Being my first "resident's" corner post/blog of our new website, I thought it only fitting to talk about the band that influenced me theÂ most in the world of chill/ambient or what I call "a painting of unique and beautiful sounds".
The Cocteau Twins and 4AD hit me like a bolt of lightening back in 1988 when I first came across the album, Blue Bell Knoll.Â This album had some ofÂ the most surreal andÂ dreamy tracks I have ever heard in my life, such as, "A Kissed Out Red Floatboat", "Carolyn's Fingers", and "Blue Bell Knoll" to name a few.Â The Cocteau Twins trioÂ are Robin Guthrie (guitars), Simon Raymond (bass) and Elizabeth Fraiser (vocals), these three were making music I had never heard before. Â This was during a time I was heavily into the alternative/new wave sounds, so it wasn't like I wasn't into the underground already. Â This was different, for them the early albums were asÂ artistic and cutting edge as it gets... at least for me.
Robin literally created a wall of sound with his guitars so much so it sounds like there are other key board players or guitarists in the band.Â Â Elizabeth's voice made me curl up like a baby as she could go into a high pitch or into a deep low tone all in the same sentence. Â Now the pitches in her voice carried you allÂ while trying to understand her own combination of English, Galic and other languages rolled into one dreamstate.
With the manyÂ releases oneÂ would certainly make me sit back as a masterpiece,Â it wasÂ "Victorialand" that really hit a nerve.Â It was soft and created a mood and was an album that took patience to listen too, but if you sat back, closed your eyes you would hear the layers. Â I also found it a great backdrop for writing or setting the mood if you know what I mean...
I would be lucky enough to see them play live a few times in my life. Â My favorite tour was definately Four-Calendar Cafe' as that was during my drinking age so I was not put into the 'under 21' section way in the back like for Heaven or Las Vegas.Â This time I was in front on the floor watching them playÂ live and it was like a dream.Â Years later when I moved to San FranciscoÂ I would befriend Jimmy Siegal (one of my partners from Thump Radio) who I couldn't believe was friends with them.Â You want to talk about freak out, well shortly after meeting Jimmy both Simon and Robin came to visit and we had a nice time at dinner. Â It's always nice when you meet your heroes and they are that cool.Â Robin would go on to work with his project "Violet Indiana" as well as work with Simon on their newÂ label, Bella Union.Â Simon would also go on to release his own solo album whichÂ also is amazing called, "Blame Someone Else".Â TheyÂ invited meÂ back in 1999 toÂ South by Southwest in Austin Texas to do an interview and cover them and the bands on thier label, again a dream come true.
As for Elizabeth, I never had a chance to meet her in personÂ but she really pushed me into the world of down tempo when she did her work with Massive AttackÂ "Teardrop" which has become an anthem in the world of "chill out". From that track is where I made the connection between all the amazing workÂ the Cocteau Twins have done and the world of Chill/Downbeat.Â I had the pleasure of being able to DJ one night while Robin sat next to me and played guitar, it was one of the highlights of my musical career, the set was never released... anyway that should now enlighten or explain why if you listen to Below Zero often you will hear me sneak in a track from the band that made it all happen in a very round about way...
Cocteau Twins - Heaven or Las Vegas