This Mortal Coil was the given name of a strictly-studio project that spawned three albums, conceived and produced by 4AD founder Ivo Watts-Russell. Over the span of eight years he, along with Blackwing Studios house engineer / co-producer, John Fryer, and a rotating cast of musicians, created original works, musical links and reinterpretations of impeccably curated songs; introducing a new audience to the talents of a previous generation including Big Star, Tim Buckley, Roy Harper, Spirit, Gene Clark, Dino Valenti, Rain Parade, Emmylou Harris, Syd Barrett and Colin Newman, amongst others.
The new deluxe vinyl versions differ from the original releases with each album having had its artwork reimagined by Ivo Watts-Russell and Vaughan Oliver (4AD’s long-time visual partner). All three are now presented in beautiful, hand finished and high-gloss gatefold sleeves, using remastered audio made from the original analogue studio tapes by the late, great John Dent.
The deluxe CD editions are being manufactured by the Ichikudo company in Japan, coming packaged in striking gatefold paper sleeves which are printed to the highest standard. Originally made available as part of a highly limited boxset back in 2011, these new versions differ by being UHQCDs (Ultimate High Quality Compact Disc) rather than HDCDs (High Definition Compatible Digital).
It’ll End In Tears (1984)
This Mortal Coil’s debut album forged the template; helping to crystallise 4AD’s emerging signature sound whilst shining a light on some of their stable with Cocteau Twins, Colourbox, Dead Can Dance and The Wolfgang Press all involved. The line-up was completed by arranger Martin McCarrick, violinist Gini Ball, Howard Devoto of Buzzcocks / Magazine fame and Cindytalk’s Gordon Sharp.
Pitchfork recently named it one of the best Dream Pop albums ever, a moment which “catalysed 4AD’s ascendance from the stilted poetics of goth rock to the kings of gauzy transcendence.”
LP (CAD3X04) / CD (CAD3X04CDJ)
A1. Kangaroo, A2. Song To The Siren, A3. Holocaust, A4. Fyt, A5. Fond Affections, A6. The Last Ray
B1. Another Day, B2. Waves Become Wings, B3. Barramundi, B4. Dreams Made Flesh, B5. Not Me, B6. A Single Wish
Filigree & Shadow (1986)
Released two years after their debut album, Filigree & Shadow was no less ornate than its predecessor; a double album with each of its four sides a self-contained unit.
New faces joined the cast for this record, including a variety of singers Ivo handpicked like Alison Limerick, Jeanette, Dominic Appleton (Breathless), sisters Deirdre and Louise Rutkowski (Sunset Gun), and Richenel.
An intense listen, The Quietus called it “tortured yet oddly euphoric… (music which) could easily rip flimsy souls apart.”
Double LP (DAD3X05) / CD (CAD3X05CDJ)
A1. Velvet Belly, A2. The Jeweller, A3. Ivy And Neet, A4. Meniscus, A5. Tears, A6. Tarantula
B1. My Father, B2. Come Here My Love, B3. At First, And Then, B4. Strength Of Strings, B5. Morning Glory
C1. Inch-Blue, C2. I Want To Live, C3. Mama K (1), C4. Filigree & Shadow, C5. Fire Brothers, C6. Thaïs (1), C7. I Must Have Been Blind, C8. A Heart Of Glass
D1. Alone, D2. Mama K (2), D3. The Horizon Bleeds And Sucks Its Thumb, D4. Drugs, D5. Red Rain, D6. Thaïs (2)
Landing at the start of a new decade, after much had happened in both producer Ivo Watts-Russell’s life and with his 4AD label,the final part of the This Mortal Coil trilogy, Blood (1991), felt like a perfect conclusion.
Meticulously orchestrated, vocalists Alison Limerick, Deirdre and Louise Rutkowski return from the second album with Caroline Crawley (Shelleyan Orphan / Babacar) and 4AD signees Heidi Berry, Kim Deal (Pixies / The Breeders), Tanya Donelly (Throwing Muses / The Breeders / Belly) and Pieter Nooten all signed up.
“Shedding some of its chillier post-punk components, blossoming into material airy and gorgeous. Covers — many from the psychedelic era — still dominate the material, but they are largely indistinguishable from the originals, so seamless is (it’s) indelible tone. Blood is a treasure.” Consequence of Sound
Double LP (DAD3X06) / CD (CAD3X06CDJ)
A1. The Lacemaker, A2. Mr. Somewhere, A3. Andialu, A4. With Tomorrow, A5. Loose Joints, A6. You And Your Sister
B1. Nature’s Way, B2. I Come And Stand At Every Door, B3. Bitter, B4. Baby Ray Baby, B5. Several Times
C1. The Lacemaker II, C2. Late Night, C3. Ruddy And Wretched, C4. Help Me Lift You Up, C5. Carolyn’s Song, C6. D. D. And E.
D1. ‘Til I Gain Control Again, D2. Dreams Are Like Water, D3. I Am The Cosmos, D4. (Nothing But) Blood