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The Coral Sea


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Audio CD, July 8, 2008
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Editorial Reviews

Legendary artist Patti Smith and My Bloody Valentine s Kevin Shields are set to release a double disc set of their live performance of The Coral Sea on their own PASK imprint. The Coral Sea is Patti Smith s posthumous homage to her friend and photographer Robert Mapplethorpe and the title to her 1997 book. Kevin Shields accompanies her on guitars and effects and creates a haunting backdrop to the spoken prose. The love recordings were made June 22nd 2005 and September 12th 2006 respectively at sold out performances at the QEH in London. The set will run almost two hours with a different stylistic approach to each performance. The UK s Guardian upon reviewing
the 2005 performance gave it 5 stars and called it magical. One critic
said of the live performance: A kind of screaming requiem, The Coral Sea describes Mapplethorpe s terminal illness. Intense, layered electronics surged to a discordant climax as Patti Smith read her poem, the words sailing over the noise like an ocean liner, with the black and white video showing the ocean, the liner and the grey twilight of grief. The poem tells the story of M
(Mapplethorpe) on a final voyage to see the stars of the Southern Cross before
he dies.

Disc: 1
1. The Coral Sea - Kevin Shields / Patti Smith
Disc: 2
1. The Coral Sea - Kevin Shields / Patti Smith

Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 8, 2008)
  • Original Release Date: 2008
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Pask Records
  • ASIN: B0018OZGZG
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #155,415 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

25 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Steve on July 10, 2008
Format: Audio CD
This is Patti Smith's most authoritative work since the "Horses" days. She's always been a superb reader of her own work, and in this recital of her tribute to departed friend Robert Mapplethorpe she plumbs mysterious depths of emotion and artistry untapped by the wobbly albums that emerged in the wake of her 1990s return to performing. Kevin Shields of My Bloody Valentine provides simple, spare but never simplistic accompaniment, ranging from organ to effects-drenched guitar. The performances must have been magical, but this recording creates its own spell -- moody, powerful, touching and unbelievably intense.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Abe Lincoln on August 25, 2008
Format: Audio CD
One of the other reviewers said this piece echoes her earlier, less overtly political work, and I think that's true. In particular, "Birdland" from Horses comes to mind. At the same time, The Coral Sea is even more intense and demanding of the listener's attention than that. I played to it for the first time on a long drive alone in the car, late at night, so I was able to stay with it. The power of the piece creeps up on you. I was floored by it.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By D. Lipp on July 27, 2008
Format: Audio CD
If someone said that punk poet laureate, Patti Smith, would be pairing up with My Bloody Valentine's, Kevin Shields, for a live performance, I would have told them to stop using drugs. The two paired up to do a live performance a few years back and the live album, The Coral Sea, is the result. The album is a musical memorial dedicated to Robert Mapplethorpe, a friend of Smith. The live disc includes excerpts from Smith's epic poem of the same title.

Smith, a legend in her own right, comes through with a heartbreaking record and Shields is brilliant as always, accompanying Smith on guitar throughout her spoken word performance. If you're a Smith fan or looking for an original kind of music, this is the album for you.

--Corey Crossfield

[...]
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Donald S. Handy on April 18, 2010
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
At one time there was supposed to have been a collection of Patti Smith's poetry reading compiled in an album, I believe by Tim Kerr Records. For some reason this fell through. Which was a shame, as her fans were left with only a few examples of her reading her own poetry to cherish.

This release, along with the release of her very first poetry reading on Mer Records, gives her fans a better understanding of, and appreciation for, her spoken-word performances.

The first disc is the better one, in which she most powerfully conveys the emotion behind the words. Simply reading the words in a book cannot suffice to bring the words to life, now that we have this. Anyone who has purchased the book, and liked it, should feel compelled to purchase this, as well.

I don't have anything by My Bloody Valentine, and this does nothing to make me curious to obtain any. I feel that the concept behind the continous drone behind Patti Smith to be one-dimensional, as though Kevin Shields had one idea, which he bled dry. However, it is never overbearing, and is easily-enough ignored.

If you've wavering on whether or not to purchase this disk, don't. It is an important addition to her cannon, which should not be overlooked.
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