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The Moon And The Melodies

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 Jan. 2001)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: 4AD
  • ASIN: B000005S3V
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 21,292 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk

This 1986 collaboration between the master ambient minimalist and the original purveyors of ethereal pop delicately balances the former's hypnotic atmospheres with the latter's soft grooves and cryptic female vocals. While both artists are known for their romantic sounds, the moodier, darker tones that frequently inhabit Budd's ambient works are subverted here for a generally upbeat feeling. However the natural symbiosis between Budd and the Cocteaus makes for a charming, low-key musical marriage. These eight songs are split between light and airy instrumental compositions and groove-oriented vocal tracks. In the former style, "Why Do You Love Me?" is the most memorable, matching Budd's cascading, aqueous keyboard runs with guitarist Simon Raymondes' graceful feedback washes. The latter style is exemplified by "She Will Destroy You" which sounds like a Cocteau Twins' tune with romantic keyboard and saxophone accompaniment. Some might argue that not every track feels like a true collaboration, but The Moon And The Melodies has no exalted aspirations, rather it is designed as pretty, relaxing music, and it succeeds on its own terms. --Bryan Reesman

Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

By Lozarithm VINE VOICE on 22 Jun. 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
On this year's Summer Solstice I had the pleasure of driving down the Fosse Way towards Wiltshire, as the midsummer sun gradually set on the beautiful Cotswold landscapes. I was listening to The Moon And The Melodies on the car music system, and it proved to be the perfect soundtrack to the scenes unfolding around me. Elizabeth Fraser's gorgeously abstract vocals illuminated half of the tunes and completed an encompassing sound picture. The ubiquitous drum machine set the recording solidly in the eighties, but in other respects the music is timeless, other-worldly, other-everythingly in fact, and serene. Of the songs on which Elizabeth Fraser appears (Sea, Swallow Me; Eyes Are Mosaics; She Will Destroy You; Ooze Out And Away, Onehow), Sea, Swallow Me is perhaps the most closely recognizably Cocteau Twins in style and intent, though I don't believe it or any of the other tracks have been released on singles or their compilations.
This album may have been a little unfairly overlooked as it falls slightly outside the Cocteau Twins' main body of work. It was a largely instrumental and wordless collaboration with the keyboard player Harold Budd, fresh from his collaborations with Brian Eno, who co-wrote and co-produced all of the eight tracks, and served as his introduction to Four AD, the label they shared. His own album, Lovely Thunder, released later that year, contains a different mix of one of the same pieces, Memory Gongs, retitled as Flowered Knife Shadows.
Richard Thomas from Dif Juz, who had been working with the Cocteaus during the period that Simon Raymonde had been absent due to illness, contributes the occasional saxophone and plays drums on Bloody And Blunt.
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Format: Audio CD
I sip my wine. Slip this CD into the player. A shimmering piano carrys me off into a distant echoey guitar. A soft melodic bassline drifts gently over a spacey drum beat and that voice, oh that voice whispering to me tales of nostalgia, yearning, heaven and abstract possibilities, all in a language I don't understand. The emphasis changes very slightly, very logically as the CD takes me through a dream. Sometimes the soundtrack is that shimmery piano, sometimes the harmonies between the bass and guitar that aren't actually there but at the same time are, create my own melodies. All the while that beautiful angelic vocal drifts in and out of focus.
This is splendid stuff.
If you love your ambient music or just want something completley different or in a world of its own buy it now.
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Format: Audio CD
Well, I think the Cocteau Twins were a great band and as for Harold Budd, I could listen to his lullaby piano for the rest of my life. However, I've never really thought of this, a one-off collaboration from 1986, as a successful meeting of minds. The problem is that what you have here, effectively, are two separate mini-albums spliced together. Half the tracks sound like pretty much everything else the Cocteau Twins were doing in the mid-eighties, except that if you listen carefully you can just about hear a piano desperately trying to make itself heard above the noise; and the other half of the album sounds, basically, like Harold Budd's solo work from the same period.

For me, the album works best on the tracks where the instrumentation is stripped down to just Budd's atmospheric piano over the top of Robin Guthrie's guitar treatments. Guthrie's eerie guitar works very well here when the true ambience of the music is allowed to breathe; the effect is similar to the synth wash sounds on Budd's solo album Lovely Thunder, released around the same time as this album. (In fact, Track 2, 'Memory Gongs', is actually no more than a slightly altered version of 'Flowered Knife Shadows' from Lovely Thunder.)

It would have been great to have heard Liz Fraser's wonderful voice over the top of that ethereal soup. Unfortunately, though, she only sings on the numbers with the full band -- the Budd-driven tracks are all instrumentals. There is a partial exception to this in the first few minutes of the final song, the memorably-titled 'Ooze Out and Away, Onehow'; here, the drum machine is silenced and the atmospheric guitar and keyboard parts finally get a chance to shine underneath a characteristic Liz Fraser vocal..
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By A Customer on 19 Mar. 2004
Format: Audio CD
This is the Cocteau Twins plus Harold Budd, and in many ways it shares the same textures and softly sparkling sounds as Victorialand, so if you like that, you'll like this too. There's a lot more piano in this than the Cocteau's usual guitar-based music, but the pianos are heavily altered and it all fits together nicely. Wheras Victorialand was ethereal and uplifting, Moon & Melodies is Ethereal and somehow sad, but both can take you far away from the troubles of the ordinary world. Bloody & Blunt, despite its title, is one of the loveliest melodies I've ever heard.
Not their best, but worth a listen for sure!
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By A Customer on 16 Mar. 2001
Format: Audio CD
With the ambient treated piano of Harold Budd and those ethereal Cocteaus, this is music to chill to. Come home from work, pop in the bath, lights out and listen!
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