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Top 25 Art Blog - Creative Tourist

Coves and Caves: Spinnerets & Heart Explodes

The Manchester based band Coves and Caves have produced a beautiful debut album that was well worth the wait...

Written by Amelia Gregory

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I was first introduced to the glorious dreampop of Manchester based Coves & Caves when the band got in touch to tell me about their debut album which they have spent several years recording, with beguiling results. I asked them to put together some exclusive words about the album and video for Heart Explodes

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The album – Spinnerets:

We spent two long years recording Spinnerets; either in our studio above a barbershop or in the bedrooms and bathrooms of our collective homes. We took the decision at the start to do everything ourselves – the arrangement and production was such an integral part of each song that we needed complete control. We took this to extremes, even attempting to learn the trumpet so we could add some horns to a couple of tracks. Inevitably this resulted in the only enlistment of outside help, in the form of brass supremo Ben Dumville.

We tried to find a sound that blended live instrumentation with synths and electronics, something that had warmth and intricacy. Samples were used sparingly, and usually just of ourselves – manipulated until they were almost unrecognisable. Early on in the recording we lost our drummer, so we had to think creatively when it came to percussion. We mixed layered up single live drums, children’s toys, machines and even an old mahogany desk to build rhythms that, although lacking in some technical proficiency, provided a uniquely disjointed and at times unsettling underpinning to the songs.

Each member of the band brought different influences to the writing and recording process – mixing together Beach Boys harmonies, early 90′s hip hop beats, Soft Cell synths, folk melodies, Dave Fridman arrangements and P-Funk bass. Somewhat conflicting reference points that seemed to work when we brought them all together.

The title Spinnerets came from a lyric in the closing song Man-Made. In that instance the word referred to plastics, but the alternative meaning of silk-spinning spider organs seemed to resonate. Spinnerets are complex structures that produce something that is both delicate and strong – and we think that’s what we’ve managed to achieve through the songs on this album.

The video – Heart Explodes:

Director Patrick Mateer of M&G Photographic: ‘The video concept evolved from an idea from the band – using a slowly inflating exploding balloon, shot in timelapse, over the course of the day, until an eventual explosion. I took some of these elements – the balloon, the passing of a day, the timelapse – and developed an abstract narrative around them.

One of the things I liked about the song was the way such a sweet, flowing melody is juxtaposed with harsh electronica, with syncopated drums patterns, dropping in and out of the song. I liked the way these disparate parts had a relationship of both togetherness and otherness. I tried to reflect this in the way that the images and scenes followed one another. At times they flow at others they are jarring, jumping from the countryside to the city centre, from night to day.

I shot the video over the course of a number of days and nights at what must be around 60 locations along the holderness coast and around Hull and the East Riding, shooting nearly every scene like I would shoot a landscape photograph, but of course with a disconnected, visually incongruous figure within each one, each with their balloon.

I used one of my favourite artists, Jeff Wall, as an influence – in particular ‘A Sudden Gust Of Wind (After Hokusai)‘. Wall’s piece is a contrivance of disparate, dissociated parts – the figures are disconnected from the landscape and disconnected from each other. I love the fact that it is very much a moment frozen in time, but a completely contrived and constructed one. It’s also a bleak landscape and that kind of image has always interested me and I have used some very Wall-esque colours in the final video and I picked out landscapes that were bleak and empty so the figures and the balloons in particular would cut through them.’

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The debut album Spinnerets by Coves & Caves was released in early November on Lost Pilot Recordings, and is available on CD and as a digital download. The band is supporting Tokolosh at The Eagle Inn in Salford on Sat 22 Nov, more info here.

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