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sonic youth: providence, rhode island


Inexplicably, given a back catalogue vast enough now to rival even The Fall\’s, \”Providence, Rhode Island\” has long been the one Sonic Youth track I revisit most frequently, despite the fact \”Daydream Nation\” has easily been supplanted in my affections by many later albums.

The track itself is not indicative of their sixth release itself, on the whole, but has come to embody their 1988 double LP very clearly in my mind.

After the synth driven loops and rhythms of their temporary incarnation as Ciccone Youth, the band returned to terra firma to work on this new studio release launched on the back of a North American tour which quickly evolved into a serious attempt for global domination with dates in the USSR and Japan in early 1989, and a subsequent whirlwind tour of Europe where Sub Pop\’s Mudhoney were unleashed on support to very favourable response.


Last year I went back to see the album performed in its original entirety at a cinema in Glasgow as part of the group\’s contribution to ATP\’s \”Don\’t Look Back\” series. Throughout the frenetic two hour long set – performed, I seem to recall, in their original stage \’costumes\’ too – \”Providence\” refused to be relegated as the particular highlight for me; a curiosity of quietly epic proportion.

Recorded and Mixed at Greene Street Recording, July – August 1988, New York City. Cover image, \”Candle\” by artist, Gerhard Richter, 1983.

Not quite \”Eric\’s Trip\”, perhaps, but certainly a nod in the direction to a walk in the park in the footsteps of eccentric luminary, Erik Satie.

SONIC YOUTH: PROVIDENCE from \”Daydream Nation\” 2 x LP (Enigma / Blast First) 1988 (US)

PURCHASE DAYDREAM NATION (DELUXE EDITION)

#1988

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