November 17, 2014

Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd - The Moon and the Melodies, 1986

Today we're posting a record that matters a whole lot to both of us, and has been an ongoing reference point in our musical relationship. It's also weirdly overlooked, possibly because there's confusion over to whom the record is credited, and possibly because Robin Guthrie left it out of the catalog of Cocteau Twins records that he remastered in recent years. As far as we know, there haven't been any major write-ups about it.

This is truly an uncategorizable work, one which far exceeds the sum of its parts. It's egoless. It's a fluid, restless record, moody and aloof--it peaks several times, ecstatically, only to retreat back into itself. Startling synergy between these masterminds means that ambient and new age fans will find a lot to love here--it's Harold Budd, after all, and there are long stretches of huge, hulking instrumental tracks. But the record is darker than typical new age--it feels like climbing through a cavernous skeleton, and the instrumental tracks (like "Memory Gongs") are echoing and sometimes sinister. It's not as effusive as Cocteau Twins, and perhaps not as immediately gratifying--many tracks fade out right when you want more the most. It has its rock moments ("Eyes Are Mosaics") but this isn't daytime music, and it's not background music. Clocking in at just under 40 minutes, it's a perfect on-repeat record, folding in on itself like water.


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