- 20 June 1994
- Creation (UK), Sire (RoW)
The band’s third album was released in the summer of 1994 and matched its predecessor (Going Blank Again) by reaching number 5 in the UK album charts.
After a whirlwind three year period from the start of 1990 through to the end of 1992 where the band relentlessly toured the world in support of 6 EPs and 2 albums and went from playing a PA and stage-less venue in Dunstable on the Ride EP tour to selling out the 4000 capacity NHK Hall in Tokyo on the Going Blank Again Far East tour, the band spent a few months catching their breath and recharging their batteries.
The Daytripper shows with The Charlatans in Brighton and Blackpool in March 1993 coupled with a Radio One session around the same time for Mark Goodier’s Evening Session programme gave a chance to air some of the new songs that the band had started to work on.
Demo sessions followed in the summer of 1993 at Courtyard Studios in Oxfordshire along with a fairly extensive tour of Sweden and Norway where different new songs were featured in the varied sets.
John Leckie came on board as the album’s producer in the autumn of 1993, working with the band at rehearsal sessions at the Coldroom in Oxford before everyone decamped to Sawmills Studio in Cornwall to begin recording the album in the winter of that year.
The two weeks in Cornwall were followed by another fortnight each side of Christmas at The Manor in Oxfordshire (where Tom Sheehan took both the cover photo for the Birdman single and the inside photo of Carnival of Light).
Finishing touches (including the strings and horns) were done at RAK in London before the mixing sessions at Abbey Road.
The album was finished when an opportunity came up at short notice to record a track with George Drakoulias at Ocean Way in California. George had worked with the band during one of the demo sessions at Courtyard but had been unavailable to produce the album. One of the tracks the band had demoed with George was a cover of The Creation’s How Does It Feel To Feel? and so this was chosen as the track to record together for Carnival Of Light. It was later released as one of the singles from the album.
Many, many tracks were worked on during these extensive sessions across a 15 month period with a number of songs that had seemed certs for the album at the start of 1993 not even making the final cut. A couple of these (Walk On Water and She’s So Fine) were revisited in the Tarantula sessions in 1995 (with She’s So Fine going through a couple of reworkings before ending up as Sunshine/Nowhere To Run) and others (Let’s Get Lost and At The End Of The Universe) were then featured on the various singles released from the album.
The demo of She’s So Fine and another song dropped along the way, Something’s Burning, were then released as part of the Firing Blanks compilation in 2001 along with a recording of the Velvet Underground’s New Age that was recorded at Abbey Road during Carnival Of Light’s mixing sessions.
Crown Of Creation was remixed for the album at Sunset Sound by Andy Bell and the cast list of engineers that worked across the sessions is John Cornfield, Julie Gardener, Nigel Godrich, Chris Brown, Jim Scott and Tom Nellen.
The strings were provided by Electra Strings (who also played with the band at Creation’s 10th Anniversary show at the Royal Albert Hall in June 1994) and the horns by Kick Horns. Simon Whalley and Christchurch Cathedral School Choir appeared on I Don’t Know Where It Comes From (and performed with the band at Ride’s own Royal Albert Hall show in September 1994). Jon Lord played Hammond organ on Moonlight Medicine and At The End Of The Universe.
The cover photo was taken by Gered Mankowitz near the beginning of an overnight session around Oxford that also produced the cover image for How Does It Feel To Feel?