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Robin Guthrie And Brendan Perry: 4AD Revisited

  • By Kevin Cole
  • NPR “Favorite Sessions”
  • 26 Jul 2011

It all started with a clever idea from KEXP’s DJ El Toro: “4AD 4VR,” a three-hour show featuring music from 4AD Records, a label that helped define a new genre of music. Back in the ’80s and ’90s, if you saw the 4AD logo on the back of an album, you knew you were holding something special. From frenetic pop-punk pioneers like Pixies and Throwing Muses to the otherworldly dreaminess of bands like Lush and Pale Saints, 4AD helped define a musical era.

Two of the biggest names on the 4AD label were Cocteau Twins and Dead Can Dance, so we couldn’t believe our luck when founding members and influential icons Robin Guthrie and Brendan Perry accepted our invitation to perform on the air at KEXP.

Guthrie had visited us in 2006 for a mesmerizing solo performance, but this time he brought with him a backing band. Together, his songs “Monument” and “Mission Dolores” radiated ethereal beauty, but also took on a crashing, spellbinding effect.

When Perry entered the studio and began to sing, all eyes were drawn to him. You could have heard a pin drop in the engineering booth when he and Guthrie began a stunning cover of Tim Buckley’s “Song to the Siren,” which any 4AD aficionado will recall from This Mortal Coil’s 1984 album It’ll End in Tears. By the time the song ended, there were indeed tears in the eyes of those in attendance. Both of these iconic artists continue to create amazing work, and have produced a legacy to celebrate. 4AD 4VR! ▣

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