Aug. 17th, 2014

illusionofjoy: (Default)

According to the group, this is not a Cocteau Twins record. On the group's website, in the discography section, it is listed under "Compilations, Collaborations & Special Appearances" along with This Mortal Coil's two 1980s LPs. When one rips the disc using Windows Media Player, the metadata auto-populates with the names listed in a different order than they appear on the cover.

For my part, I defer to the wishes of the original artists, hence what you see in title of this post being the same as what appears on the LP cover. However, when it comes to the disc position on the rack, I catalogue it the same way AllMusic.com does: as if it were a Cocteau Twins record. The boring truth regarding my reason for this is simple: I just can't freaking remember whose name comes first on the cover listing if I'm not looking directly at it! So, rather than go hunting in B for Budd (technically correct) or F for Fraser (WMP incorrect), it gets nestled safely in-between the proper Cocteau Twins LPs Victorialand and Blue Bell Knoll.

1986 was a busy year for Cocteau Twins - The Moon and the Melodies was released in November while Victorialand had come out in April sans Simon Raymonde because of his work on This Mortal Coil's Filigree & Shadow (also released in 1986). Harold Budd was a composer and pianist who collaborated with the three members of Cocteau Twins to create a soundtrack for a television programme. When the programme never got made, they kept the material which had been recorded and released it as an independent project.

Given the origins, it is not surprising that most of the work on here is instrumental. Elizabeth Fraser can be heard singing on only half of the tracks on the LP: "Sea, Swallow Me;" "Eyes Are Mosaics;" "She Will Destroy You;" and "Ooze Out and Away, Onehow." On the CD, these are tracks 1, 4, 5 and 8, respectively. However, on the vinyl LP, Elizabeth Fraser's voice ends up opening and closing not only the whole record, but each side of it as well. This is what I call well balanced.

Dif Juz saxophonist Richard Thomas joins in on his primary instrument for "She Will Destroy You" and "The Ghost Has No Name," then switches to drums for "Bloody and Blunt." Around this time Dif Juz went on "an extended hiatus," never officially breaking up but the members of the group have yet to – and likely won't – collaborate again.

The Moon and the Melodies sounds very much like Victorialand, perhaps with a few louder moments here and there. It is about five minutes longer than that album, which is still a quick listen. We remain firmly in the realm of dreampop.

I find myself listening to this the day after I ventured out to catch a few bands on the Wild Kindness Records Showcase, which was put on at Cattivo as part of R.A.N.T. in Pittsburgh's Lawrenceville neighbourhood. Opening that set was a group called Sleep Experiments. Upon hearing their dreamy, shoegaze, I thought, "this is a lot like Cocteau Twins…or Pittsburgh's own Low Sunday with a female vocalist." I bought their CD; expect me to write about it once Off the Rack gets to the letter S.

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Seth Warren

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