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Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD

“Like the motion of the swan’s legs beneath its ineffably elegant glide across water, below the surface of 4AD’s dazzling and enigmatic artwork and music the human drama unfolded. 4AD’s journey began as a shared discovery of a new world of sound and opportunity in the aftermath of the punk rock revolution. But its community was progressively fractured by splits, rivalries, writs, personal meltdowns, addictions, and depression—not least of the victims being 4AD’s most iconic artists Cocteau Twins, Pixies, and The Breeders, and the label boss as well.” Martin Aston

Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD

  • By Martin Aston
  • The Friday Project/HarperCollins
  • 2013

Available formats

  • Hardcover Deluxe Edition
  • Paperback
  • eBook


    This Mortal Coil, Birthday Party, Bauhaus, Cocteau Twins, Pixies, Throwing Muses, Breeders, Dead Can Dance, Lisa Germano, Kristin Hersh, Belly, Red House Painters. Just a handful of the bands and artists who started out recording for 4AD, a record label founded by Ivo Watts-Russell and Peter Kent in 1979, a label which went on to be one of the most influential of the modern era. Combining the unique tastes of Watts-Russell and the striking design aesthetic of Vaughan Oliver, 4AD records were recognisable by their look as much their sound. In this comprehensive account concentrating on the label’s first two decades (up to the point that Watts-Russell left), music journalist Martin Aston explores the fascinating story with unique access to all the key players and pretty much every artist who released a record on 4AD during that time, and to its notoriously reclusive founder. With a cover designed by Vaughan Oliver this is an essential book for all 4AD fans and anyone who loved the music of that time.

    About the author: Martin Aston is an accomplished music writer and critic whose work has been published far and wide in numerous magazines and other periodicals. He has written extensively about Cocteau Twins over the years.