4AD Records – 10 Essential Albums Jul14

4AD Records – 10 Essential Albums

10 of the best albums from one of the most influential independent record labels of the last three decades – 4AD records.

Snowbird – Moon...

Bella Union is an independent record label that’s home to some of the most diverse and interesting acts on the alternative music scene. With a line-up that has included at one time or another the likes of John Grant, Fleet Foxes, Explosions in the Sky, I Break Horses, Midlake, the Walkmen and Fionn Regan, they are a label synonymous with quality acts.To that illustrious roster, we can now add Snowbird, a partnership between Bella Union label boss Simon Raymonde and American chanteuse Stephanie Dosen. Raymonde wrote and played bass with legendary 80s/90s Scottish sonic pioneers The Cocteau Twins, a band not often given the credit they deserve for the indelible influence they had on alternative music at the time and subsequent to their split in 1997. Dosen has released a couple of solo albums and collaborated with acts of the calibre of Massive Attack and the Chemical Brothers. Together they have produced Moon, an album of luminous beauty and one that reveals a little more with every listen. With Moon, Snowbird invite us to enter an enchanted world populated with foxes and owls, ghosts and wishes, a nocturnal realm that comes alive when the hush of night descends. The music is exceptionally pretty; these predominantly piano led compositions provide the perfect backdrop for Dosen’s beautiful voice. Comparisons with the Cocteau Twins will be made; for the most part, they don’t stack up. The heavily effected guitars and booming drum machine employed by the Cocteau Twins are nowhere to be heard. Snowbird cast their spell with more subtle weave of sound – piano chords are left suspended in mid-air, fragments of melody flutter hither and thither, and Dosen’s layered, whimsical voice binding it all together. ‘All Wishes Are Ghosts’ is utterly beguiling; ‘Charming Birds From...