you resource for all things shoegaze & dream pop.

31 May 2011

Mini VJ Set: Michael Branch, of Starblood, chooses his top 5 most influential shoegaze tracks.

For me, shoegaze, or dreampop or whatever tag used was about obliteration, a loss of self and structure, a disappearance of the player and the band and a freefall into bliss. J.G. Ballard has a short story where a character develops a process of slowly dissolving into his surroundings – the best of this music evokes the same sort of feelings for me.

AR Kane – Up

Oceanic rock – a music where borders of the self dissolve; laws of gravity are suspended - a rediscovery of lost innocence and peace – hypnotic, narcotic – a freefall into unconsciousness – these are all things AR Kane call to mind… Their songs are spellbinding, shimmering – soundtracks to dream imagery – sounds without origin and seemingly without end – tap into our sense of another hidden world beneath reality – something glimpsed out of the corner of your eye – like stars that can only be viewed peripherally. They are about the immobility of rapture – beauty as narcotic…


My Bloody Valentine – Slow

"Slow" sounds as though their desires have put them in peril – ravished to the point of debility – the vampire as sexual allegory – the rush of blood away from the head - excess brings on pallor, sex makes you ill. Like most of these bands their music is removed from strong riffs and power chords – dyslexic surges, swathes, precipices and detonations. The noises seem origin-less. A song with most of its weight removed – just the remnants remaining – in some ways a song with its back broken. Their music deals with the loss of autonomy – a succumbing to desire, a slide into oblivion…


Talk Talk – The Rainbow

A paradise lost – a lament – a wish to conjure the ‘spirit of eden’ again in a world ‘turned upside down’... This music is permeated with melancholy and awe – empty soundscapes – veils of sound. Again you have a sense of boundaries dissolving – an escape to a place or world outside of language…


Cocteau Twins – Eggs and Their Shells

Lullabies taking us back to the original love – the love of mother and child – these are imagined songs that come before language or grammar… There is often a sense of poignancy – an ache and feeling of loss in their songs – the loss of the (pre-birth) memory of maternal haven where there was no gap between desire and fulfillment? A time prior to the actual reality of need and wants…


Loop – Arc Lite

A mind can be overwhelmed by too much information or emptied by focusing on too little – sensory overload vs. sensory deprivation – both ways can take you to a place outside of linear thought and language. Loop’s work is based on repetition – completely immersing the listener in the moment – a road to oblivion – a loss of memory - blindness to the future. Their sound takes us to Nowhere – a place out of time – a utopia.