Sonic Cathedral turned the UK’s first COVID lockdown into content last year, soliciting quarantine listening selections from dreampop and shoegaze artists for their Isolationism series.
Slowdive drummer Simon Scott chose the 1986 collaboration between The Moon and The Melodies between minimalist composer Harold Budd and Cocteau Twins, describing how its soothing blend of ambience and melody provided a sonic balm last Spring, when on top of being locked down he was dealing with the loss of his father to the virus in April. Even so, he managed to release two collections of field recordings in 2020 – Migrations in June and Apart in December – as well as start recording a new Slowdive record.
The Moon And The Melodies by Harold Budd / Elizabeth Fraser / Robin Guthrie / Simon Raymonde – selected by Simon Scott (Slowdive) @ Sonic Cathedral
It took me longer than it should have to discover The Moon and The Melodies existed during my Cocteaus rabbit-hole expedition a few years ago because streaming services had classified the record as it was released – not credited to the Cocteaus, but to Robin Guthrie, Simon Raymonde, and Elizabeth Fraser – along with Budd. They eventually adjusted their metadata so the album shows up in the Cocteaus discography, but when I thought it was missing from Spotify I just went and found a copy on Discogs. It’s a little noisy, but a new copy isn’t in the cards as so far it hasn’t been part of 4AD’s Cocteau’s reissue series – maybe they forgot they put it out 35 years ago, or have the masters filed under “Budd/Fraser/Guthrie/Raymonde”.
God Is In The TV had a terrific retrospective piece on the occasion of the record’s 30th anniversary in 2016:
From The Crate: Cocteau Twins & Harold Budd – The Moon and the Melodies (4AD) @ God Is In The TV
In the notes on the record on the Cocteau’s website, Guthrie is quoted as saying:
So clearly, Guthrie and Budd got along because they would go on to make seven more records together, including 2020’s Another Flower, which was released just four days before Budd passed away. The Cocteaus website excerpted an interview with Budd with Electronics & Music Maker magazine in 1986 where he talked about making the record, which was still a work in progress at the time:
The Serpent and the Pearl: An Interview with Harold Budd @ Electronics & Music Maker via CocteauTwins.com