1985 was a year in which Cocteau Twins played around with expectations a good bit, perhaps randomly, but perhaps also a reaction to how close they had sailed to the mainstream the year before with the successes of ‘Pearly Dewdrops’ Drops’ and ‘Treasure’. Starting off their main releases for the year with a single/EP release, by year’s end the band released what most likely would have ordinarily been issued as an album as two separate 12″ EPs instead. Meanwhile, exclusive versions of existing tracks would keep on coming on compilation releases. Plus, the band’s first ever compilation of choice cuts from their back catalogue – albeit one that was intended to gather up single tracks, obscurities and album tracks rather than anything as obvious as a singles or ‘best of’ collection.
Electronic Soundmaker and Computer Music – magazine and compilation cassette – February 1985 issue
A real obscurity this one – since the magazine contained an interview with the band, somewhat reluctantly mulling over the previous year’s ‘Treasure’ album, the accompanying cover-mounted cassette contained one of the band’s tracks, ‘Otterley’ – a different, more basic version compared to the album mix by the sound of it – this text is from the magazine;
Featured on our cassette this month is an original version of Otterley, the second to last track on the album. I wondered whether that too began with a drum track.
Simon: “No, that one didn’t. There was a click. It was an open tuning that began it.”
Robin: “All there is on it, in fact I think this might illustrate what I mean by treating and mucking about with instruments, when you hear this particular version, all there is on it is two tracks of guitar, one track of bass and one track of percussion. We only used four tracks. I like to create a sort of space, but not through sort a’ not playing a lot…”
Sadly, I have yet to come by this cassette – anyone out there with a copy?
Thanks, as ever, to Lieutenant030 and his treasure trove of a collection for some photos of this item and a tape of the version, which is indeed another take – closer to the John Peel session version in its minimal style – it is noticeably more of an electric guitar take rather than acoustic guitar, to my ears – and, again, no voice from Elizabeth.
Continue reading “Year by Year: Cocteau Twins – 1985”