Sunday, May 29, 2016

Numeric Driftwood II

"Did I Dream You Dreamed About Me?"

[This is one post in a series about my music mixes.  The series list has links to all posts in the series and also definitions of many of the terms I use.  You may wish to read the introduction for more background.  You may also want to check out the first volume in this multi-volume mix for more info on its theme.

Like all my series, it is not necessarily contiguous—that is, I don’t guarantee that the next post in the series will be next week.  Just that I will eventually finish it, someday.  Unless I get hit by a bus.]

As (nearly) always, my initial list for Numeric Driftwood was plenty long enough to fill out two volumes.  We have two more tracks from Kitaro, also off India, and another from Enya (the title track from Shepherd Moons, in fact), which is pretty good representation from two of my three favorite sleepy-time albums.  As far as the Cocteau Twins goes, I certainly couldn’t resist including them, but I decided to expand beyond merely reusing Victorialand.  As magnificent as that album is, it’s only one of only 7 Twins’ albums I own—which is the maxium number of albums I own from any single band1so it’s only fair to branch out a little and share some of the other Cocteau goodness out there.  In this case, I chose one cut off Treasure, the Cocteaus’ first album with Simon Raymonde, and one from their penultimate album Four-Calendar Café.

I’ve also drawn in my other favorite relaxing music album, which I talked about at some length when discussing Shadowfall Equinox II: This Mortal Coil’s It’ll End in Tears.  In that discussion I noted that IEiT is really more for relaxation and contemplation than drifting off to sleep, but, if there’s an exception to that observation, it surely must be “Song to the Siren,” a stunningly beautiful song sung by Elizabeth Fraser and played by Robin Guthrie, i.e. two-thirds of the Cocteau Twins.2  I’ve heard the original, as sung by Tim Buckley, and Buckley’s version is pretty, granted, but This Mortal Coil’s version is transcendent, and beautifully soothing as well.  The lyrics (which include our volume title) are beautiful as well, and, as this is one of the few times you’re going to be able to understand what Fraser is singing, definitely take advantage of it and listen to the words.

Of course, as is typical of a volume II, we see lots of returning artists, even above and beyond those I’ve already mentioned.  Angels of Venice are back with two more songs, as is Anjey Satori, with two more tracks off of For Relaxation.  Celtic/jazz/world fusionists Skyedance return as well, with another quiet tune from Way Out to Hope Street.  All of these provide the backbone on which we hang the jewels of the new artists.

We kick off this volume with a 1-2-3 punch that starts with the lovely (and maritime) “Song to the Siren,” then traipses through cello master David Darling’s “Eight String Religion,” which sprinkles down like a light rainfall, and winds up with Sade’s “Mermaid,” a lovely underwater piece.  Darling was one of the artists I discovered via Hearts of Space; his album Cello Blue is well suited for Shadowfall Equinox,3 but Eight String Religion is a lighter affair which works well here.  Sade, of course, is well known for her smooth-jazz-like compositions such as “No Ordinary Love” and “The Sweetest Taboo,” but she occasionally puts out a sweet, slow instrumental like this one.

Also, as promised in the footnotes from last volume,4 we have a tune from my favorite cello player, Jami Seiber.  We heard from her once before, on Smooth as Whispercats, but this track is more typical of her oeuvre; although much of it is darker, almost all of it is slow and languorous like this track.  Sieber is yet another Magnatune artist, proving once again that the “We Are Not Evil” folks are as awesome as their motto suggests.

Numeric Driftwood II
    [Did I Dream You Dreamed About Me?]

        “Song to the Siren” by This Mortal Coil, off It'll End in Tears
        “Eight String Religion” by David Darling, off Eight String Religion
        “Mermaid” by Sade, off Love Deluxe
        “Mountain Streams” by Kitaro, off India
        “Sea Surround” by Anjey Satori, off For Relaxation
        “Otterley” by Cocteau Twins, off Treasure
        “Sara's Dream” by Angels of Venice, off Music for Harp, Flute and Cello
        “Rain Surround” by Anjey Satori, off For Relaxation
        “Ganga” by Kitaro, off India
        “Tell It by Heart” by Jami Sieber, off Second Sight
        “Skerray” by Skyedance, off Way Out to Hope Street
        “Light at the Edge of the World” by Angels of Venice, off Awake Inside a Dream
        “Shepherd Moons” by Enya, off Shepherd Moons
        “Essence” by Cocteau Twins, off Four-Calendar Café
        “Submarine Bells” by The Chills, off Submarine Bells
        “Cradle Song” by Shriekback, off Big Night Music
Total:  16 tracks,  76:42

Which just leaves us with our closing pair.  Coming off the dreaminess of “Essence” by the Cocteaus, we hit two vocal tracks (a rarity for this mix, which is of course mostly instrumental).  The first is from New Zealanders the Chills, who normally craft sublime alterna-pop, but the title track off their quite lovely Submarine Bells is less poppy and more calming.  And we close with a tune from Shriekback, another alternative band who’s more often known for their poppy numbers—in fact, Shriekback is often full-on dancy, with tunes such as “Everything That Rises Must Converge” and “Go Bang.”  But they can also do mellow as well, and their album Big Night Music is almost nothing but mellow.  “Cradle Song” is a true lullaby that provides a beautiful closer for this volume.

Next time, we’ll perk things up by taking a walk on the female vocal side.


1 There are 3 bands from whom I own 7 albums, actually (as of this writing), which is why I had to phrase that so qualifyingly.  The other two are INXS and They Might Be Giants.

2 Yes, the Cocteau Twins, like the Thompson Twins, are composed of three people, despite the name.

3 Although we won’t actually see a track there until Shadowfall Equinox IV.

4 Footnote 8, specifically, in connection with my discussion of cellist Martin McCarrick.

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