The Null Device
Posts matching tags 'rachel goswell'
The shoegazer movement may have died out in the mid-1990s in most places, but in London, it's alive and well every month at Club AC30. Your Humble Narrator went along to this month's one.
Club AC30 is held at a pub named The Water Rats (presumably after the Australian police soap; I heard that the Poms love Australian TV, but didn't think they'd take it quite this far), not far from King's Cross, and features bands and a DJ.
First up was a Clairecords shoegazer outfit named Air Formation; they took to the stage and proceeded to make a wall of noise not unlike My Bloody Valentine or someone. The sound in the venue, or possibly the mixing, wasn't the best, though, so at times it was hard to tell whether, in fact, the keyboard (a Yamaha CS-1X) was plugged in. Anyway, they were quite good, though I'm not sure if I'll get their CD.
Next up was a Swedish band named Douglas Heart (not to be confused with Douglas Hart, formerly of the Jesus and Mary Chain). They were basically minor-key pop with some shoegazing elements; two guitarists, a bass player, a drummer, a Roland D-50 keyboard (wasn't that the one all the gothic-rock bands used in the 1980s or something?), and a female vocalist, who also played melodica and trumpet. Except that the microphones didn't seem to work very well, and half of the time the audience couldn't hear her. Anyway, they sounded a bit like the Cranes or the Sundays or someone; most of their set didn't grab me, but the last song (a stomping number with a great big fuzzy monster bass line) changed my mind.
The third act was Rachel Goswell, someone who gets invited to these things largely on the strength of what she was doing 10 years ago. Her act these days is basically acoustic-guitar folk, much of the sort you could find at any acoustic open-mike night in Fitzroy. For some of the songs of this gig, she had a band with guitar and bass, though her set still contained no shoegazing action whatsoever. She does, though, have a lovely voice. The audience hushed respectfully as she came on (shushing those still talking amongst them), applauded after each song, and called for an encore, which she obliged them with.
Between sets, Ulrich Schnauss DJed, playing a lot of ambient tracks, ranging from shoegazer to electronica; there were some really nice tracks in the mix he played.
Last night, I went to the ICA to see a performance by Rachel Goswell, who was doing a support set for the Cranes. She did pretty much the acoustic guitar-folk singer-songwriter thing, accompanied by a bloke with a guitar. Rachel started off singing as her accompanist played guitar, and later ended up picking up a guitar (and, towards the end, a small squeezebox). A few songs into the set, one fan called out requesting Catch The Breeze, which Rachel politely declined, saying that it was 12 years too late for that.
Anyway, it was pleasant enough (Rachel, as Slowdive fans will know, has a lovely voice, and the guitar parts were quite good too), though I couldn't help but think that it would have benefitted from a few more layers; perhaps some strings or even some low-key electronics.
I caught a few songs by the Cranes (by when the albedo of the crowd had darkened considerably); they were basically a goth take on early-90s shoegazer, much as I remembered. And the vocalist sounds as if her voice was being played back at slightly too high a speed.
More from the Rachel Goswell interview:
RG: Slowdive I look back with pleasure and pain really. The first couple of years was really exciting. And I was a teenager turning into my 20's. I had a lot of experiences I will never forget! Neil and I broke up around the recording of 'Souvlaki' and it was extremely difficult maintaining a working relationship. there was alot of anger and tears. I would say it wasn't really til we started on Mojave that we really broke free of each other completely, personally. Mojave 3 has been alot easier, far more relaxed and by mid twenties you're kind of more sussed about life (though not as much as when you hit 30, lol).
I didn't know that. After this, I'll probably listen to Souvlaki (and, to a lesser extent, Pygmalion) somewhat differently; in particular, just how personal songs like Dagger really are. Though, OTOH, Pygmalion always did have a sense of transcendence-through-abstraction, at least to me.