Something in the air? At Pitchfork, Philip Sherburne reviews an album by Auscultation wherein producer Joel Shanahan "expands his palette, mingling shades of ’90s ambient techno with distant echoes of the Cocteau Twins’ dream pop."
Never heard that, although I liked Slowdive and Bandulu.
Clean forgot this lot.... seem to remember reviewing a single of theirs that toted a hefty load of ELM / IDM remixes. Perhaps it was this very one?
Curve were such music press faves, weren't they? Well, Melody Maker faves, let's be honest - but I like to think of MM as being the music press by 1990 (always amazed to come across people who were still reading NME by that point). A group that's completely itself evacuated from popular memory. I must say I was never really convinced by them - a bit too much the canny ZeitGeist surfers, I felt, like the Eurhythmics in their day. My colleagues went gaga for them, though.
Another band I completely forgot existed
I do appreciate the name, though - something of a reference point for your post-Lacan theorists of jouissance as "ineffable pleasure-spasm", Theresa. Perhaps it was the Hildegarde of Bingen tune by The Beloved ("The Sun Rising"?) that turned these dreampoppers in a techno-ish direction. Or maybe they heard the dark-bliss pleasure-spasm of One Dove's "White Love"...
I had a major Cocteaus jag the other week - tried to do that daft thing of listening to the entire urrrrv in one go, from start to finish (well, I didn't bother with the twilight-phase albums when Elizabeth starts singing in very plain English). The stretch from Head Over Heels and Sunburst and Snowblind to Aikea-Guinea via The Spanglemaker and Treasure is sublime and almost immaculate .... as is the stretch from Love's Easy Tears via the Harold Budd collaboration to Blue Bell Knoll. Before the first flush of genius, they're warming up, finding their unique voice; after the second flush, they're losing it, losing their way, heading into the diminishing returns zone. But there's that mysteriously middling and unmemorable patch of Victorialand, Tiny Dynamine, Echoes in a Shallow Bay, where the magic touch just goes away for a bit. And then it comes back, full strength - perhaps more even more consummate. Very odd - who else has that happened to?
Ah I remember, there was a whole album of Chapterhouse remixology wasn't there?
And this is the ultimate shoegaze into ambient techno nexus - one of my own abfavs and a pinnacle of t' 9ties
He also mentions M83 as a later iteration
M83 and Ulrich S fall into "the same box: sort of quality hi-lush electronica that crosses over (good songwriting)", Ian notes, adding mischievously, "And ends up as soundbeds on motorsport montage clip shows."
(A religiose vibe that actually came back a bit in the 2010s). *
It picks up the aforementioned "The Sun Rising" / Orbital "Halycon" etc vibe in the chill beatific side of house ... and melds it with the "mist gathers at the base of the ruined abbey, ghost choristers waft sighingly through the cloisters" vibe of lots of shoegaze....
Which I did love with this Slowdive-covering-Syd beauty
Well blimey, that is actually a release on the Sonic Cathedral Singles Club.
"Sonic cathedral" being the parody meme taking gentle piss out of the kind of praise prose poesy that wrapped itself around Cocteaus, 4AD in general, dreampop etc etc, back in the day - yours truly being a perpetrator
Ah and this has reminded me of another nexus in the shoegaze / electronic-listening / ambient / early post-rock / Stereolab-Saint-Etienne typestuff / etc confluence - Darla Records
Who started a series of releases called The Bliss Out - named after a certain book
Here's a best of The Bliss Out
* from that 2012 post on the New Exquisite / New Religiose i.e. Juliana Barwick, Julia Holter, Grouper
the hallmark: those pure airy vocals, more often than not wordless, or blurred to the point of indecipherable... multitracked into a choir-of-one... warp 'n' wefted... tapestried... heavy on the reverb ... where plainchant meets enchantment
the sound of the Ineffable... being effed
i don't think the intent is particularly retro or to hark back to anything (other than to the pre-modern or primordial)... but clearly it's influenced by the late Eighties... and it can't help reminding of that moment, if you're of a certain vintage yourself
where late 80s post-Goth/4AD-type stuff connects to current conditions of music-production is that Goth-Lite was primarily studio music, it was all about layers, sound treatments, effects... it broke to large extent... with the performance model of rock recording (Cocteaus DCD et al did play live, of course, but their live shows were attempts to duplicate the textural richness of what was concocted in the studio, rather than the other way round: the studio recording as attempt to simulate/approximate the energy of a live performance). So obviously that translates to the solo artist + digital audio workstations in a bedroom scenario of today, where live performance is an optional afterthought to careers created through blog-buzz
artificial reverb, that other hallmark of the New Religoise, figures as an irresistible temptation to producers looking to add "space" to recordings that are otherwise by their mode-of-construction a bit airless and dry
along with the outerspace/innerspace associations of the "sonic cathedral" effect...