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We are incredibly pleased to announce the release of ‘Lifetime Of Love’, the debut album by Moon Diagrams, the solo recording project of Deerhunter co-founder and drummer Moses John Archuleta. A co-release by Sonic Cathedral (UK/EU) and Geographic North (US/ROW), our version comes on limited-edition double vinyl — one red, one pink — pressed at 45rpm, a CD in a mini LP sleeve, plus a digital version available on all download and streaming services. It’s out on June 30, but pre-order links are below.

Pre-order double vinyl

Pre-order CD

Pre-order digital

The US/ROW version is available from Geographic North

‘Lifetime Of Love’ was recorded in Georgia (Atlanta and Athens) and New York (Manhattan’s East Village) and gradually pieced together over a ten-year period. It finds Archuleta processing various stages of love, loss and regeneration via forlorn outsider pop, minimal techno and warm, weightless experimentation.

Hymnal opener ‘Playground’ has echoes of Eno and Grouper; lengthy workouts such as ‘The Ghost And The Host’ recall long-lost Harmonia outtakes, or something from one of Warp’s ‘Artificial Intelligence’ compilations; the bitter pill pop of ‘End Of Heartache’ – now premiering on FACT Magazine – has the scratchy guitar of New Order circa ‘Brotherhood’ and the square pegness of ‘Dazzle Ships’-era OMD. Several songs are instrumental, while ‘Bodymaker’ features Sian Ahern (Eaux, Sian Alice Group).

Throughout the album’s eight tracks, Archuleta follows sudden fits of inspiration or moments of chance, letting the unknown happen naturally, while still confining himself to a set of boundaries. Samples were taken from thrift store-sourced LPs, removed from their sleeves and chosen at random to find loops and textures. Elsewhere, he would anonymise digital songs and files, erasing track names and re-recording new versions of the randomised mixes.

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‘Lifetime Of Love’ is actually the result of three extended fugue states, each marked by a specific moment of catharsis. In 2007, between the release of Deerhunter’s breakthrough album ‘Cryptograms’ and 2008’s ‘Microcastle’, Archuleta began his earliest solo experiments. The nascent exploration was enough to free himself and create sounds without inhibition. ‘Bodymaker’ and ‘Nightmoves’ are products of these first recording sessions, capturing Archuleta’s willingness to venture outside of the taut, mesmerising drone-rock of his main band. The chilling, ambient techno of ‘Nightmoves’ perfectly foils and compliments ‘Bodymaker’’s broodingly sullen but sincerely beautiful shuffle into the dark.

Between 2012 and 2015, Archuleta experienced a reset of sorts following the collapse of his marriage (a ten-year relationship). Tours in support of artists including Ariel Pink and James Ferraro led to a rekindled interest in his solo material and he began actively cutting himself off from a number of personal relationships and experimenting with various drugs in order to begin recording again. Locking himself in his practice space, Archuleta would use only the spare instruments he found lying around in recording sessions. This period yielded a disparate mix of sonic sketches, from eerily bucolic choir recordings (‘Playground’), to dusty art-pop (‘Moon Diagrams’) and infectiously jubilant dance pop (‘End Of Heartache’).

For the final period, Archuleta found inspiration following an extended stint in Berlin, after he had decided to fly out of the US on Christmas day, largely estranging himself from his friends and family. While holed up in the Michelberger Hotel, Archuleta fully intended to finish the album. Instead, he remained in a state of relative isolation, haunting the hotel and taking in the city’s dark energy. After three weeks, Archuleta returned home to Atlanta, without having made much headway. Feeling unproductive, depressed and disorientated by jet lag, Archuleta resolved to finish the LP, working in a three-day flurry of productivity that resulted in ‘Blue Ring’, ‘The Ghost And The Host’, ‘Magic Killer’ and the final album edits.

Subtly grandiose and quietly epic, ‘Lifetime Of Love’ really does live up to its title: a hopeful and curious beginning makes way for a morose middle before a bittersweet, optimistic end.

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It’s time to relax once again at the third instalment of Ambience Chasers, our monthly exploration of the world of echo with Ulrich Schnauss.

Joining us on the decks this month is special guest DJ Richard Norris – one half of The Grid, Beyond The Wizards Sleeve and now Circle Sky. We can’t wait to hear what he is going to play.

Live we have the incredible Howlround, a duo who manipulate loops of natural acoustic sounds on vintage reel-to-reel tape machines to create magical abstract hauntology.

On the big screen (*ahem* wall by the toilet door) we will be showing two incredible films: Ron Fricke’s ‘Chronos’ and Jennifer Baichwal’s stunning documentary about photographer Edward Burtynsky, ‘Manufactured Landscapes’. Clips of both below.


We will also be giving away coupons to get 25% off issues of the essential Electronic Sound magazine and revealing the line-up for May, which is going to be a big one. Doors at 7pm, entry is free.

There’s more info on the Facebook event page here.

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We are incredibly pleased to announce a special, one-off reissue of Mojave 3’s debut album, ‘Ask Me Tomorrow’, limited to just 500 copies, pressed on seafoam green vinyl and with Vaughan Oliver and Chris Bigg’s artwork beautifully repurposed in a shiny gold mirror board sleeve.

Pre-order ‘Ask Me Tomorrow’ from the Sonic Cathedral Shop now!
‘Ask Me Tomorrow’ has been unavailable on vinyl since its release on 4AD in October, 1995 and original copies now change hands for three-figure sums. The reissue is timely as it follows the recent announcement of Slowdive’s fourth album, and this could well have been that record, but after being dropped by Creation following the release of ‘Pygmalion’, the band – reduced to a three-piece of Neil Halstead, Rachel Goswell and Ian McCutcheon – rechristened themselves Mojave 3 and experimented with stripped-down, acoustic songs more in thrall to Leonard Cohen than LFO.

As a result, ‘Ask Me Tomorrow’ is essentially Slowdive Unplugged; a special record, with a unique, hushed grandeur all of its own.

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‘Ask Me Tomorrow’ is actually an album of demos. Neil Halstead had started recording at his flat above a carpet shop on the corner of Ladbroke Grove and Lancaster Road in west London – the very same place in which he conceived much of ‘Pygmalion’, which was inspired by his housemates Darren Seymour of Seefeel and Mark Van Hoen, who recorded electronica as Locust and Autocreation.

“I just wanted to try some songs, because ‘Pygmalion’ was so abstract,” explains Neil of this musical about-turn. “I wasn’t writing for a record at that point, just messing round on an acoustic and listening to a lot of Leonard Cohen and Nick Drake, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons… This was even while ‘Pygmalion’ was being made, almost as a way to relax and change worlds.”

“I remember recording the vocals for ‘Love Songs On The Radio’ at Neil’s flat,” says Rachel Goswell. “We were also lucky to still have a publishing deal with EMI, so we were able to utilise their studio in central London for recording, too.”

Joined by Christopher Andrews on piano, they recorded a further three songs, live, during a one-day session. “We couldn’t separate the instruments, drums and vocals because the studio was so small,” explains Neil. “I think that’s why there is a lot of reverb over the tracks – everything bleeds into everything else. The only way to mix it was to push the room mics up and push the vocals up.”

With six songs completed they made some demo tapes, still marked with the name Slowdive, one of which was sent to Ivo Watts-Russell at 4AD, who initially ignored it for a couple weeks. “I thought, if they’d been dropped and 4AD wasn’t having a blazing success with anything, then what could we do that Creation couldn’t?” Ivo tells writer Martin Aston in his definitive 4AD history, ‘Facing The Other Way’. “But once I played the tape, I instantly adored it.” He wanted them to follow in the footsteps of the Red House Painters and make their demo their debut album.

However, Neil had since gone travelling in the Middle East, spending time in Jordan, Egypt and Israel: “I remember calling Rachel to check in and she said Ivo had heard the demo and loved it and that I should come back so we could record a few more tunes and put an album out on 4AD.”

On his return, they recorded three further songs in south London’s Blackwing Studios, with the assistance of former Chapterhouse guitarist (and future full-time Mojave member) Simon Rowe and, almost without trying, an album was complete.

“The thing I remember about working on ‘Ask Me Tomorrow’ is that the recordings came together pretty quickly and it all seemed so effortless,” says drummer Ian McCutcheon. “It was a really positive time, the complete antithesis to the final months of the Creation era.”

“I didn’t dream for a moment we would get picked up so quickly by another label and for it to be 4AD was just amazing,” reveals Rachel. “Creation to 4AD – the two greatest indie labels at that time.”

“The band name came while we were mastering the record,” explains Neil. “A friend of ours was at Abbey Road with us that day and 4AD were asking what we wanted to call the new project. She suggested Mojave because she thought the music had a wide-open, desert quality and so we thought, ‘Oh, maybe that could work…’ Of course, in true Spinal Tap tradition there was already a German band called Mojave, so we added the ‘3’ as we were a three-piece. That sort of became redundant later when we were six!”

But three was the magic number and, on October 16, 1995 – just 252 days after Slowdive’s swansong was released – the metamorphosis was complete and Mojave 3 were born. What happened next? Well, just ask me tomorrow…

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It’s the Independent Label Market at Old Spitalfields Market in London on Saturday (April 1) and we will have a whole load of exclusives and rarities for sale on the Sonic Cathedral stall, including a brand new 7″ single and a top secret, as-yet-unannounced new release that you can only see by giving us a password. Here’s the full list:

Exclusive, limited-edition red vinyl 7″ single of Lorelle Meets The Obsolete’s ace ‘The Sound Of All Things’, taken from last year’s acclaimed fourth album, ‘Balance’. It’s the long song where lapping, ambient beauty gives way to a stormy sea of psych-rock, like Moon Duo tripping out with The Orb. According to the band, it’s all inspired by John Cage and the ocean near their home in Ensenada, Baja California. It comes backed with a brand new remix by the wonderful Russian band Gnoomes, who have turned it into an electro-psych monster.

We’re going to be announcing a really exciting and incredibly shiny new release next week by one of our favourite bands ever, but you can get hold of a copy beforehand as we will have a few copies hidden out of view, under the counter. You just need to come to the stall, tap your nose and ask ‘what is the magic number?’ For a mere £20 we will let you find out! Here’s a clue.

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We will also have copies of all of our new and recent albums: the last few copies of Spectres’ ‘Condition’ on vinyl, XAM Duo’s self-titled epic, both albums by The Early Years, the new reissue of Neil Halstead’s ‘Palindrome Hunches’ on ochre vinyl, plus a selection of back catalogue LPS, CDs, tapes and T-shirts. We’ve also dug out some rarities – including two copies of the rare as hens’ teeth ‘Psych For Sore Eyes 2’ EP and some Neil Halstead ‘Alison’ 7″s, sadly minus their card sleeves, but still going for big bucks on Discogs.

It’s not just Sonic Cathedral stuff either – we will also be selling vinyl copies of Brooklyn dream-folk trio Wilsen’s excellent forthcoming debut album ‘I Go Missing In My Sleep’ on behalf of our good friends at Dalliance Recordings.

Plus, if you’re not bothered about records, there will be Match Attax football cards courtesy of Epic Openings! – he is promising limiteds and shinies from all the recent collections, including both the Premier League and the Champions League.

The stall will be open from 11am and there are lots of fine labels in attendance. The full list, plus a handy map is below.

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Neil Halstead’s classic solo album, ‘Palindrome Hunches’, is once again available on vinyl.

>>> BUY THE REPRESS OF ‘PALINDROME HUNCHES’ <<<

We originally released the Slowdive and Mojave 3 man’s third solo effort in late-2012, and there were only 300 copies pressed for the European market (Neil’s US label Brushfire pressed up another 500 copies). Not surprisingly, it hasn’t been readily available since.

We have now released 300 copies on beautiful transparent ochre vinyl, so grab a copy before they’re just an expensive memory on Discogs yet again. All copies come with a free Bandcamp download. Just in case you need reminding how incredible ‘Palindrome Hunches’ is, here’s the opening track ‘Digging Shelters’ and you can listen to the whole thing on Spotify below.