With their debut album Ojalá was just released on 3rd November on Bella Union, Lost Horizons have shared a video to the track “Score The Sky”, featuring vocals from The Duke Spirit’s Liela Moss.
Here’s a quote from director Derrick Belcham: “The video for Score The Sky is an attempt to visualize the kind of mystical experience of achieving a sense of oneself, constantly switching between chasing and fleeing elements of the psyche that are buried, and either want to stay that way, or else come erupting forth. The dancers, Nicole and Rebecca, explore the decks of the SS Columbia as a borrowed symbolic environment for the labyrinthine passageways of persona and complex, all taking place in the mind of one woman, likely in a single moment.”
Having played their debut UK show at Liverpool Music Week last night, Lost Horizons will head out on tour throughout November beginning at Iceland Airwaves Festival in Reykjavik and reaching the UK for a bunch of shows in the second half of the month. For the live incarnation of the band, Lost Horizons will include three vocalists: Ed Riman aka Hilang Child and Beth Cannon, both of whom appear on the album, as well as Helen Ganya Brown who records under the alias Dog In The Snow.
Ojalá incorporates a heady cast of guest singers. Some are signed to Bella Union, such as Marissa Nadler and former Midlake frontman Tim Smith, while others are long-time favourites of Raymonde’s (Liela Moss of The Duke Spirit and Ghostpoet), or newer discoveries (Beth Cannon, Hilang Child, Gemma Dunleavy and Phil McDonnell). Together, the Lost Horizons ensemble has created an hour of exquisite, expansive and diverse spellcasting.
Before he started Bella Union, Raymonde was the bassist of the seminal 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.
Raymonde and Thomas had made demos together in the eighties, but filed them away – though they did collaborate on ‘Ivy And Neet’, found on This Mortal Coil’s second album Filigree & Shadow (1986), with Thomas adding a spiralling saxophone to Raymonde’s improvised piano. But both found their journeys diverging. Long after Dif Juz split, Thomas had toured with The Jesus And Mary Chain, Moose, Felt and, in the nineties, Cocteau Twins. But as he recalls, “The business side of music became too painful. I had too much love for music that wasn’t returned. But Simon has music in his heart and soul, he’s extremely talented, and I wanted to get him making music again. And when the idea of jamming together came up again, I got really excited, which I hadn’t felt about music in ages.”
The pair booked four days in an east London studio, with Raymonde on piano and Thomas on drums, and a simple plan: “It must feel like fun, never a chore, and it had to be improvised,” Raymonde explains. If it never became a record, it didn’t matter. It was all about recapturing that feeling when you’re 15, making music with friends.”
As the songs took shape, Raymonde began thinking of singers to approach that would suit each, and to his surprise and joy, they all agreed. The same ground rules as the original sessions applied: “There were no, ‘Am I going in the right direction?’ conversations. It had to be about the moment, about what felt right.”
Indeed, Ojalá was made for its core duo’s need to make music, and to create something beautiful, and meaningful, in these dark times. It’s why the record is named after the Spanish for “hopefully” (or “God willing”).
Currently celebrating 20 years piloting his 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 their stunning debut album, Ojalá, is released 3rd November on Bella Union.
Today Simon speaks to Bob Boilen of NPR’s All Songs Considered to discuss Lost Horizons, Bella Union and premiere “I Saw The Days Go By” featuring Marissa Nadler. You can listen to it here. The track is one of three Lost Horizons tracks Nadler lends her vocals and lyrics to. Raymonde described the collaboration “All the tracks with Marissa came about quite unusually. I thought i was finished with the Lost Horizons album once we got to about 10 tracks, but i had the urge to go and record on my own at this lovely studio near my house which Warren Ellis had recommended to me, with a mint grand piano. I had two short days there and got a ton of recordings done and I realized this was the missing part of the album. I’d wanted to use Marissa Nadler’s voice on the record but nothing had seemed quite appropriate till now. We have a lovely connection and it’s always very easy for me to relate to her, socially and musically. She wrote and sang her parts in just a day or two and i think we were both just very inspired at the right time for each other.”
Alongside Marissa Nadler, Ojalá incorporates a heady cast of guest singers. Some are signed to Bella Union, such as 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, Hilang Child, Gemma Dunleavy and Phil McDonnell). And then there is the incomparable Karen Peris of The Innocence Mission, one of Raymonde’s most beloved artists, in her first collaboration outside of The Innocence 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 Hilang Child). There’s the odd louder, faster detour, like ‘Life Inside A Paradox’ (featuring Neal, with Sharon Van Etten on backing vocals), but the dominant mood is a deep, rich melancholia.
Later this year, Lost Horizons will head out on tour which sees them stopping off at Iceland Airwaves Festival in Reykjavik.
Praise for Lost Horizons
“Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde has spent his time since that band’s dissolution 20 years ago producing for other artists and running the great Bella Union label, but he’s getting back to making music of his own. And damn, judging by the quality of his new group’s first single, a lot of us might not have realized what we were missing.” – Stereogum
“As Lost Horizons, Raymonde’s drummer Richie Thomas shuffled through studio sessions as dream pop minutemen, chasing their impulses through cut after cut of autumnal arrangements, carefully shaped until they shimmer in an amber afterglow. ” -Billboard
2. The Places We’ve Been
3. Amber Sky
6. She Led Me Away
7. Frenzy, Fear
8. The Tide
9. I Saw The Days Go By
10. Give Your Heart Away
11. Score The Sky
12. Life Inside A Paradox
13. The Engine
14. Winter’s Approaching
Watch the teaser video here…