Sail To Me

The This Mortal Coil cover version I posted on Tuesday, a genuine 80s indie classic from Ivo Watts-Russell, Liz Fraser and Robin Guthrie, has been re-edited by In The Valley. You might think that the TMC original is so peerless that it should never be tinkered with. In fact, In The Valley says on his/her/their Soundcloud page ‘They told me not to touch the classics, but I did’. And it is worth it, taking the spectral qualities of the Guthrie and Fraser song and marrying it to a Balearic reggae feel. You’ll be playing this several times this morning alone (and there’s a download button too).

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Theatre De La Mer

After a few years of holding the annual Convenanza festival inside the castle at Carcasonne this year’s Convenanza moved to the coast and and the port town of Sete. Convenanza is a three day festival organised by Bernie Fabre with a line up of artists chosen by Andrew Weatherall and Bernie- this year’s festival at Sete took place in the outdoor theatre shown above, the Theatre de la Mer where the backdrop is the Mediterranean Sea. I can’t get to the south of France for a weekend during term time but I have online sources who were there and provided a running commentary of pictures, clips, tunes and reports over the weekend. The line up for this year looked like this…
As the weekend wound down one of my social media friends was raving about the impact this song had when played in the theatre outdoors after dark. It’s a lovely Balearic chugger from 2012 by Coyote with a vocal by Gavin Gordon, the sort of song that takes you up and brings you down…
There’s a very good acid tinged remix by Sean Johnston , the half of A Love From Outer Space that isn’t Mr Weatherall. The same roving reporter on the dockside also pointed us towards this one by Norway’s Laars, a mid-paced dj set track that goes a bit loopy in the middle and seems to have set hairs on the back of the neck on end and arms in the air…
The ALFOS dj set, Weatherall and Johnston back to back, on Friday night closed with This Mortal Coil’s spine-tingling cover of Song To The Siren, Liz Fraser’s voice drifting out from the theatre to the sea, ‘Long afloat on shipless oceans, I did all my best to smile’…

Help Me Lift You Up

Thunder is a good way to start a song. I was thinking this on Sunday night as thunder rumbled away outside our window, the odd flash of lightning and rain fell like stair rods. And while scrolling through a folder of songs, looking for something else, I found this song and clicked play. It started with thunder and I don’t ignore those kind of coincidences. It’s a gorgeous song too, a cover of a Mary Margaret O’Hara song, by Ivo Watt Russell’s 4AD dreampop collective This Mortal Coil. (off their final album Blood, from 1991). The thunder is followed by a slow heart beat pulse bassline and then we’re into dark night of the soul territory- and we come out feeling better.

Help Me Lift You Up

Tragically, the beautiful voice of this song, Caroline Crawley (whose main band was Shelleyan Orphan, a psychedelic, folk-pop group) died in October 2016 after a long illness. Which makes this sad sounding song all the sadder.

I Did All My Best To Smile



The most famous cover version of Tim Buckley’s Song To The Siren (and there are many) was by This Mortal Coil, a 4AD band. Described on wiki as a ‘gothic dream pop supergroup’ This Mortal Coil were label boss Ivo Watts-Russell and John Fryer, with a rotating cast of 4AD musicians including The Cocteau Twins Liz Fraser and Robin Guthrie. Song To the Siren was just Guthrie and Fraser. It was a massive independent hit in 80s Britain and deservedly so. It’s a ghostly, spectral, ‘gothic dream pop’ cover version that surely even people that don’t like The Cocteau Twins must be impressed by.