The Silver Field – aka Coral Rose – shared her debut album Rooms on Tim Burgess’ O Genesis Recordings on 18th January. It was recorded in Coral’s bedroom using loops & layers generated by a plethora of instruments – including; the double bass, cello, guitar, mandolin, harmonium, harmonica and a bagpipe chanter – with her father’s old SPX-90 saturating her sounds in delays and reverts.
Rooms is a delicate but formidable accomplishment, and we wanted to know what inspired Coral to create such textured sounds. We asked her to name her “Five Favourites” – five artists or albums that have influenced her songwriting technique – and her eclectic responses are listed below…
1. Kate Bush – Hounds of Love
I have listened to this album more than any other and I still hear new things in it. The place she got to with arranging and producing and songwriting on this album… It’s an amazing record of a musician at the peak of her career. I hate that phrase because it makes it seem like everything she made after it wasn’t as good, which isn’t true (I’m looking at you lovingly, Sky of Honey). But it really feels that with Hounds of Love she was able to say what she wanted to say in the ways she wanted to say it. She had everything she needed and she focused on her vision and the result is this bloody masterpiece – a vivid dream, so abundant in imagery, each song like a scene in a play almost, a story of some place and time, and often connected somehow to the landscape. I think it’s quite a pastoral record in a way, a romantic, an environmental record. It really feels like each song is a journey somewhere new, from trees to hill to sky to shipwrecked at sea, to under the ice, until finally we’re looking down at the whole earth, and the storms and the sailors and – deeper, deeper, somewhere in the depth there is a light! – and then the dream ends and she leaves us held safe in the calm of the morning fog (a hyperballad moment!)
2. Arthur Russell – World of Echo
‘A Little Lost’ got me into Arthur Russell – I even remember where I was when I first heard it – but World of Echo is what got me hooked. In Wild Combination (the film about his life and work) it shows his apartment where he recorded with this big fish tank in it, and – ok, it gets said a lot – this record really is underwater music. Underwater in a way that my body just needs, the same way it needs the soft fog of Grouper’s Ruins or the sparks and screeches of Shaking the Habitual – some records just make your inner world make sense, and I feel most at home in this one. Sea creatures fly around, plants flow in the current, the wet tapes and the lisping cello and bubbling drum machines, it’s such a cohesive world of half-light and playful melody; I can spend a lot of time in these fish tanks of his! I love his other songs, his disco music and his country music, but this album is a very special place to me. I trust it, and I know that’s an odd thing to say about music, but that’s what the feeling is!
3. Massive Attack – Protection
This album has been with me for a long time. I remember my parents playing it when I was a kid and I remember rediscovering it as a teenager. And then it came back to me again another 10 years later, and those roots reached right back and it became something very central to me, it sits right in my musical core. I was talking to my Dad about it and saying about how full of warmth I felt it was, and he said “yes, and cold at the same time”, and I get what he means. There’s a lot in this record, so many different styles, instruments, voices, egos; that there ends up being quite a lot of contradictions, but for me it’s this tension, collaboration in action, that makes it so beautiful. They all put a lot into this record, and I feel like you can hear where the clashes happened and people had to compromise and temper their vision, and I think that’s where they made something really special. It has a kind of balance and grace, which feels like a rare, precious thing.
4. Aïsha Devi – Of Matter and Spirit
If Protection is warmth and cold at the same time, this record turns that up til it’s sharpened and crystalline; it’s all ice and fire and lead-weight beats deep underground; burning, primal mountain music. It’s intense listening, it’s a real trip, but it feels ceremonial, in that it breaks you down but holds the pieces, and keeps them safe, and all the grit and dirt fall out of the gaps and you come out the other side of it put back together again, cleaner, more whole, despite what you’ve lost. That’s a kind of alchemy, I think. I saw her live and it was that experience taken even further, at times it was almost too much, almost distressing, but by the end of the night the feeling it left me with was a kind of clarity and freedom that I don’t think I’ve ever got from live music in the same way before. It was something very physical, almost like it was a by-product of listening to the music, rather than the direct emotional effect. She also collaborated with some designers to make a computer game for this album, which I really loved!
5. Muna – About U
This is just such a perfect pop record. I had to stop listening to it for a while because the songs took over my head and for weeks they were all I could listen to. For me it’s on a similar kind of feels channel as Carly Rae Jepsen or Tegan and Sara but it brings those teenage-era fears and vulnerabilities out into the day, sits them down, gives them a drink, dries off their clothes, and you sit around talking with each other and making friends and the fears fall away and you end up dancing until the morning. It’s very fun but very wholesome and it feels like there’s a lot of kindness and wisdom in it. I don’t really understand why they’re not at superstar-levels of fame! When I listen to it I just want to keep turning it up louder and louder, the production is so satisfyingly thick and to mix that with the level of raw emotion that is underpinning it is really intoxicating, and, ok, I’m going to be hooked again…
Huge thanks to Coral Rose for sharing her favourites. You can buy a copy of The Silver Field’s Rooms here.