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Whirlpool - The Original Recordings

Chapterhouse Audio CD
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
Price: 13.56 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
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Product details

  • Audio CD (13 April 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Space Age Recordings
  • ASIN: B001V7UX1C
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 292,956 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Searching in vain for the holy grail 22 Mar 2010
Format:Audio CD
Hmm. The chapterhouse story for me is one of immense potential, but tragically little recorded product that shows what they were really capable of. Leading up to and around their early records, their gigs were incendiary, a three-guitar attack that was thrilling and promised so much more than the other bands in the so-called Scene That Celebrates Itself like Ride, Lush, Boo Radleys and others. Which brings me to the records.

Falling Down was a fine single, the wah-wah fitting into the baggy sound that was still the ruling indie sound of the time, though live it was hardly a standout. Something More, the follow-up, was fantastic, Feel The Same on the flip likewise. And so to the album.

Whirlpool felt like a colossal disappointment, overproduced and, I don't know, overthought? The production (partly by the great lord of shimmery guitars, Cocteau Twin Robin Guthrie) decidedly chose treble and brightness over depth and dirt and at once removed the earthiness and life from songs that live were vibrant and full of visceral energy. Where was the 'grrrr'? Treasure just about survived, but the rest had the life surgically removed, bass was barely audible in the mix and Something More was turned into a Cocteau Twins pastiche. Falling Down with its swagger, in this company now sounded like the pick of the bunch. This from a band that apparently Alan McGee turned down at Creation for sounding 'too much like the Stooges'. That now sounded inconceivable.

So, on finding that there were a set of 'original recordings' going about my mind got to thinking excitedly about the possibility of hearing the songs as they should have sounded, based on how they sounded live, an aural assault. Unfortunately I have to report that this is not that record.
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Amazon.com: 3.5 out of 5 stars  6 reviews
41 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Celebration of the Possibilities of Sound! 1 May 2003
By Rick Taylor - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
It goes without saying that any mention of the term "shoegaze" immediately brings to mind the name of one band more than any other: My Bloody Valentine. Anyone with even a modicum of interest in alternative/indie pop music has no doubt at least heard of, if not heard, My Bloody Valentine's 1991 opus, "Loveless," an album that many critics and music fans consider to be the *definitive* shoegaze recording of all time and a landmark album in the history of pop music. Of course, all the critical and fan slobber is not without merit---"Loveless" is indeed a masterpiece, and in the horrifying possiblity that you haven't heard it, consider yourself officially ordered to drop everything you're doing and buy it right now!
But there is one problem with "Loveless." Yes, there actually *is* a problem with "Loveless." And that is this: MBV's musical apex has somehow succeeded in completely overshadowing several absolutely stunning albums of the shoegaze genre. I can't tell you just how frustrating it is to hear a music fan say something along these lines: "Well, as far as shoegaze goes, I have MBV's 'Loveless,' and since that album is clearly the benchmark of the genre, I don't need anything else or want to hear any other shoegaze albums."
This attitude makes no sense whatsoever. Imagine if this person had the same mindset about 60s guitar pop and only had "Sgt. Pepper" in his or her collection. That would mean this person would never hear "Pet Sounds," which is a frightening thought.
Well, let me just say this: If "Loveless" is the "Sgt. Pepper" of the shoegaze genre, than "Whirlpool" clearly is its "Pet Sounds." To put it succintly, "Whirlpool" is an amazing aural smorgasbord of swirling guitars, cascading keyboards, trancey and trippin' dance beats, atmospheric and angelic vocals, and waves upon waves of layered, ethereal effects that all add up to something that truly trancends the confines of pop music. And that's what is so great about it. Listening to this album in 2003, I am immediately reminded of the lack of imagination that is so prevalent in much of today's pop music. "Whirlpool" is the sound of four musicians pushing their talents and skills to the absolute limit.
There is almost a palpable feeling of urgency (as well as energy) on this recording, that stems from the excitement of breaking down sonic limitations that is very appealing.
Opening with the hyper-kinetic "Breather," Chapterhouse immediately establish themselves as a band with loads of inspired ideas, many of which are diametrically opposed to one another. And yet, as varying as these ideas are, the band somehow manage to coalesce these sounds into exciting music that gels completely. For example, "Breather" begins with an aggressively played, abrasive, yet still melodic, rock riff. On top of this riff we hear some very aggressive percussion in the form of almost violent-sounding tom rolls, cymbal crashes and a fast tempo. A lesser band would have seized these ideas and proceeded with an all-out 100% aggressive song complete with angry "shouts" or an aggressive vocal approach. But Chapterhouse goes in the opposite direction. When we finally do hear the vocals, it is a revelation. They are soft, gentle, yes, even beautiful. And the vocal phrasing itself is not fast, but slow---going in complete contrast against the aggressive backdrop of guitar and up-tempo drums. In addition, the sublime vocals are blanketed by some truly soothing sounding keyboards. From there we are treated to other interesting background sounds and effects, but you need to be a close listener to hear all of them. Repeated listens reveal that this music has been carefully written and executed---what initially seems just like indiscriminate background noise comes across later as being integral to the full spectrum of the band's sound.
While I love this album from start to finish, my absolute favorite track on here is "Pearl." It opens with a very unusual and distinctive chord melody played on a keyboard and then we hear a very cool sounding guitar come in and do an absolutely killer harmony part. Simply amazing. And from there, the track proceeds to mix some very interesting and quite groove-heavy dance beats with their trademark soft ethereal vocals and swirling guitars. Just a remarkable sonic achievement.
From this point in the album, Chapterhouse continue to gently sway back and forth between delicate, melancholic melodies and outright noise experimentation ("Autosleeper" is a perfect example of this).
I have to admit that it took me numerous listens to fully "get" this album, and even now, there are loads of little nuances that I'm still discovering. But because of this, I am always excited about going back and listening to this album again.
Recommended not just for fans of shoegaze, but for any music fans out there that are genuinely interested in sound experimentation, ambience, and some very nice melodies.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars not the whirlpool album you are familiar with 12 Nov 2009
By Scott D. Walmsley - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is not the whirlpool album you may be familiar with. These are the original mixes produced by chapterhouse with the original engineers who recorded the material during 1990.

The whirlpool album most people are familiar with was remixed by ralph jezzard, robin gutherie, and john fryer and has a much more polished sound and better production value.

This version of whirlpool sounds much more raw and almost demo sounding at times. I would say it sounds more like the EP singles that came out before the album. Is it good? Not really. Is it bad? Not really. Is it worth owning? If you are a die hard chapterhouse fan and want to own everything they have ever put out like I do then I would recommend picking it up for sure...just to hear what a difference can be made in the final mixing stage.

The track "thrasher" is actually just the song "satin safe" with a different name...it is not a `never before released' rare track. the ambient version of "something more" is actually the original EP single version with the drums removed...it is not the version that robin gutherie re-recorded for the more popular version of whirlpool. The cover of the beatles' song "rain" is a slightly different mix but it is nice to have it on CD if you don't own "rownderbout" or the original EP single it was on.

The extended version of guilt is nothing special...just an extended noisy middle section, and treasure is a little longer here as well. But there are times where the poor sound quality spoils the experience and the drums sound like Tupperware containers...

But like I said...if you love chapterhouse and want everything then I recommend picking it up. If you are new to chapterhouse I recommend ordering whirlpool from the cherry red records website because the original pressing had some problems so they repressed it again with corrections and you don't know for sure if you are getting the good or bad one if you order it from somewhere else.

The original bad pressing has the single version of "something more" while the new corrected re-pressing contains the robin gutherie version. The original pressing has some issues in that some of the tracks have the same bit rate as MP3s. The repressed version corrected this problem.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars shoegaze classic 22 Feb 2013
By Eric - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
This is one of the great albums from the original era of shoegaze. Which is back again, and not just because "m b v" just came out. Chapterhouse were short-lived (like a lot of the original greats), but this album still holds up, with no filler and many memorable tracks. While they're not in the Slowdive/MBV/Lush range, they're definitely proudly among the second tier like Swervedriver, Catherine Wheel or Pale Saints. There's a dreamy comfort to their hooks, and titles like "Pearl," "Treasure," or "Mesmerise?" All true.
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lush, melodic and dreamy. 25 July 2005
By Oddmoore - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Whirlpool from Chapterhouse is one of the most melodic and interesting efforts from any of the Shoegazer, bands. The music is a wash of reverb and liquid melodies Accentuated with drums that almost have a John Bonham feel to their mix. This particular release was by far Chapterhouse's best.
0 of 5 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A very patchy album 9 May 2006
By Carpet Master - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I've no idea why fans of Chapterhouse rate Whirlpool as their best album. Blood Music is much more consistant, the tracks are stronger and well produced, and it has also aged much better than Whirlpool.

Whirlpool to my ears always sounded like the work of a band who didn't really know what they wanted to achieve, and consequently they made a bit of a dog's dinner of their first album. Admittedly there are some great moments; the obvious examples being Breather and Pearl. But there are some very weak links too, where they really do sound like just another derivative shoegazing band trying unsuccessfully to rip off a few My Bloody Valentine riffs (and the lesser moments of MBV at that!)

If all you've heard is Pearl amd you liked it, then I think you'd be happier purchasing Blood Music first. Don't be distracted by the new version of Whirlpool with the bonus tracks from the early EPs; those songs are just as hit and miss as the original album tracks.
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