Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD

Facing the Other Way The Story of AD The first official account of the iconic record label This Mortal Coil Birthday Party Bauhaus Cocteau Twins Pixies Throwing Muses Breeders Dead Can Dance Lisa Germano Kristin Hersh Belly Re

  • Title: Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD
  • Author: Martin Aston
  • ISBN: 9780007489619
  • Page: 262
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The first official account of the iconic record label.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 wThe first official account of the iconic record label.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 Russell and the striking design aesthetic of Vaughan Oliver, 4AD records were recognisable by their look as their sound In this comprehensive account of the label s first two decades up to the point that 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.

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    1 thought on “Facing the Other Way: The Story of 4AD”

    1. For me, 4AD is to music as Dalkey is to books—an independent label serving up divine music in beautiful packaging—and this thorough account of the label’s pivotal first two decades is a perfect reason to dip back into the back catalogue. 4AD’s architect was retiring depressive Ivo Watts-Russell, whose taste in artful melancholia led to three This Mortal Coil albums and helped shape their roster. Martin Aston’s love for 4AD shines in this respectful account drawn in large part from inte [...]

    2. Having this book exist is sort of like discovering the rosetta stone. It's hard to remember before the internet, when 4AD was this mysterious thing, along with the bands and 23 envelope. I grew up in the middle of nowhere, in central Alaska, and I can remember the first time I ever saw a 4AD record - This Mortal Coil's "16 days" single and the Cocteau Twins' Victorialand, at a local Comic Book Store of all places. 1986? 1987? It was like finding an artifact from another world. Through the years, [...]

    3. This is a simply wonderful history of one of my favorite record labels. 4AD. Music is just as important to me as books are and 4AD had so many great bands: The Birthday Party, The Breeders, Cocteau Twins, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, The Pixies, Dead Can Dance, Belly, Red House PaintersI have music by all of these bands and never has an independent label had so many great bands on their roster.So if you like any of these bands or are interested in learning all about how a record label is ru [...]

    4. "If you could describe music, you wouldn't need music" - Sinead O'Connor. I can't stress how important 4AD was to my musically formative years. In fact, it remains the only record label I followed like it was a band or artist or film director, and there is no doubt in my mind that it is the greatest independent record label that has ever existed. From philosophy and ethos to artist selection to packaging, 4AD under the aegis of founder Ivo Watts-Russell was the pinnacle of independent music in t [...]

    5. Calling time.At 600pp or more Martin Aston's history of seminal indie label 4AD isn't for the faint hearted. It's actually a bit tricky to work out who it's for. The fanboys? Whilst hugely important and influential, wildly beyond its mainly meagre sales (ignore the aberration that was M/A/R/R/S), at times 4AD barely kept its head above water given founder and kingpin Ivo Watts-Russell's allergic reaction to doing anything mainstream or - gasp - commercial. Even at the time, the winklepicker, Cro [...]

    6. 4AD provided the seminal music I listened to in the late 80's & early 90's and as a label introduced to to the work of many artists I still listen to & enjoy now. This book is a very interesting look at the characters and bands that made the label what it is.Totally enjoyable and insightful, it's also encouraged me to look up some artists that I've missed and to re-listen to a very entertaining back catalogue.

    7. This is the kind of book that would be boring for people who aren't extreme fans, but for someone like me, who found 4AD to be a revelation, this book is amazing. Getting to see inside the history of this influential record label was a joy, and seeing how circumstance around various signings and releases were so precarious was almost frightening. To think that some of my all-time favorite albums might not have happened, but for some specific events is simultaneously distressing and thrilling. Th [...]

    8. A timely opportunity to revisit the music of my youth. I think I first became aware of 4AD in 1982 as the home of Bauhaus and The Birthday Party but, of course, ultimately, inevitably it's the love affair with Cocteau Twins that dominated my 80s with 4AD. There's always a danger that reading about the music, the musicians, that you came to virginally pure with each new release that the grubby reality and sense of mistrust that developed in Robin Guthrie towards Ivo taints memory. It's certainly [...]

    9. Meticulously researched and wonderfully written, this book is a MUST HAVE for those rarefied individuals who are interested in the legendary record label 4AD and its enigmatic founder, Ivo Watts-Russell.

    10. Wow, this book took forever for me to finish! I'm a fan of the label, but not an obsessive and it was a good natural insomnia cure for awhile. I enjoy reading about music, though this was tough since it was more behind the business. The graphic design parts were interesting even if it wasn't the main focus, it's largely what sets 4AD apart from most labels. I'm a slow reader in general, but didn't read this consistently. I do feel better informed about the label though!

    11. A very thorough treatment of 4AD's "Ivo years". I liked the book — but at the same time it was a struggle to get through in the sense of being (for this dedicated but simple alternative music fan!) overly academic, overloaded with facts and lightweight in terms of human insight. When I read pop music books I generally look for a spark, a bit of fun, some gossip, scandal, a bit of pop psychology, sociology, social history, an insight into character. For example, the book told me very little abo [...]

    12. If, like me, you are a fan of some or all 4AD (record label) artists, you'll find this a uniquely informative and dispiriting book.Essentially, it tells the same story about fifty times. Ivo Watts-Russell (record label founder) gets a demo from a couple (almost always a couple-couple) of talented fragile people, loves it, signs them, and five years later everyone feels conned, debased, strung out and no-one is speaking any more. In between, the music business has done its usual job of messing wi [...]

    13. If you have the kind of relationship with 4AD records that many fans do, this book is going to be a must-read for you regardless of what anyone says. Also, if an insider look at the music industry is especially appealing to you, it might beer of some interest. However, it does sometimes read like a litany of days and names and events that never really gels into a compelling narrative. Not really helping is that it turns out that while there is certainly genius in many off the artists represented [...]

    14. A pretty thorough look through the evolution of 4AD records. Still seems sad that 4AD has become just another record label compared to what it once was. Lots of interesting tidbits about the design of the covers. Sadly, there aren't enough pictures to go along with these tales, and what is there are quite small(I sort of wish this would have been more a coffee table type book). It seems they didn't do enough research on Cindytalk and omitted the fact that Gordon Sharp is trans. They just mention [...]

    15. I don't think you can find a more definitive history of 4AD than this book. Culled from interviews conducted over a few decades, Aston leaves no detail out. As someone who likes Pixies, Red House Painters, and Mojave 3, I enjoyed getting to know more about their stories. I also was inspired to check out more of Lush's material as well as Tanya Donelly's work with Belly and as a solo artist. All this said, I would say it's best to be a huge fan of the label's output to really enjoy this book. Yes [...]

    16. There are pretty much 2 types of 4AD fanse ones who pretty much just like all the classic stuff from the 80s, and those who are more completist and like a lot of the melancholy releases that carried on through the 90s and, to some degree, today. I fall into the 1st category. At the time I was discovering the 4AD catalog, they were putting out some of their last great records as far as many people were concerned. This is one label that actually inspires some interesting questions about what matte [...]

    17. I finished this a week ago but held off reviewing it because I was so torn about whether to give it four or five stars. Five stars indicates perfection, and the book wasn't perfect—though in mostly forgivable and even endearing ways (save the editing mistakes). The label, including many of its artists, is so near and dear to my heart, and has been for 25 years or so, it's hard for me to be objective about this incredible book that unearthed so many secrets and answered so many questions I had. [...]

    18. Detailed, non-judgemental and very interesting, I've learned much from this book, but admit that my interest wained after the bands I still listen to left the story. To an extent, a tale of the rise and fall of Ivo Watts-Russell it also covers the damaging systems of the music business, the difficulties of sensitive creatives, and the relationship between art and business.It's made me revisit some musicians I've loved and inspired me to listen to some that passed me by. I'd recommend it.

    19. Like slogging through a bogThis is the most boring book ever about an exciting time e in the music industry. So dry, it's almost a day by day dairy with all the excitement taken out. How can a book that includes some of the great musical artists be so dull? Incredibly disappointed. I literally thought this book would never end. It needs an editor to cut it in half.

    20. I really enjoyed reading this book, especially learning about the post 4AD careers so many musicians have since embarked on - be sure to have music nearby as reading this book made me want to listen to so many songs as they were discussed

    21. An insanely in-depth chronicle of every aspect of one of the most influential record labels. A must read for fans.

    22. Having reached the end, I don't think I could imagine a more apt approach for a history of 4AD. This book is way too long, way too detailed in parts, lovingly crafted and deeply fascinating. 4AD was a label that behaved more like a band. Indeed, it was a case of the vessel becoming the story, as the Vaughan Oliver/v23 covers and Ivo Watts-Russell's steely taste captured the imagination of a generation and a half of indie kids. 4AD albums were beautiful, almost timeless objects, radiating mystery [...]

    23. Among independent record labels, 4AD was able to draw an unusually loyal following between its founding in 1980 and the late 1990s. With the music personally chosen by founder Ivo Watts-Russell and released in packaging by acclaimed designers Vaughan Oliver and Nigel Grierson, everything that came out on the label was granted a consistency that sort of guaranteed quality. Eventually, however, Ivo would sell the label and retire to the New Mexico desert, and while the name "4AD" continues to be u [...]

    24. Not only one of the best music biographies I've read, it's possibly one of the books I've enjoyed the most. A brilliant portrait of a man with a singular vision, a definite sense of what he wished to achieve, and to some extent, a complete lack of understanding of how to make it work. The book takes us from the start of 4AD as an offshoot of Beggars Banquet, through to it's growing successes with Cocteau Twins and The Pixies, as well as the less successful turns with some other signings it's bes [...]

    25. An inexact history of one of the more influential record labels of the eighties/early '90s, Facing The Other Way traces the roots of Ivo Watts-Russell obsession with music and follows his highs and lows at the helm of 4AD. Aston's love of the label and it's music is clear from the outset; you can visualize him wearing a worn Cocteau Twins shirt from '83 while whittling away on his laptop. However his devotion leads him down some paths that just don't seem necessary to moving the story along, and [...]

    26. This book reawakened my passion for music, but confirmed my distaste for the music industry. I loved the definitive stories on what went down with Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses and Pixies. Up until now, we had to deal with rumors and hearsay Now, we get details from the individual members of these wonderful bands. And kudos for Aston for not making it too gossipy. Aston's book is a chronological history, and for every success the label earned, there were equally perplexing failures due to timing [...]

    27. This is a super thorough retrospective of the history of the 4AD record label, told by a journalist who has been close to the label since the early 80s. There is a heavy focus on label-head Ivo Watts-Russell, as well as lots more info about the artists who were willing to talk (so, lots of Robin Guthrie quotes, no new Elisabeth Fraser quotes). Besides the behind-the-scenes stories of the musicians and record-making, there is also a lot of good behind-the-scenes info about Vaughn Oliver and 23Env [...]

    28. Loved 4ad in the 80's and 90's and was excited to be given this book for Christmas. But, whilst it was interesting to start with it ended up being repetitive and unless you knew the bands being discussed, a bit dull.Although it is a large book it doesn't go into enough detail and spreads itself too thinly - there obviously some good stories about the label, the people and bands involved but there is too much covered and I suspect some of the key personalities were reluctant to share. I think the [...]

    29. When I saw how thick the book was (600 plus pages), I immediately thought this would be a boring read with way too many details. But it turned out to be a great read. I finished it in less than 10 days. (My jetlag helped.)I have been a fairly serious music listener for over 20 years. Without any doubt, 4AD records has been the most influential label for me during this time. I religiously bought most of the stuff that came out on 4AD. And I enjoyed a good portion of the releases. So of course, I [...]

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