Cinerama in session for John Peel tonight – their seventh of an astonishing ten sessions the band did for Peel throughout the late 90s/early 000’s. Fronted by David Gedge, who also fronted The Wedding Present, the two bands interacted quite a bit and, at times, almost seemed like one in the same.
In 1996 to the usual flurry of critical approval, Gedge started work on a solo project, CINERAMA. A fittingly titled outfit, Cinerama indulged Gedge’s love of film music from John Barry to Ennio Morricone… via Blaxploitation and The Ventures! Cinerama went on to record three stunning studio albums, VA VA VOOM, DISCO VOLANTE and TORINO.
At the end of 2002, Gedge split up with Sally Murrell, his long-time girlfriend and chief Cinerama collaborator. He decided to leave Leeds, his home for the preceding twenty-four years, and move to Seattle, where he began writing a collection of songs apparently influenced by his despair over the split. TAKE FOUNTAIN, the resultant album, was recorded by Steve Fisk and released, perhaps ironically, on St. Valentine’s Day, 2005. This long awaited LP brought The Wedding Present back into the spotlight with all the style and sophistication associated with a legendary group, but fans were also pleased to see the band had lost none of the growling angst with which they had burst onto the scene in 1985.
In January 2008 the band returned to Steve Albini for the recording of EL REY, which was released in the summer of that year to further critical acclaim. At the end of 2008 Gedge fulfilled a long held ambition by releasing a bona fide Christmas song, HOLLY JOLLY HOLLYWOOD, a duet with Los Angeles based chanteuse, Simone White.
In 2009, as well launching his own mini-festival, AT THE EDGE OF THE SEA, which he curates and which now takes place every year in Brighton [UK], he also took part in a major collaboration with the BBC Big Band for the biannual ‘Fuse’ Festival which was held back in his home town of Leeds. For the event he performed Wedding Present and Cinerama songs backed by eighteen world class musicians including legendary ‘James Bond’ trumpeter Derek Watkins. Also in 2009, two Take Fountain songs, I’M FROM FURTHER NORTH THAN YOU and RINGWAY TO SEATAC, appeared in the award winning independent film Skills Like This.
In 2012 The Wedding present released VALENTINA [which was mixed in L.A. by Grammy award winning producer Andrew Scheps] to further rave reviews. 2012 also saw the release of a new comic book series, TALES FROM THE WEDDING PRESENT, which, Gedge has hinted, is essentially his memoirs in graphic novel style.
In what turned out to be a huge and comprehensive reassessment of the band, 2014 saw Edsel Records re-releasing seven Wedding Present albums in critically acclaimed multi-disc ‘extended’ editions which brought together a wealth of historic recordings, radio sessions and videos.
Such has been the unpredictable nature of Gedge’s career over the years, hardly anyone could have be surprised when he announced yet another remarkable project in 2015. Collaborating with Spanish indie legend Pedro Vigil he decided to completely ‘re-imagine’ The Wedding Present’s VALENTINA album as Cinerama. The resulting album was also entitled VALENTINA and, with its “musical set pieces and vocal nuances fine enough to rival Bacharach and David”, was described as “a truly sparkling and uplifting concerto for the modern age” by Vive Le Rock Magazine.
With all that in mind, here is their seventh session for John Peel, recorded on May 13 and broadcast on May 24, 2001 over BBC Radio 1.
Brace yourselves – next week is coming . . . .quickly.