Happy Release Day Simon Raymonde

Following excellent reviews in the likes of MOJO, Uncut and Record Collector, Simon Raymonde today releases Solo Works 96-98 via his label Bella Union. To mark the occasion Raymonde has shared a hypnotic and visually striking video for album highlight “Tired Twilight”, directed by Jasper Harrison aka DIGISTITCHER the video can be viewed HERE.

Commenting on the video Harrison says: “The video for Tired Twilight communicates the disorientating feeling of coming to terms with a nostalgic yet anxiety-inducing memory of a time, person and place. This is embodied through the loose narrative of a woman restricting herself to the house before setting out into the city in a representative overcoming of her fear. The driving shots of the night-time city reference the woman’s inner turbulence as she moves past her unspecified trauma. Throughout this journey, she negotiates her fond memories of the recurring shadowy male figure with a desire to begin a process of recovery. The final liberation of this repressiveness is depicted in the clouded dancing at the videos climax, as she pushes away the fog of past experience in an aggressive but beautiful way. For this piece, I combined a number of influences including the surrealism of Jodorowsky, the use of chiaroscuro by directors such as Lynch and the tempo of the American beat authors to give the video a morphing, slow paced energy. Once edited, I ran the footage through a feedback visual synthesiser, which enabled me to add delay, blur and strobe to the picture in sync with the music’s swells. Changing the parameters in real time enables me to blend scenes together seamlessly to create a cohesiveness in the edit, with the objective of transporting the viewer into the disorientating yet emboldening world that the protagonist finds herself in.”

Simon Raymonde recorded his debut solo album Blame Someone Else whilst still in Cocteau Twins. Fellow Twins Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie both appeared on the album.

But Cocteau Twins were no more by the time the album was released. Originally issued in October 1997 it became the first release on Bella Union, the new label run by Simon and Robin. And soon after by Simon alone. Circumstances change, and the album unexpectedly arrived in a world where Cocteau Twins were in the past.

Twenty-five years later, Blame Someone Else is being released on vinyl for the first time as Solo Works 96-98 with the addition of three bonus tracks recorded in the same time period. “It was begun in 1996 at a time of turmoil with Cocteau Twins,” says Simon of the album now. “At the time, I was unsure if I should make the album but my band-mates were extremely supportive, and their encouragement helped me get the record finished. It took me 25 years to feel comfortable with these songs being available again. We all have hurdles to get over before we can feel ready to let go of certain things. Today, I feel that the first-ever release on Bella Union should once again be an active part of the label’s history, if only to bookmark these first 25 years.”

Time changes context. Perspectives too. But the impact, scope and sensitivity of Solo Works 96-98 remain unaffected. During the opening track “It’s A Family Thing” Simon sings of yearning for stability, acknowledging the hesitation inherent to stepping out on his own. “In My Place” is more explicit – if he’s losing face, it’s his face. This one is on him. Versions of touchstone songs by Television and Scott Walker further state that this his own endeavour.

Any intimations of uncertainty evaporate as the album ends with the sonic whirlpool “Tired Twilight,” a seamless union of the impressionistic and rhythmic. Ultimately, knowing the dates and circumstances is unnecessary, Solo Works 96-98 occupies its own space.