Simon Raymonde today announces the release of Solo Works 96-98 out 9th December via Bella Union and available to preorder here. To accompany the announcement Raymonde has shared “It’s A Family Thing”, the album’s beguiling opening track.
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, as did late-period member Mitsuo Tate.
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.
Solo Works 96-98 artwork below…