Interesting Item for Twin Peaks Fans
Agnes Obel: Citizen of Glass

Liela Moss: My Name Is Safe In Your Mouth

Isn't that an evocative title? 

I have a mental backlog of music that I've been meaning to write about, especially non-classical music. As I'm planning to go on a sacred-music-only diet for Lent, which is now only a week away, I'll try to get several of them out of the way before then. As of right now I plan for them to be three albums made available to me by Rob G; thanks, Rob.

I had not previously heard of Liela Moss, though apparently she has been part of a band that is at least well-known enough to have an AllMusic entry, The Duke Spirit (though unknown to me, which is hardly surprising). I don't know how her first name is pronounced but am guessing "Leela." The album was produced by her "partner" and Duke Spirit band-mate, Toby Butler. He also shares the songwriting credits, so I can't pass judgment on Moss's skill in that department.

But she's responsible for the lyrics, as is clear in this release announcement from her label, Bella Union. 

I was in my own modest studio, surrounded by deep rural Somerset, and building the album bit by bit over a year with just my producer and partner Toby Butler – with whom I co-wrote all the music. We worked to our own schedule and across all seasons. Staring out of the window singing, I would watch the changing natural phenomena around me and sing to the forms outside. My window-view outside was like an umbilical cord; I was receiving little messages from the nature beyond and the songs were growing inside the studio, transmitting back.

...I teased melody out from an abstract, day-dreaming space until I can honestly say I felt that I was attempting to sing Mother Nature into existence 

That makes me think of Kate Bush, though I didn't read it until I'd already had the same thought about the album in general. It doesn't sound like Kate (forgive me, everyone who loves Kate Bush's music seems compelled to call her by her first name only). And the word "quirky," which seems almost unavoidable about Kate's work, never crossed my mind. But there is something deeply similar in the vibe: a somewhat mystical relationship to the deep currents of life, a rich and very feminine awareness and receptiveness. At times one is tempted to use the word "spacey" (about transmissions to and from nature, for instance), but in a half-admiring way: the openness of it, the willingness to follow those devotional impulses.

Tell me where the light will go
And I
Will chase it, chase it

That's from "Wild As Fire," and though most of the song seems to be about an individual person it lends itself to a broader interpretation. You can't expect to make linear, logical sense of the lyrics, but (as is often the case with this type of songwriting) they work in context.

I can't discuss the album musically without using the word "lush." The vocals are lush. The melodies are lush. The arrangements are lush, somehow, even though they are relatively sparse, not overly complex: altogether a beautiful piece of work.

Bella Union, by the way, was founded by Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie; no introduction necessary for fans of the Cocteau Twins, of which they were two-thirds (yeah, there were three people in the group). Now it's apparently run by Raymonde alone, and it appears to have a really good roster. I've only heard a small number of the artists, but the ones I recognize are excellent. And they include, to my surprise, The Innocence Mission (only for their latest album, which I have not yet heard). 


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Happy to hear you like this, Mac. It's been a pretty regular go-to for me since it first came out at the end of 2018.

Kind of sadly amusing that she thought it was Mother Nature.


Yeah, it is.

Speaking of Kate, I just got another Bella Union record that's somewhat reminiscent of her at times: Vanishing Lands by Dog in the Snow. I had ordered it back in November when it came out, but there was some sort of distribution problem, and I wasn't able to score a copy until last week. It's got a little bit of a Kate Bush feel, but it's more "electronic" sounding.

Sounds like something I would like, definitely.

I like those. And the video for the first one.

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