Loveless

my bloody valentine

Loveless

Much has been written over the years about the arduous, painstaking creation of my bloody valentine’s 1991 masterpiece. Loveless took over two years to record, with the band visiting over 20 different recording studios in that time. It was an intensely stressful period where frontman Kevin Shields was determined not to compromise an inch of his artistic vision. “The stress was more because of circumstances,” Shields tells Apple Music. “There were chaotic times with no money. There should have been money around, but the direction we went in meant there was no money around.” After the first three months of working on their second album, Shields knew exactly what it should be and developed what he calls a “hardcore attitude” of not letting anything get in the way of that. “If we had any studio problems, I would just stop,” he recalls. “Turn the switch off and go, ‘Robot doesn’t work now,’ and basically not function.”
Despite all the external pressures, Shields was able to protect the thing that mattered most to him: the music. “The actual record that you hear, everything was recorded in a really good, non-stressful atmosphere,” he says. “It was done in a positive, happy environment. It just meant all the stressful bits were downtime.”
An intoxicating, hypnotic listen, it’s propelled by opener “Only Shallow,” a rush of heavy guitar strums, stomping drums, and dreamy vocals. “It’s basically a bunch of ’60s guitar equipment but then sampling it and playing it over itself a few times,” says Shields. Although the production techniques here were pioneering and complex, Shields’ approach to the songs was all about directness. The mesmerizing sway of “Sometimes” sums it up perfectly. “The basic idea for that was brief and quite simple, complicated in some weird ways. I wanted it to be this vocal thing and I imagined this musical thing happening at the end, very straight and simple.”
Loveless is rock music as soundscapes that seem to shape-shift right in front of you, purposely designed so that each listen is different. “It was mixed in a certain way so your mind can easily focus on differences,” Shields says. “There’s nothing obvious to focus on. So, because of that, it depends what mood you’re in or how loud you’re hearing it.” It means that Loveless’ creator gets to experience it as anyone else would. “It happens to me as much as anybody else, even though I know exactly what’s happening.”

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