on 13 March 2009
This CD collection was part of a bigger media presentation. In fact there was an extremely limited edition release (in wooden 'window sash' box) containing the CD, Video, LP and cassette which was bought for exhibition by the V&A, such was the excellence of design.
The product itself is notable. On design terms this offering from 23 Envelope is bold in that it's exterior shows not a specific artwork but the random scores and marks on a drawing board, presumably one that was the base upon which so many sublime 23 Envelope designs were created.
The music collection itself is almost uniformly '4AD' in that it presents a series of musical pieces that conform to the notion of what the label was so uniquely famous for. Lush moments of musical exploration that seemed to come from a parallel world.
It really is a most wonderful fragment of time in which music seems caught in amber or suspended in aspic. Each song is distinct but somehow ideologically linked.
There are no weak songs here. But stand out tracks include 'Acid, Bitter and Sad' by This Mortal Coil, 'Frontier' by Dead Can Dance and the impossibly irresistible 'Crushed' by Cocteau Twins.
The accompanying video (long deleted) was an object lesson in the art of film for music. Made by 4AD artist Nigel Grierson it dwelt on detail, atmosphere and imagination. In a world where promotional films for music releases have become stagnant and obvious his work still shines out. So it's clear that the 'Lonely Is An Eyesore' project was far more than a record company's idle boast.
If you are a student of design or music this CD should be part of your study.
If you love the sublime sounds of the original 4AD label then this must be your next purchase.