Some of the many groups or musicians that I like or sometimes like, in kind-of order, are:
I also like a lot of soundtracks, such as just about anything by Vangelis (especially the Blade Runner original soundtrack, or OST), the soundtrack for Strange Days, all the music for Hayao Miyazaki's anime, the OST for Until the End of the World, most of the soundtracks by Ryuichi Sakamoto (especially Little Buddha, though I can't listen to it too often as it makes me cry) and the Akira soundtrack.
Just what I like at the moment changes based almost entirely on my mood. I usually listen to music which matches or encourages my mood. Cocteaus always have something for how I'm feeling, thus their primacy in my tastes. I've been fairly angry recently, so Lush has been pretty high on my playlist. But when I'm feeling kitschy, I listen to Pizzicato 5; when I feel social or (gag!) like dancing, I listen to Pet Shop Boys. I haven't actually listened to any metal for a long time -- though I still do like a lot of it, I'm rarely in the precise mood that would require it. (Hmm... does metal use go down with antidepressants?)
My general standards in music are pretty strict: no mushy love songs (unless they're actually original), no artists who don't write their own material or perform their own music, instrumentals should be beautiful or interesting, and playing should be to produce beauty, not just to show how good a guitarist/drummer/bassist/whatever the musician is. I get really tired of endless solos for no purpose other than showing how fast someone can beat a drum or strum a guitar. I don't listen to music to be impressed with a person's skills; I listen to get into a mood. Overall, the music just generally has to be quality stuff. And as above, I prefer music which helps me to amplify a mood, or wallow in one (as the case may be). As with most things, my musical tastes are very finicky. Links and a few thoughts about some of the aforementioned musicians are to the left, organized by artist/group.
Remember that some artists or sites are difficult to categorize, though. Enjoy!
This section is divided into three parts:
Cocteau Twins started as Elizabeth Fraser, Robin Guthrie and Will Heggie. Will eventually left and Simon Raymonde joined the group; it stayed as Elizabeth, Robin and Will for the rest of the group's history. According to some, they had an album with Harold Budd, but in fact that was not a Cocteaus album, as the name "Cocteau Twins" appears nowhere on it. The core sound that people identify as Cocteaus is basically the sound that Elizabeth, Robin and Simon created.
What is that sound? Cocteaus are notoriously hard to categorize; when I was once in a mood to do so, I decided to call them neo-impressionist semi-surrealist ethereal instrumentalist romantic-alternative music, but that's obviously not a very useful description. Their music can be characterized by two things, though: Liz's non-word vocals, and the extreme depth and layering that they usually have in all their instrumentation. Liz's lyrics, if they can be called that, are not words, at least not usually (they have been on occasion in the past). They are nonsense syllables, quotes from languages Liz doesn't understand and other babblings. But, oh, such beautiful babblings. I think it could be compared to listening to opera in a language you don't understand; the beauty is in the sound, not the linguistic meaning behind it. I think the appeal of this to me is that I don't have to deal with meaningless pop drivel-lyrics ("I love you and now I'm going to try to express it in a way that actually hasn't been done before") when I listen to Cocteaus, just pure beautiful sound. Of course, I could just listen to pure instrumental music; but that would be missing the beauty of vocalization, and Liz's voice in particular, and what she does with it.
The instrumentals are excellent in their own right. Cocteaus music is usually composed of many, many layers; various guitar effects, Liz accompanying herself, drum effects, bass layers, etc. etc. I have often closed my eyes and just tried to probe the depths of their music, just to pull out all the beautiful threads in it; but then, that just ruins the fabric.
Unfortunately, I recently learned (through the Net) that the group has stopped producing music. They have apparently not actually broken up -- the three core members are still in regular contact, and Robin and Simon work together at September Sound Studios and at Bella Union (their own publishing label). Simon writes on the Bella Union site that Cocteaus broke up mainly due to managerial problems, and just problems with the whole industry in general. I can't say that I blame them, although it does make me sad. Robin and Liz have a child together, as far as I can tell, but that means little as to whether or not they'll ever make music together again under the name Cocteau Twins. Quite unfortunate, that. The vague light at the end of the tunnel, though, is that Robin is part of the new group Violet Indiana, and Simon is both a member of the Autumns and a producer in his own right. Liz continues to sing occasionally, as well.
In any case, Cocteaus are certainly my favorite group of all time. I strongly recommend them to anyone interested in beautiful, melodic, moody music. And anyone who's already interested in them -- please write to me.
Most of my Cocteaus collection is listed below (in chronological order, by publishing/copyright date). In addition, I've given a description of the mood of each (basically, how each makes me feel) and some personal comments on the albums.
If you'd like to jump straight to an album, please use this list:
- Blood Bitch
- Wax and Wane
- But I'm Not
- Blind Dumb Deaf
- Shallow The Halo
- The Hollow Men
- Grail Overfloweth
Their first LP. Cocteaus at this time were Robin, Liz and Will. Produced by Cocteau Twins and Ivo Russell; on the 4AD label, first published 1982.
This album was quite a shock to me when I first heard it, having been used to a more blissful Cocteau sound. The tracks on this album are quite hard, almost metal or thrash at times. But they are still undeniably Cocteau Twins.
Sunburst and Snowblind
- When Mama Was Moth
- Five Ten Fiftyfold
- Sugar Hiccup
- In Our Angelhood
- Glass-Candle Grenades
- In the Gold Dust Rush
- The Tinderbox (Of a Heart)
- My Love Paramour
- Musette and Drums
- Sugar Hiccup
- From the Flagstones
- Because of Whirl-Jack
Published by 4AD, 1983: CAD 313.
Sunburst and Snowblind was originally an EP, apparently; so was Head Over Heels. These songs are definitely in the early tradition of Cocteaus' stuff; hard, very energetic, almost grinding guitars and Liz singing near-lyrics with seeming anger. It is rather insistent or in-your-face music. There are hints of the ethereality to come, though, hidden about within the album.
Published by 4AD, 1984.
This album is definitely a turning-point. It has several tracks which strongly remind me of "Blood Bitch" -- heavy, driving songs, good to feel angry with. But it also has tracks which prefigure the 1985-6 releases, with their ethereality and beauty. Cocteaus, who never like their own work, especially earlier stuff, have singled this album out for special scorn. But it remains many fans' favorite Cocteaus album of all time. Me, I like it quite a bit, but it's not quite as focused (mood-wise) as their later stuff.
- Great Spangled Fritillary
- Pale Clouded White
- Eggs and Their Shells
Published by 4AD, 1985.
Already the blissed-out sound emerges. For some reason, this EP's sounds always remind me of M.C. Escher's works that depict water; the deep, surreal nature of the sound, perhaps?
- Pink Orange Red
- Ribbed and Veined
- Plain Tiger
- Sultitan Itan
Published by 4AD, 1985.
This EP follows closely on the style of Echoes in a Shallow Bay. The guitars are a little more prominent, and the sound is slightly less underwatery. But the two EP's are very close in style; if someone played one to me without identifying it, I probably couldn't tell them apart.
Published by 4AD, 1985.
This album is in some ways a remembrance of Garlands, with occasional heavy guitars, but still maintaining the early sound of blissfulness. It's a very good album to listen to when feeling pessimistic or sour. A stupid little story... When I originally bought this album one winter break, it was the vinyl EP. I didn't actually own a record player, but my dad was quite willing to tape it for me. I went back to college, anxiously awaiting the tape. When I got it, I was amazed -- Cocteaus had finally allowed either Robin or Simon to do some vocals, and the music in general was even dreamier and plodding than normal. I later found out that my dad had mistakenly taped the EP at the wrong speed!
- The Spangle-Maker
- Wax and Wane
- Pearly-Dewdrops' Drops
- From the Flagstones
- Musette and Drums
Published by 4AD, 1985 (copyright 1983-1985): CAD 513
Contains remixed versions of many of their early songs; the raw edges are taken off and strewn out into ethereal gossamer strands. This is actually probably the best album of theirs to start with -- it's a good LP-length compilation, as well as the only one they really did, as well as a good introduction to their sound in general.
- Love's Easy Tears
- Those Eyes, That Mouth
- Sigh's Smell of Farewell
- Orange Appled
Published by 4AD, 1986.
Actually, this is one Cocteaus album I could live without. Not that I would want to, but it just doesn't seem to have the spark of their other works. It basically follows on the work of 1985, but with a loss of depth.
- Lazy Calm
- Fluffy Tufts
- Throughout the Dark Months of April and May
- Whales [sic] Tails
- Little Spacey
- Feet-like Fins
- How to Bring a Blush to the Snow
- The Thinner the Air
Published by 4AD, 1986.
Getting out of the water and into the air, this album has much less oceanic echoes than the 1985 releases. It is also probably one of my favorite three or four Cocteaus albums. It is all about serenity, beauty, fluffiness and blushes.
- blue bell knoll
- carolyn's fingers
- for phoebe still a baby
- the itchy glowbo glow
- cico buff
- suckling the mender
- spooning good singing gum
- a kissed out red floatboat
- ella megalast burls forever
Published by 4AD, 1988: CAD 807.
Blue Bell Knoll lacks the depth of the earlier few albums, largely because of the relative lack of echoing. To my ears, it feels drier and less substantive than the earlier albums, too. But it's still quite good.
- Cherry-coloured funk
- Pitch the baby
- Iceblink luck
- Fifty-fifty clown
- Heaven or Las Vegas
- I wear your ring
- Wolf in the breast
- Road, river and rail
- Frou-frou foxes in midsummer fires
Published by 4AD, 1990.
Heaven or Las Vegas feels smoother than their earlier works, more continual and flowing than, for example, Victorialand. The tone is generally more unified and produced. But it also continues strongly in the Cocteaus vein, with ethereality and all the rest.
This album has a particular association for me: upon arriving in Beijing, my first trip abroad, the first song I listened to when I had time to think was "Road, river and rail so that song will always be about travel for me, even if the title doesn't necessarily make it so. This album is also Cocteaus last 4AD release, and (perhaps not coincidentally) marks their entry into what little fame they ever received.
Contains tracks of same names.
Published by Capitol, 1991; copyright 1987, 1988 and 1991.
This EP, released with the boxed set as the "bonus CD" is universally beautiful, but also stylistically erratic, which is natural given that it's a compilation of earlier unavailable tracks or reworkings of tracks. Hard to categorize.
- Mud and Dark
Published by Fontana, 1992.
In some ways, this EP marks the beginning of the end. On "Summer-blink" Liz is singing actual lyrics ("I'm accepting myself as I really am etc.), which is slightly astonishing, and to be honest a little annoying. This is one of my least-listened-to Cocteaus CD's; still very good, but not as good as I had hoped.
- Know who you are at every age
- Theft, and wandering around lost
- Oil of Angels
- My Truth
Published by Capitol Records, 1993.
Café was their first post-4AD album, and in many ways marks a grand experiment, one which perhaps ultimately failed (they are, after all, not producing music now). Café is, like all experiments by musicians, an artifact of growth and a struggle to overcome expectations. However, I unfortunately did expect them to continue producing material like they had before. Café was therefore a disappointment for me: Liz began singing actual lyrics, there were steel guitars which sounded all too close to country music for my tastes, and the whole felt somehow tinny, probably because of the toning-down of echo effects. Maybe the sound that I liked all along was Ivo Watts-Russells' influence, and not the Cocteaus' own? This is all not to say that I don't like Café; it is still excellent Cocteaus music, just not quite up to par with their earlier stuff.
- Feet Like Fins
- Seekers Who Are Lovers
- Cherry-Coloured Funk
Published by Capitol Records, 1995.
Thoughts:This album is in many ways a return to former glory, with deep sounds, nonsense lyrics and beauty to spare. It actually has much of the feeling of the 1985-6 releases, which I obviously prefer overall. However, I get little hints that they were getting tired of having to pump out music like this; I'm sure their styles had changed in ten years, but listeners like me expected them to continue producing the same sound. I am nonetheless very glad that they did produce this work, which I consider to be the last great Cocteaus album. Bits of this album sound rather like trance or something of the sort, which is just fair when you consider that Cocteaus were formative in the birth of trance. There are definite hints of their work on the Fruitopia ads. However, as often happens, self-reference marks a point at which things start to go downhill.
- Rilkean Heart
- Pink Orange Red
Published by Capitol Records, 1995.
Note that "Pink Orange Red" is in fact originally from Tiny Dynamine. This album seems definitely to be an attempt to produce something like the "original" sound, by basically copying it or reinterpreting it or something. This album has less depth overall, and consists of very simple arrangements, often just Liz and a piano. It is quite beautiful, as with all Cocteaus releases, but sounds at times a little desperate to find a way to both move on and stay in the same place artistically.
- calfskin smack
- rilkean heart
- treasure hiding
- seekers who are lovers
Published by Capitol Records (or Sony ATV, depending upon what you give primacy to), 1996.
Their last LP (to date, in any case). This album is, in many ways, a return to form: atmospheric instruments, Liz singing beautiful nonsense again, and a generally 'deep' sound.
Collects various versions of various songs which the Cocteaus recorded for BBC programs. Two of the songs, "strange fruit" and "my hue and cry", are apparently not available anywhere else.
The album is basically a bunch of different versions of stuff I already had. It's quite good, of course -- it is Cocteaus, after all -- but it's far from satisfying my hunger for a truly new album.
- Sea, Swallow Me
- Memory Gongs
- Why do you Love Me?" "Eyes Are Mosaics
- She Will Destroy You
- The Ghost has no Name
- Bloody and Blunt
- Ooze Out and Away, onehow
Self-titled release by group of same name: Harold Budd, Simon Raymonde, Robin Guthrie and Elizabeth Fraser. Published by 4AD, 1986: Catalog number CAD 611.
Actually, many people mistakenly think this is a Cocteaus album, and it is usually treated as such by record stores, publishers, etc. (you will find it under "C", not "M", if you look in a store). However, nowhere on the album do the words "Cocteau Twins" appear. The style is certainly very similar to the Cocteaus albums of the period, with the addition of Budd's beautiful pianos -- mystical, deep, languorous. It makes a wonderful complement to Victorialand, also of that period. Certainly one of my favorite albums of all time.
Cocteaus were a pretty influential group, so it's no wonder there are a lot of Cocteaus-related websites out there.
Another broken-up band, and actually with fairly strong ties to Cocteau Twins, Lush nonetheless has a very different sound. They are, or rather were, basically a British heavy-pop group, with beautiful vocals and nicely heavy guitars, as well as very good lyrics. The group was composed of Miki Berenyi, Emma Anderson, Steve Rippon (who later left and was replaced with Philip King) and Chris Acland. Chris' suicide caused the dissolution of the group. Emma Anderson was recently involved in Sing-Sing.
Lush albums that I own
- Sweetness and Light
- Leaves Me Cold
- Baby Talk
- Second Sight
- Hey Hey Helen
Their first album. When I originally bought this album, it was at the insistence of a friend who told me that the album sounded "exactly like" Cocteaus. Well, it's far from an exact duplicate; it's not even the same style, as far as I'm concerned. But I can see similarities; the Lush sound on this album is very deep, and heavily produced. No wonder, because it was produced by Robin Guthrie, who was in Cocteau Twins and was largely responsible for their sound.
- nothing natural
- tiny smiles
- for love
Their second album, I think. The sound is basically the same as Gala, just more of it, to my ear. It's very good, but it doesn't have any real showstoppers like Gala did. Some of the songs are very catchy, though, like "laura" and "superblast", with fast beats but still multilayered and atmospheric guitars.
- light from a dead star
- kiss chase
- desire lines
- the invisible man
- lit up
- when i die
This album definitely shows their continued evolution from the early heavy Robin Guthrie-influence to the later heavy-pop sound. Lots of good stuff here; "Light from a Dead Star" sounds like depression itself; "Kiss Chase" and "Blackout" sound like they could've come from Spooky; many of the songs are quite good.
- Heavenly Nobodies
- I've Been Here Before
- Single Girl
- Last Night
- The Childcatcher
As far as I can tell, this was their last album. Lovelife is probably Lush in their purest state -- little or none of the extensive production that Robin put into their earlier albums is evident here. It's therefore a much angrier and rawer (more raw?) sound. But it's also very good. How often I find myself singing "Ladykillers".
- 500 (Shake Baby Shake)
- I Have The Moon
- I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend
- Outside World
- I'd Like to Walk Around in Your Mind
- Shut Up
- Cul De Sac
This is apparently a collection of B-sides. There are a couple new versions of older songs, and some songs which don't appear anywhere else.
- single girl
- 500 (shake baby shake)
- light from a dead star
- love at first sight
- desire lines
- when I die
- nothing natural
- for love
- sweetness and light
A "best of" album, spanning the history of the band: "Ladykillers", "Sweetness and Light", etc. There's also a good history of the band as liner notes. A good introduction to the music of Lush.
Lush web sites
There aren't many Lush websites out there. Here's what I've found:
Formed by Emma Anderson of Lush and Lisa O'Neill. The group formed and now has apparently gone away. Their music is quite different from that of Lush; it's very poppy, with less fuzz and more simple guitars. Regardless, they're great.
Sing-Sing albums I own
feels like summer
- feels like summer
- hit and run
An EP, with three songs. Feels slightly retro, with organs and bongo drums. All the songs are catchy and worthwhile.
the joy of sing-sing
- i'll be
- me and my friend
- far away from love
- panda eyes
- feels like summer
- you don't know
- i can see you
Contains some really catchy tunes, like "tegan" and "panda eyes". Much more electronic, and yet also sounding more like Lush, than feels like summer. All very good.
sing-sing and i
- Come, Sing Me A Song
- Mister Kadali
- A Modern Girl
- I Do
- Going Out Tonight
- The Time Has Come
- When I Was Made
- A Kind of Love
Moving further from feels like summer; many songs are pure drum-bass-and-guitar. Also lots of good stuff here. The video for "Lover" is weird and feels almost transphobic, but maybe not.
Websites about Sing-Sing
Although I still don't know how to pronounce the name of this group, I love their music dearly. Their music is like Cocteaus only moreso, in some ways. Their music is almost entirely instrumental, save an occasional guest spot from Liz Fraser. It is full of guitars layered to the stratosphere and haunting sounds. They are quite an obscuritan group, though, and so I've only ever been able to find one of their albums, plus one track that keeps showing up on compilations.
- A Starting Point
- Silver Passage
- The Last Day
- Love Insane
- Two Fine Days (And a Thunderstorm)
- Echo Wreck
- Twin and Earth
Published by 4AD, 1981 (republished 1986): CAD 505.
The only LP I have by Dif Juz. It is oh-so-beautiful. Very easy music to lose oneself in. Another stupid story: the first time I saw this album was the second time I was in Hong Kong, on my way back from studying in Beijing. I was looking through the bins at a kids' mall on Nathan Road, when there it was: Extractions. And I didn't have any money! I'd spent it all in China, expecting (actually, calculating) not to have many more expenses before I got home. Grr! So I couldn't buy it, and had to wait until the next summer when I special-ordered it from a store in Minneapolis.
Available on Lonely is an Eyesore (1987; CAD 703) and Sounds of 4AD (1992), both published by 4AD.
This is probably my favorite song of all time. It has amazingly deep and interesting guitars, all atmospheric and dreamy. Excellent.
- No Motion
Published by 4AD, 1999 (from various previously published works): GAD 109.
This is out now; I got my copy a while ago. I haven't listened to it much because most of it lacks that Cocteaus-style production that I loved so much on "No Motion" and Extractions. Sigh. But it is pretty good.
Dif Juz Links
There really isn't much out there about Dif Juz. They were a rather obscuritan band, and the Web reflects this.
Yet another artist I came to through Cocteaus. Harold Budd has apparently been around for a long time, although I have only listened to some of his more recent stuff.
His sound is basically what you might call minimalist, or even space music. But as with most labels, those names tend to objectify what they describe. Budd's music is amazingly beautiful, just the right kind of stuff to listen to on a fall night with the rain falling gently outside. It is lazy, dreamy, evocative, stark and deep. He also carries a strong element of what you might call southwesternism -- his albums often seem to be linked to the southwest US in some way, and his sound somehow evokes that, too. Occasional steel guitar does that, too.
Stuff that I have by Harold Budd
This album feels very similar to By The Dawn's Early Light, below. It's perhaps a bit lighter than that album. But it's pure Budd: haunting, lingering music, occasionally even catchy, that is perfect for those moments between light and dark, when the day is still making up its mind what it's going to be.
The White Arcades
Still probably my favorite, because it shows strong Cocteau Twins influences; the sound is very layered and deep. Little wonder, of course, as it was produced by Robin Guthrie. It's excellent meditation music, or something to play while watching a candle burn down. Or studying for a test.
By The Dawn's Early Light
The majority of this album is beautiful, strongly represented by its title: songs for dusk, songs of the coming of night, or the entering of the day. However, in (what my opinion was) a poor decision, Budd included several poems on this album, self-read with no accompaniment. The poems aren't at all bad, it's just that they're very jarring when one is trying to get into the mood of the music's sound.
This album sounds generally very close to The White Arcades -- lots of atmospheric echoes, lonely tones and ponderous musical thoughts. There is also a remake of "Memory Gongs from the Cocteaus/Budd album The Moon and the Melodies.
Music for Three Pianos
By Budd, Ruben Garcia and Daniel Lentz. A rather short album, but certainly a beautiful one. The music is, as the title would indicate, almost purely pianos. It also has a fairly Southwestern feel, though exactly what it is that makes it so is hard to pinpoint. Rainsong, a light dance, the pitter-pat of drops at dusk.
The Moon and the Melodies
Of course, this album is commonly mistaken for a Cocteaus album, but nowhere on it is the word "Cocteau" to be found. This album does clearly represent a fusing of the two main streams present in it: Cocteaus' strong layering and moodiness, comined with Budd's pianos and sparseness. It's incredibly beautiful.
By Budd and Brian Eno. Actually, I'm not that big of a fan of this album. It's good, of course -- sensual, dark and ringing music like this is hard to say anything bad about. But it's just not as deeply moving as Budd's other work, or Eno's, for that matter.
Web sites about Harold Budd
There isn't much about Budd out there on the Web. Not enough, anyway.
I originally heard of her through Cocteaus, as with many of my current favorites. She's actually one of the most popular artists in the Chinese-speaking world; she herself is from Beijing but travels like the PRC didn't put restrictions on her at all.
Her style has varied and continues to vary a lot. She seems to swing between that utterly smarmy, coquettish style that Chinese pop is eternally mired in, and the kind of dreamy, blissful sound that I like so much. In other words, I have a love-hate relationship with her music: sometimes I love it when she accomplishes what I think she's capable of, but usually I hate when she just puts out more pablum. Maybe it's just my perceptions that swing? Whatever the cause is, I like some of her stuff a lot, and I really dislike some of it. I generally tend to like the stuff she writes herself much more, but being a big star, I guess she has to sing other people's stuff to pay the bills and keep her fans happy.
Oh, a note about her lyrics for any Cocteaus fans out there. Wang Fei sings in Chinese (usually Mandarin, though occasionally in Cantonese), and while her lyrics are thus unintelligible to most Western folks, trust me that she actually does sing in real language, unlike Elizabeth Fraser. Wang Fei's lyrics are often highly poetic and difficult to understand, but they are several magnitudes more understandable than Liz's scat-style babblings. (Note that that doesn't mean that I don't like Liz's "lyrics"; that's actually one of the main reasons I like Cocteaus!) If you're interested to know what they actually mean, I have a few translations of her lyrics available.
(胡思亂想 "Thinking Crazy" or perhaps "Paranoia"). Contents:
- Husi Luanxiang 胡思亂想 "Crazy Thinking"
- Shiyan 誓言 "The Oath"
- Tian yu Di 天與地 "Heaven and Earth"
- Mengzhong Ren 夢中人 "The Person of my Dreams"
- Zhiji Zhibi 知己知彼 "To Know Oneself and others"
- Chunqing 純情 "Pure Feelings"
- Youxide Zhongdian 遊戲的終點 "The End of the Game"
- Mengyou 夢遊 "Dream-journey"
- Lanse Shifen 藍色時份 "The Blue Times"
- Huiyi shi hongse tiankong 回意是紅色的天空 "Recollection is a Red Sky"/"I remember it was a red sky."
Produced by Alvin Leong. Cinepoly Records, 1994.
The earliest album of hers that I have, mainly because it contains two tracks ("Husi Luanxiang"and "Zhiji Zhibi") which are covers of Cocteaus songs, with Chinese words over the music. One song is also a Cranberries cover. The majority of it is okay, but it's still fairly bubble-gummy at times.
- Jiaqi 假期"Vacation"
- Nuanmei 暖昧 "A strange karmic relationship'?]
- Huozhe 或者 "Perhaps"
- Wo Xiang 我想 "I Think"
- Xiangshou享受 "Enjoyment"
- Yiban 一半 "Half"
- Wuti 無題 "No title"
- Liuxing 流星 "Shooting Star"
Produced by Alvin Leong. Cinepoly, 1995.
Possibly more original than the previous album, but still more-or-less mired in pop music. This album (I think) marks the beginning of a common Wang Fei theme: two-character song titles.
Fuzao (浮躁 "Impetuous" or "Impatient")
- Wuchang 無常 "Inconsistency"/"Nothing Abides"
- Fuzao 浮躁 "Impetuous"
- Xiangxiang 想象 "Imagining"
- Fenlie 分裂 "Broken Apart"
- Bu'an 不安 "Unpeaceful"/"Restless"
- Nar 哪儿 "Where?"
- Duoluo 墮落 "Degenerate"
- Saoxing 掃興 "Ruining the Mood"
- Mori 末日 "The Last Day"
- Yesanpo 野三坡 [A place name, literally 'The Wild Three-Banks"
Produced mostly by Zhang Yadong 張亞東 and Dou Wei 竇唯: Cinepoly, 1996.
At times my favorite, especially because Saoxing and Fenlie were written and produced by Cocteau Twins. I suppose people might criticize this album as an escuse for Zhang Yadong and Dou Wei to get their own songs out with Wang Fei's name on them (several songs on the album have no imprint of Wang Fei upon them; neither singing, nor writing, not instrumentation, nor nothin'). Be that as it may, I like the whole album -- pretty rare for me.
Changyou (唱遊, "Song-journey").
Probably the main contender with Fuzao for being my favorite. Several of the songs are deep and melancholy -- just like I like them. Clearly, Wang Fei was doing what she wants here, not just trying to please the masses. Well, except on one song: Red Bean, which is just a cloying love song that feels tacked on to the album, is probably the most popular song from the this album, at least if my experience in KTV's is anything to go on. Hmph. There's no accounting for taste.
Dana InternationalShe is a pretty good singer, and her music does describe those rare times when I feel energetic and bouncy. Plus, her involvement with transgender issues is a big bonus. A couple sites about her are linked to below.
David Sylvian used to be the lead singer of Japan, an '80's pop group which I have also listened to a lot. He broke out on his own, like so many charismatic '80's stars (Sting and Brian Eno spring to mind), and began producing his own music. His style has varied a fair amount since he went solo, but it has always been very moody and melancholy. His music rarely sounds very electronic; it's more likely to sound bassy or twangy. He has occasionally produced pure space music, but usually, his stuff has lyrics. His lyrics are rather obscuritan, though certainly on a different plane from the type of thing Liz sings in Cocteau Twins songs.
In any case, I like his music.
The original location of David Sylvian, and a pretty good band in their own right. They were one of the 1980's glam rock bands, and have in my mind many similarities to the Police, especially in the fact that both band's lead singers ended up turning into stars in their own rights, and singing very soulful white-people's jazz-type music.
He's largely just done movie soundtracks, Little Buddha and The Last Emperor perhaps being his most famous ones. However, he has a great amount of range, from tear-jerking classical to upbeat dance music.
He's done a lot of soundtracks, for which he's most famous, especially the amazing soundtrack to Blade Runner. I like some of his other music as well, such as Heaven and Earth (kind of Chinese-inspired space music, which includes music which was used for Carl Sagan's Cosmos series).