All Songs Considered
Wed January 30, 2013
From My Bloody Valentine's Many Layers, An Orchestral Pop Song Emerges
Originally published on Wed January 30, 2013 3:32 pm
We're still anxiously awaiting My Bloody Valentine's long-promised followup to the band's 1991 classic Loveless. Frontman Kevin Shields announced at a live show recently that it could come out as early as today. But in the meantime, check out this lovely orchestrated version of the MBV song "To Here Knows When," from Canadian soprano Rachel Zeffira.
Zeffira says she'd never even heard of My Bloody Valentine until a few years ago, when a friend turned her onto Loveless. But the moment she heard it, she says she could imagine "To Here Knows When" as a fully orchestrated, acoustic pop song. The live recording of Zeffira's version featured here was captured in a homemade video, in one take, at Abbey Road Studios in Westminster, London. The song also appears on her upcoming album, The Deserters.
In an email, Zeffira tells us she heard "a whole world inside My Bloody Valentine's guitar layers that I thought could be translated to an orchestral world. The cellos and violins play glissandi in order to interpret Kevin's guitar bends, and on the album version, I also used a broken English horn to play a harsh drone throughout the song. I couldn't use it for the live recording, though, because its keys fell off right before the session — so that was the end of the English horn. The Abbey Road live version uses a stripped-down orchestra, whereas on the album there are double the number of instruments."
Zeffira says she relied on her own ear to puzzle out My Bloody Valentine's famously indecipherable lyrics. "To be honest," she says, "I'm still not sure if it's 'kiss your fear' or 'kiss your feet,' but I decided to go with 'fear.'"
The Deserters comes out in the U.S. on March 12. But her version of "To Here Knows When" is already available online.
My Bloody Valentine's followup to Loveless is out... who knows when?