Slowdive - Pygmalion (1995)
Cover Front Album
Artist/Composer Slowdive
Format mp3
Genre Alternative Pop/Rock; Ambient; Dream Pop; Post-Rock/Experimental
Index 3976
Track List
01 Rutti
02 Crazy for You
03 Miranda
04 Trellisaze
05 Cello
06 J's Heaven
07 Visions of La
08 Blue Skied an' Clear
09 All of Us
Purchase Date 7/1/2004
Store Soulseek
kbps 192
Spars DDD
Rare No
Sound Stereo
Pygmalion isn't quite the departure you've been lead to believe it is. While the slippery floes of "Rutti," "Crazy for You," and "Blue Skied an' Clear" are certainly more electronically based than any of Slowdive's previous material, the intent is similar to earlier tracks like "Avalyn" and "Morningrise"; they each create a blissful, dreamlike state where time slows down and one begins to lose a sense of self. Instead of piling on loads of droning, phased guitars, lightly pulsing beats that barely register and bright atmospherics take over.
Actually, Neil Halstead took over. Not happy with the direction of the material during recording, bassist Nick Chaplin and guitarist Christian Savill fled the scene. (They're credited in the sleeve, but as to whether or not they contributed a note is hazy.) This actually aided the progression of the record, which benefits from its minimalism. Rachel Goswell went along for the ride, contributing occasional lyrics and vocals, and newbie Ian McCutcheon provided light drumming for two of the album's most arresting tracks. So it's basically a Halstead solo record, but it really doesn't stick out that much from the remainder of the band's discography. After all, the earlier Five EP and its accompanying remix single ventured into intelligent techno.
Pygmalion isn't the snoozefest you might have been told it is, either. Though Creation's Alan McGee hated the record for its lack of proper tunes (and dropped them weeks after release), fans of Brian Eno's ambient works and Talk Talk's last three albums will find plenty to be excited about. Not incredibly similar stylistically, the tickling, gentle rush of "Rutti" indirectly name drops the Durutti Column, another vehicle known for evocative instrumentals. The direction Halstead, Goswell, and McCutcheon would shoot off to with the first Mojave 3 record is hinted at in "All of Us" and the brief "Visions of La," including sparse acoustic guitar and candle-lit production flourishes.
So what if you drift off to the record while listening to it? If you need to tuck away for a while, Pygmalion has all the tools to provide a peaceful slumber. And if you want a little more action in your ambient music, check Hex by Bark Psychosis, a majestic cousin of Pygmalion released a year prior. — Andy Kellman