Patti Smith and Kevin Sheilds The Coral Sea

Waiting for the next My Bloody Valentine record could take another 17 years but luckily, Kevin Shields has been up to something in the meantime. This live recording, featuring two separate performances in 2005 and 2006, finds the sonic visionary backing punk icon Patti Smith for her poetic tribute to her late friend, artist Robert Mapplethorpe. Aurally matching the late photographer’s arresting art, which graces the exquisite packaging, the bed of droning waves is every bit the MBV extension any fan would desire. Underneath Smith’s zealous prose, Shields uses poise and restraint, bending the low hums to fit the pieces. Despite its hypnotic hold, as casual listening, The Coral Sea doesn’t work — spread across two discs, it can quickly become a trying listen. But like the best art, this is a challenging piece that demands your full attention and appreciation. If and when you can give it 100 percent, you’ll find a remarkable collaboration between two of the best in their fields, as well as an affecting tribute. (PASK/Red)