Brudenell Social Club, Leeds.
Plus Support from DOG IN THE SNOW
Currently celebrating 20 years piloting the revered record label Bella Union, Simon Raymonde has scaled another personal peak, a new collaboration with drummer Richie Thomas. They’re called Lost Horizons, and though neither of them have strictly been lost, their stunning debut album, Ojalá, is a rare sighting of two gifted musicians who, for different reasons, have been largely absent from music-making for the last 20 years. Yet the record is proof of a telepathic relationship through music, established when the pair first became collaborators and friends in the eighties.
Ojalá also incorporates a heady cast of guest singers. Some are signed to Bella Union, such as Marissa Nadler, former Midlake frontman Tim Smith, Cameron Neal (Horse Thief), others are long-time favourites of Raymonde’s (Leila Moss of The Duke Spirit and Ghostpoet), or newer discoveries (Beth Cannon, Ed Riman, Gemma Donleavy and Phil McDonnell). And then there is the incomparable Karen Peris of The Innocence Mission, one of Raymonde’s all-time favourites, in her first collaboration outside of The Innocent Mission and solo recordings.
Together, the Lost Horizons ensemble has created an hour of exquisite, expansive and diverse spellcasting, from facets of soul (‘Bones’, featuring Cannon, and ‘Reckless’, featuring Ghostpoet) to dreamier invocations like ‘She Led Me Away’ (featuring Smith) and Ojalá’s lengthiest trip, ‘The Engine’ (featuring Riman). There’s the odd louder, faster detour, like ‘Life Inside A Paradox’ (featuring Neal, with Sharon Van Etten on backing vocals, and the first Lost Horizons track to emerge, on a split 7” single with Mercury Rev, for Record Store Day 2016), but the dominant mood is a deep, rich melancholia. “It’s just something I’m drawn to,” says Raymonde. “But he was equally drawn to working with Thomas.
Before he started Bella Union, Raymonde was the bassist of the revered Cocteau Twins, where the vein of melancholia went very deep. Even before the band had signed to 4AD, the label were releasing records by the instrumental quartet Dif Juz, arguably the first word in post-rock, 15 years before it became a trend: Thomas was their anchor the engine room of their wondrous free-flow. The two bands became friends, and toured together.
'Ojalá' Released October 27th on Bella Union.