Tuesday, October 14, 2014

it'll end in tears

This Mortal Coil wound a patient merit in the lachrymose longing ethereal consummation of this collective quietus.  The project started with 4AD label founder Ivo Watts-Russell and engineer John Fryer and a a rotating cast of characters from the 4AD roster.  Their first recording was a cover of a medley by Modern English ‘Sixteen Days/Gathering Dust’; but it was the flipside, a cover of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren", that became an underground sensation.  This led to the expansion of the project to a full album that included members of 4AD bands Colourbox, Dead Can Dance, Modern English, Xmal Deutschland, and The Wolfgang Press.   Fryer and Watts-Russell produced the sessions for 'It'll End in Tears' that included Elizabeth Fraser, Lisa Gerrard, Gordon Sharp,  and Howard Devoto on vocals;  Robin Guthrie and Manuela Rickers on guitar;  Simon Raymonde on guitar, bass, and synthesizer;  Brendan Perry on drums;  John Fryer on multi-instruments and production;  Martyn Young on synthesizer, bass, and guitar;  Mark Cox on synthesizer;  Steven Young on piano;  Martin McCarrick on cello;  Gini Ball on violin and viola;  and Ivo Watts-Russell on keyboards and production.   

Watts-Russell reveals:   "For me it was dangerous territory as these were my favourite songs. ‘Song to the Siren’ was without a shadow of a doubt my favourite ever song written and ‘Another Day’ by Roy Harper, which we also put on ‘It’ll End in Tears’ was up there with it.   These were songs that I was really, really fond of and it was dangerous to cover them as a result because we could have ruined them, but my logic was what is the point of covering songs when they are so well known, when they are so engrained in people’s psyche?. It became, however, the by-product of we did with This Mortal Coil. Still to this day even in the obscure high desert of New Mexico where I live now I come into contact with people who want to thank me for helping to extend their musical vocabulary. and who after hearing This Mortal Coil went on to check out Big Star or Gene Clark or whoever...Another reason why I created This Mortal Coil: My name is listed as producer on the first albums by Modern English, Matt Johnson from The The, the Cocteau Twins and Xmal Deutschland, but really I didn’t know what the hell I was doing there. I paid for studio time and made a point of being in the studio, so I could blame myself as much as anyone else if it wasn’t an improvement on the demos, but I am not a musician. I am not an engineer. I am just someone with ideas and I didn’t really feel like I had the right or the confidence to impose that on people.   Whether or not my name is down on things, the only records I ever actually produced were the ones by This Mortal Coil and the Hope Blister. My limitations were not a hindrance with those albums. I could bring in one person at a time into the studio with This Mortal Coil and invest their talent into the recording, but at the same time they did not have to invest themselves or their career."

 'It'll End in Tears' went to number forty-two in New Zealand, thirty-eight on the UK album chart, and number one on the UK indie album chart.   The album stayed on the UK indie chart for thirty-five weeks.  


"Song to the Siren" charted at number sixty-six on the UK singles chart, thirty-nine in the Netherlands, eight in New Zealand, and number three on the UK indie singles chart.  The song spent one hundred and one weeks on the UK indie singles chart, making the fourth longest chart run.    Watts-Russell:   "I thought that the song might work simply using her voice. We took the original Tim Buckley version of the song and put it onto two inch tape to give Elizabeth something to sing along to. Robin was always with Elizabeth in those days - they were completely inseparable – and he said, “Well, I will just play some guitar, so that Elizabeth can sing to that rather than Tim Buckley.” He wasn’t remotely interested or enthusiastic about doing it, and to me that speaks to his genius, the fact that he could come up with something as subtle and beautiful as that when he wasn’t bothered at all (Laughs). He was literally leaning up against the wall and yawning. It was just supposed to be a guide and he did it just once through, no patch up, nothing, and it sounded so good that we decided to keep it. We tarted it up only a tiny bit for the final recording...Robin and Elizabeth weren’t particularly happy about the fact that ‘Song to the Siren’ was getting as much if not more exposure as they as the Cocteau Twins were getting at the time.   I was so grateful to Elizabeth for agreeing to sing it. I was blown away by what she did, and until it came out and started getting loads of attention they were very happy as well."

"Howard Devoto was one of only two people whose comments I ever took into consideration. I had done a mix of ‘Holocaust’, the Big Star song he covered on on ‘It’ll End in Tears’, and I think his words were “The strings are crucifying it.” We did another mix and pulled the strings back."

"Kangaroo"  went to number two on the UK indie singles chart.

"Not Me" 

'It'll End in Tears'
full album:

1. "Kangaroo"   (Alex Chilton) Gordon Sharp, Simon Raymonde 3:30
2. "Song to the Siren"  (Larry Beckett, Tim Buckley)  Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie 3:30
3. "Holocaust"   (Alex Chilton)  Howard Devoto 3:38
4. "Fyt"   (Ivo Watts-Russell, John Fryer) Instrumental 4:23
5. "Fond Affections"   (Rema-Rema)  Gordon Sharp 3:50
6. "The Last Ray"   (Watts-Russell, Robin Guthrie, Simon Raymonde) Simon Raymonde 4:08
7. "Another Day"   (Roy Harper) Elizabeth Fraser 2:54
8. "Waves Become Wings"   (Lisa Gerrard)  Lisa Gerrard 4:25
9. "Barramundi"   (Simon Raymonde) Simon Raymonde 3:56
10. "Dreams Made Flesh"   (Lisa Gerrard) Lisa Gerrard 3:48
11. "Not Me"   (Colin Newman) Robbie Grey, Simon Raymonde 3:44
12. "A Single Wish"   (Gordon Sharp, Steven Young, Simon Raymonde) Gordon Sharp 2:26

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