The term best album of the decade gets thrown into the conversation pit seemingly every day, whether music was better before the eclipse of 2000 or if somehow innovation stopped January 1st, 2000.
In many ways, Heaven Or Las Vegas from Cocteau Twins is one of the most gorgeous records pressed onto a playable wax. The desert soundscape that Cocteau Twins paint with long exposure brushstrokes becomes comforting against the oblivion. The city of one million neon signs is the brightest star in the night sky, but Heaven Or Las Vegas takes sin city in a different set of eyes.
The record opens with “Cherry-coloured Funk” where the ethereal vocals from Elizabeth Fraser establish a setting of both outlandish beauty, but also this emotional daunting too. Nearly impossible to decipher from the first listen, the language appears almost foreign to the ears.
Describing, “Bills and aches and blues, and bills and aches and blues. Bills and aches and blues, and poor little everything else. But still more unstable, eyes of glass.” Bitter behind the poetry, Cocteau Twins instrumentally take guitar from Robin Guthrie and bass from Simon Raymonde to cover the string sections. The percussion and programming was completed by Guthrie’s golden grace.
While often quite simple for performance, the production and styling are what enthralls the audience. The instruments capture the senses and immediately refract some of that light away and onto a canvas.
Especially on pieces like “Iceblink Luck” where the upbeat style is a sudden change for Cocteau Twins but is a welcome one. The more rampant drumming and faster delivery from Fraser becomes a positive outlook on a typically stunning album. They spend a majority building around the isolative factors where the spotlight burns on either the vocals or the spacious instrumentation. The following title track, “Heaven Or Las Vegas” is hard to focus on with an overwhelming sense of attraction.
The instrumentation begins as subtle and heavy on the bass lines from Raymonde. As the progression picks up speed, the chorus that describes, “Singing on a famous street, I just want to love, I’ve all the wrong glory. Am I just in Heaven or Las Vegas? Whichever’s more brighter than the sun is to me.” leaves an idea engulfed in absolutely regal silk.
It transitions quickly a personal favorite of the record, taking steps from the physical and nearly directly into a line of exquisite prowess. Just the way that Fraser can manipulate her vocals to reminiscence over the angels, this is the perfect last song of a lifetime.
Heaven Or Las Vegas appears out of the clouds of mist and shrouded mystery to coincide within a comforting demise. Almost as if the sun was burning out and this is the final 37 minutes left on Earth, they have to be spent with Cocteau Twins.
A beautiful aura to the grace of freeform and fusion jazz, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery by The Comet Is Coming becomes an exemplary piece to focus the attention on.
Released in 2019, the trio headed by Betamax, Danalogue The Conqueror, and King Shabaka are a complex hydra that is able to coincide within this realm of nearly genreless ability.
Being consumed entirely by atmosphere, The Comet Is Coming opens Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery on a dichotomy. On one hand, the sun rises and becomes this joyous introduction of spacious building, then on the other; the first track “Because The End Is Really The Beginning” spins the audience on their skulls.
Betamax composes and arranges the percussion as well as the synths, giving this low energy arrival on “Because The End Is Really The Beginning.” This paired with Danalogue The Conqueror on the analog synths as well as the Roland synths, orchestrating time as a musical construct to follow.
The horns and bass clarinet which are covered by King Shabaka are simply illustrative and force the audience to withstand the fabrication of these daunting walls of noise that cut through the silence.
While Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery has nearly nothing in form of lyrics or narration, so much of the story is told through the emotion that The Comet Is Coming can produce. The summation of the record can be described around the theme of segueing being the key component to beauty.
In the first four tracks, going from the start with “Because The End Is Really The Beginning” to the fourth track “Blood Of The Past,” the emotional toll is immaculately different from each other. Pieces like “Birth Of Creation” exchange the atmospheric warping for something more concrete and justifying.
The horns on this track are smooth and create a solid foundation for the audience to stand on, The Comet Is Coming begins to work in slowly these tidbits of grueling drum and percussive work. “Birth Of Creation” never idles, but instead coincides with the consistent motion of time where “Summon The Fire” marches into frame.
More upbeat, the fire rages inside and is abruptly seen as a blaze of glory where The Comet Is Coming flexes their instrumental appendages. These ligaments take the faster speed and then hit a brick wall with “Blood Of The Past” that dials in and creates a catchy, but lengthy production.
Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery seems to lead up to this entire moment and by the fourth track of the record, the concept of sound swirls around the audience. “Blood Of The Past” is guttural, but still manages to win the ears over with a punchy synth and saxophone combination.
Made in either heaven or the closest ideology of it, “Blood Of The Past” is able to understand the assignment and attach itself directly to the audience. With poetry from Kae Tempest, the pairing forces the instruments to avoid the spotlight and instead provide backing which transcribes into one of the strongest introductions to a record sprawling over mountains of sand and improvisation.
Nine tracks that reach just around the 46-minute mark, The Comet Is Coming seems to pick up the pieces where jazz seemed to have a lulling point. Influenced by some of the greats, the sun sets slowly on Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, keeping the ears entertained and the pulse continually flowing.
“A playlist of tracks that were featured on MattsMusicMine.com from the week of November 22nd – 28th. From Reviews to Streams, never miss a track with these playlists that are uploaded every single Sunday till I drop dead.”
Featuring: Twompsax, Damian’s Ghost, Earl Sweatshirt, Converge, Chelsea Wolfe, Weldon Irving, Jah-Monte Ogbon, SEMATARY, HACKLE, Detësto, BADBADNOTGOOD, Karrie Riggins, Agalloch, John Jigg$, MYKI, The Temple
Track List: dysphoric, trap, All I Remember, 2010, Coil, The Sisters, Morning Sunrise, The Missing Link/The Sneaky Link, Redwoods, Nightmare Bomb, Signal From The Noise, Besides April, Of Stone Wind & Pillor, Manslaughter, Puma Snap, Pale Horse Of Pestilence