.In my recent feature on My Bloody Valentine's reunion shows (found here), I touched upon the notion of just how much the process of canonization can change people's perceptions. Handy, then, that just two weeks later an album appears that proves my point; and one involving Kevin Shields, no less. Numerous reviews of this live album (recorded over two nights at the Royal Festival Hall, one is 2005 and one in 2006) have already appeared both in print and online, and yet I haven't seen one that has addressed the most obvious point here.
Despite being crowned the godmother of punk, Patti Smith’s music can be frustratingly conservative. In particular, her guitarists tend to get faded into the background whenever they depart from rock boilerplate. So this pairing is wish fulfillment of sorts, because whatever else you want to say about My Bloody Valentine, they sure redeemed the possibilities of the electric guitar at a point when it seemed like the instrument had hit a wall, and Kevin Shields is the architect of MBV’s advances.