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This Mortal Coil


Country of origin:

A project based in England, with members from various locales

Type of music generally:

Dark ambient, ethereal dream-pop

Status:

Final release, 1983-1991 (box set, 1993)

See also:

4AD's This Mortal Coil page

Wikipedia's entry for This Mortal Coil

Comparisons:

Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins

Covers/own material:

Own and covers (about half and half)

General comments:

This Mortal Coil was a kind of supergroup project drawing in a lot of people in various groupings at various times, all coordinated by Ivo Watts of 4AD. The sound was dark, ethereal, dreamy, moody.

Recommended first album:

Everyone seems to have a favourite and there doesn't seem to be a lot of consensus

Recordings:


It'll End in Tears

Release info:

1984—4AD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Gini Ball—viola, violin
Mark Cox—DX-7, organ
Howard Devoto—vocals
Elizabeth Fraser (solo and Cocteau Twins)—vocals
Lisa Gerrard (Dead Can Dance)—accordion, looped accordion, vocals, yang chin
Robbie Grey—vocals
Robin Guthrie (Cocteau Twins)—guitar, 12-string guitar, acoustic guitar, electric guitar
Martin McCarrick (The McCarricks)—cello, string arrangements
Brendan Perry (Dead Can Dance)—bass, bass drone, drums
Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins)—bass, DX-7, guitar, acoustic guitar, synthesizer, effects
Manuela Rickers—guitar
Gordon Sharp—vocals
Martyn Young—bass, guitar, synthesizer
Steven Young—piano

Produced by:

John Fryer and Ivo Watts

Comments:

A great album containing vocals by Liz Fraser of Cocteau Twins, Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance, and bunches of others, including the lead singer of Modern English. ((jjhanson@att.net)

This was always my favorite of the This Mortal Coil stuff. Mmm. Tasty. (burka@jeffrey.net)

One of the THE musically transcendent experiences of my life was the first time I heard Elizabeth Fraser's cover of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren", as part of This Mortal Coil's It'll End in Tears. I don't think I can properly describe why this song hits me as hard as it does, but suffice to say, if I can't take at least this track with me to that desert island then I ain't going. :) (tiefe@dsl-only.net)


Filigree & Shadow

Release info:

1986—4AD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Dominic Appleton—vocals
Gini Ball—viola, violin
Mark Cox—keyboards
Alan Curtis—guitar
David Curtis—guitar
John Fryer—multi instruments
Andrew Gray—guitar
Nigel Hine—guitar
Ivo Watts—multi instruments
Jean—vocals
Alison Limerick—vocals
Martin McCarrick (The McCarricks)—cello, choir, chorus, arrangements
Les McKuen, Ann Turner—choir, chorus
Keith Mitchell—guitar
Chris Pye—guitar
Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins)—bass, guitar, keyboards, piano, arrangements
Deirdre Rutkowski, Louise Rutowski—choir, chorus, backing vocals
Caroline Seaman—vocals
Richard Thomas—saxophone
Jon Turner—keyboards, organ
Peter Ulrich—percussion
Tony Waerea—didjeridu
Steven Young—drum programming

Produced by:

John Fryer and Jon Turner

Comments:

dark, brooding, melancholy, a wash of grey and charcoal black, beautiful in the manner of the bony fingers of a gnarled old tree stretching into the mist through the winter rain. A drop falling from the knuckle down through greyness into the same puddle, there on the ground.
     fell in love with it and bought the other two two days later. i definitely think filigree & shadow is the best (it's rocketed all the way up to a tie for my favourite cd), but the other two are pretty good. (contzen@sfu.ca)

yeah, i agree filigree & shadow is the best. it'll end in tears is a nice collection, but doesn't have the continuity. blood has the continuity, but not the impact. (woj@smoe.org)

My favorite This Mortal Coil album is Filigree and Shadow—a long CD (was a double album on vinyl). ((jjhanson@att.net)

Good, though I tend to prefer other This Mortal Coil albums more... ) (adriftaway@yahoo.com)


Blood

Release info:

1991—4AD

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

Dominic Appleton—vocals
Gini Ball—violin
Heidi Berry—vocals, voices
Caroline Crawley, Tim Freeman, Ikuko Koz, Alison Limerick, Deirdre Rutkowski—vocals, voices
Kim Deal (Pixies, The Breeders)—vocals
Tanya Donelly (Belly, Throwing Muses—vocals
Anne Garrigues—vocals
Sally Herbert—strings
Martin McCarrick (The McCarricks)—cello, strings
Jocelyn Pook—strings
Rain Parade—drums
Louise Rutowski—vocals
Sonia Slaney—strings
Jon Turner—piano
Jimmy Williams—guitar
John Fryer—programming

Produced by:

John Fryer and Ivo Watts

Comments:

A Desert Island Disc. More late-night, dark and twisted music...
     Blood is actually my favourite This Mortal Coil, for largely non-musical reasons... it reminds me of a certain house and a certain period... sitting in our cramped but cozy living room, lit by candles and furnished largely with pillows and various "pre-loved" treasures... and listening to Blood was one of our major forms of entertainment.
     All the same it's an interesting record though I feel it requires a little bit of programming to avoid a couple of cringe-worthy moments. Also notable for (alas, pretty limited) contributions from Tanya Donelly and Kim Deal. (afries@zip.com.au)

My least favorite is Blood, but it's still good. ((jjhanson@att.net)


1983-1991

Release info:

1993—4AD

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended

Group members:

See above

Produced by:

See above

Comments:

The boxed set consists of all three previous releases, plus a CD of the songs they cover as performed by the original artists.

I also picked up the This Mortal Coil boxed set—I've been debating getting this for years—I already had It'll End in Tears and Filigree & Shadow on vinyl, then replaced those on CD and was having trouble justifying buying the boxed set for just two of the four cds, but I can't believe I waited so long to get Blood. Every one of their albums is excellent—and the 4th CD of the original songs is also interesting, though I'm not sure how much I'll actually listen to it. I certainly would rather hear Liz Frasier or Kate sing "Another Day" rather than Roy Harper. ((jjhanson@att.net)

Highly recommended for all ectophiles... (KSMUDGE@uwyo.edu)


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Entry last updated 2012-05-20 14:13:41.
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