“Facto” Demo

The Pygmalion demos were recorded in March 1994, just before the band’s final, pre-reunion, tour dates in Europe and the USA, which took place in April and May of that year. Twelve of these demos were released on a bonus disc for the 2010 reissue of Pygmalion on Cherry Red Records. Unfortunately the song Facto was not included. Below you can listen to this song in full. I have long wondered if this song was an early version of Rutti, at least lyrically, as they share the same themes of “water” and “light”. For example, Neil sings “it’s the water line” during the chorus in this song (and “in the water line” in the initial verse), which is similar to his Rutti lyric “in the water”. Additionally, Neil sings “in the Northern light” in the initial verse of this song: compare with “there’s still a light outside” in Rutti.

Hopefully this song will be included in a future reissue of Pygmalion, or some other official release.

“Your Sun” demo

Slowdive’s last demos were recorded in late 1994. Many of these songs were slightly altered and re-recorded to become part of the first Mojave 3 album, Ask Me Tomorrow, which was released in 1995. A few of them, however, were discarded. Your Sun is one such song. This song has a similar feel to Like Up and I Believe from the I Am The Elephant U Are The Mouse film soundtrack (also recorded in 1994) and would have made a great B-side for a single from Ask Me Tomorrow.

I do not know the full length of Your Sun because my copy of the song is incomplete, cutting off at the 3:13 mark just as in the clip below.

Live Song Archive #5: “Some Velvet Morning”

It is unfortunate that, as far as I know, there is no live recording of Some Velvet Morning in front of an audience. Whether they ever played it in front of an audience is unknown to me. However, they did play it at least once during their soundchecks in September 1993. The below recording (at The Venue in London on 3 September 1993) is the only full, extant live recording of this song that I am aware of. All of the other songs played in this soundcheck were also played during the subsequent show, except this one. Perhaps it was cancelled at the last minute? In any case, the song sounds wonderful live, so this is a very valuable recording.

Tape Archive #11: Eternal live at Cartoon’s in Reading in 1990

This recording is something special indeed, as it captures the first and only gig played by Christian Savill’s pre-Slowdive band Eternal (described in detail here).  You can also occasionally hear Slowdive’s Rachel Goswell chatting near the cassette recorder in the audience. I still haven’t been able to find anyone who knows the month or day of this gig. Even the original taper couldn’t remember (I got the tape from him). Of particular historical interest is the last track, which has never been released. Here is the setlist:

*Soundcheck*
Breathe
Sleep (out of tune, aborted midway)
Sleep
Take Me Down
Unknown Track

There are some occasional sound defects due to the cassette tape’s age.

Tape Archive #10: Live at Röhre in Stuttgart on 24 October 1993

The recording below is another superb DAT audience recording from their October 1993 tour, similar to Tape Archives #9 and #2. Once again we find added delay effects on Simon’s drums (as mentioned in Tape Archive #9) on Melon Yellow (beginning at 25:35), making it one of the most compelling live performances of this song. However, this time these effects were not added to the drums on Souvlaki Space Station. This recording was made with a Sony ECM959A microphone into a Sony TCD-D3 DAT Walkman (@32khz/12bit).

This is a digital transfer from a DAT clone of the DAT master.

 

Tape Archive #9: Live at The Loft in Berlin on 22 October 1993

Slowdive’s October 1993 shows, in support of the Cranes, all had the same eight-song setlist that curiously lacked their popular Souvlaki songs Alison and 40 days, as well as any material exclusive to Just For A Day. Interestingly, in some of these shows there were some very cool delay effects added to the drums in the songs Souvlaki Space Station and/or Melon Yellow. The below recording, which was made with OKM-IIR binaural microphones on a Sony TCD-D3 DAT walkman (@32khz/12bit), is an excellent example of this. It is also perhaps their best performance of Souvlaki Space Station on record (which begins at the 4:50 mark), only marred by the slight, intermittent diginoise present throughout the tape. (I acquired this tape nearly 15 years ago and the diginoise was on it back then. Unfortunately I have not been able to find a “clean” copy, and I am unsure if one even exists today.) This recording also really highlights Nick Chaplin’s strong basslines with a clarity and prominence not found on most other recordings.

Be sure to listen to the very end, where you will hear a minute or so during which Rachel’s voice is sampled and played with a bit. This was a common end to their October 1993 shows.

This is a digital transfer from a DAT clone of the DAT master.

Tape Archive #8: Live at the CSUF Pub in Fullerton, CA on 12 April 1994

1994 saw the departure of Simon Scott and the arrival of Ian McCutcheon on drums. The most apparent difference is that Ian’s drumming was much simpler and slower than Simon’s, and this made many of their previously energetic live songs sound more lethargic in their 1994 shows. Souvlaki Space Station, for example, was not nearly as lively and interesting in 1994 as it was with Simon on drums in 1993. However, Ian’s style was a nice complement to the slower songs, such as Machine Gun.

The below recording is a good example of their live sound in 1994. It also has a great performance of Melon Yellow.

This is a digital transfer of the cassette master tape.

Tape Archive #7: Live at Cabaret Metro in Chicago on 21 August 1993

Soundboard recordings are ideal for high fidelity captures of live performances, but there is a sterility to them that lacks the human touch of many audience recordings. Some of the most enjoyable live recordings to listen to are not those with the best sound quality but rather the ones that thrust you into the audience and make you feel like you are part of the show. The recording below is a fine example of this.

If there was ever a doubt that Slowdive had a passionate fanbase in the early-mid 90s, the below recording should put that to rest. The repetitious, increasingly ardent screams for Avalyn after the first song (lasting from 5:10 to 5:40) are especially incredible to behold. Perhaps this recording happened to capture the world’s #1 Avalyn fan? Other than some very entertaining and lively crowd chatter, this recording is also notable in that it contains a superb set from the band including great performances of Souvlaki Space Station (fantastic drumming by Simon Scott) and Alison. There is also a crowd-request for Golden Hair (at 29:19) that seems to surprise Rachel.

This is a digital transfer of the cassette master tape.