Friday 7 February 2014

4AD: Roots and Offshoots

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This playlist draws 4AD up from the roots to explore the branches that have grown since those luscious early 4AD years when the label was associated with sonic exploring and genre boundary-pushing, while somehow achieving an incredible sense of harmony and potent mixture of bliss and melancholy. What better way to start this trip than with projects involving the respective members some mainstay bands from the label's "golden age" and branching out from there. If you want to stream each of these tracks straight through then skip to the playlist at the bottom, and feel free to share!

Snowbird - All Wishes Are Ghosts

With 2 tracks from Simon Raymonde's new project, featuring Stephanie Dosen on vocals, we've chosen this track because the other well, sounds like a carbon copy of Liz Fraser and you'll already be getting your dose of Liz in this playlist.

Snowbird's website

Robin Guthrie - Circus Circus

This bliss-filled track was taken from his latest LP 'Fortune', released in 2012 on Robin's own label Soleil Après Minuit, through which he has also released his collaborative works with Mark Gardener, Harold Budd and Eraldo Bernocchi. Ultimate recommended tracks from this album: 'Forever Never' and 'Kings Will be Falling'.

Robin Guthrie's website

Elizabeth Fraser - Make Lovely

The golden songstress herself returned to the stage in 2012 for some exclusive shows. This track was performed live with Steve Hackett at the Meltdown Festival in summer 2012.

Elizabeth Fraser's website

Brendan Perry - Wintersun

A main pillar of the epic band Dead Can Dance and since gone solo (as has Lisa Gerrard), this track is taken from his latest album 'Ark'. Same deep haunting voice, fortunately.

Brendan Perry's website

Kim Deal - Walking With A Killer

One of the most legendary women in rock history, as a member of both Pixies and The Breeders, we would not leave Kim out of this playlist and we solidly salute her here. Check out this lovely rendition, delivered solo, with links to a two part interview on her solo direction available on the Wears The Trousers' Soundcloud page. In 2012, the reunited Breeders lineup of Kim and Kelley Deal, Jim Macpherson, and Josephine Wiggs announced a tour to coincide with a 20th anniversary 4AD reissue of 'Last Splash'. There is only one Kim Deal and she will always be a big deal.

Kim Deal's website

Strata Florida - Hang On 

This is the new project of Louise Trehy, radiant starlight of dreampop/shoegaze duo Swallow, who released their debut album 'Blow' on 4AD records in 1992. Having made the transition to the epic Saint Marie Records, we can expect her new LP to be out by summer. Produced by Marc Joy, known for his work with Lights That Change and Golden Fable, this release clearly already promises something special.

Strata Florida's website

Heligoland - Sleepless

Certainly a band with an essence more reminiscent of 'This Mortal Coil', 3 of 3 of the band's releases on France's Commission 45 have involved Robin Guthrie's production skills. We earlier introduced you to snippets of their work here and here. Featuring Karen Vogt on vocals, their music is evidently rooted in 4AD. The band also has an extensive back catalogue, with 3 full-length LPs, 3 EPs and numerous singles.

Heligoland's website

Ummagma - NIMBY

Yet another band to have grown up under the Cocteau influence, who we introduced here and whose latest single we also wrote about, Ummagma's ethereal bliss resonates with an added punch-pulse factor a la Pink Floyd. Nicely straddling that fine territory between dreampop, ethereal wave and shoegaze, this music would be a perfect fit for 4AD then or now. Guthrie has also remixed a track for the band, purportedly to be released on Ear to Ear Records towards mid-2014 (hopefully it will also be available on vinyl).

Ummagma's website

Sealight - When The Rain Starts 

Another project based in France, whose EP 'Dead Letters' also involved Guthrie behind the mixing board. Returning to this band after including them in a previous playlist, Sealight features Sandra Rossini on vocals, sometimes bordering on ethereal ambient.

Sealight's website

Daughter - Home

One band currently being released on 4AD who happen to retain a sense of the mystique of the label's early years. Thank goodness that it has not all gone in the direction of Grimes (regardless of whether or not we actually like her)… There's something to be said for tradition, you know? And it's served them well - just look at them go (and glow)!

Daughter's website

Golden Fable – Sugarloaf

Golden Fable is the delicious brainchild of Rebecca Palin and Tim McIver, both from North Wales, both having been members of Tim And Sam's Tim And The Sam Band With Tim And Sam prior to that. In follow up to their debut album Crossfire, they began work on their second album at Bryn Derwen studios in the summer of 2013, to be released on Bella Union, so we are definitely looking forward to hearing this.

Golden Fable's website

Laetitia Sadier -There is a Price to Pay For Freedom (And it Isn't Security)

I've decided to end this playlist on a spatial note (spatial as in "space"). The dreamy vocals of Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier take us on this cosmic ride, this track taken from her second solo album 'Silencio', released in 2012 on Drag City.

Laetitia Sadier's website

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