There’s a very private magic to Snowbird, something shared between ex-Cocteau Twin Simon Raymonde and singer-songwriter Stephanie Dosen (sometime vocalist for Massive Attack and the Chemical Brothers). Their debut LP, Moon (out Jan 27) comes paired with Luna, a full-album remix from Michigan beatscaper RxGibbs, and it’s testament to his nous that the secrecy stays intact. Reassembling Moon under strobelit skies, the producer – whose CONTACT LP dropped via Raymonde’s Bella Union label – weaves dark beats and loops under vocals recalling Raymonde’s Cocteau Twins. Here RxGibbs layers light and shade, taking care to enhance Moon’s subtleties without smudging the details; even as cool beats avalanche Dosen’s whispers, you’re not cast adrift but whistled along on a winter breeze. Stream Luna below, plus read Dosen's take on the elemental inspirations of the record.
Stephanie Dosen of Snowbird on the quirks of nature:
"When I’m singing for Snowbird, I always imagine a snowy landscape. And I imagine an underground cave, a rabbit burrow. Lots of fur and evergreen down under the trees, maybe in a mossy cave. It’s always deep in the centre of the Earth, with moss and little animals and maybe crystals, lots of ivy. And it’s moonlit, cobalt blue.
I don’t do it consciously, but animals always play a part in my lyrics. Making Moon I was in this real woody sort of place. Animals, the little vibrations they carry on this planet, and the fact that they’ve manifested here as little furry companions doing their woodland things - it’s such a magical part of being here. I’m so thankful that they decided to come manifest as animals, and hold that vibration of animal.
I was living in London when I recorded the vocals to Moon. I was a few doors down from Bushy Park, which is part of Hampton Court where Henry VIII did his game hunting. There are lots of stag and swans, tons of elementals. The place I was living used to be the orchard for Henry VIII. It was decreed that each house had to keep a fruit tree, so we had a super-old apple tree, and the garden was overgrown and magical, full of ivy. It was after I left that place that London became too urban for me. I started getting really creeped out by the cement. Creeped out by the buses. The exhausts. It’s like putting linoleum over hardwood floors – putting cement over the ground. It’s a creepy, dirty feeling. Nature cleans itself, but the city doesn’t. I grew up way, way out in the country. As far as I could see was my playground: forest, trees, pines, lakes, streams, wildlife. And now I’ve been back there, it’s – they’ve cut down the trees and planted houses there.
There’s something creepy thing about going back to your woodland haunts and seeing people living on top of them. When I went back, I thought, They have no idea. I used to live under that tree, to spend my whole day right there. That was my hangout; I had a fort there. And then you think, Well, where I live now, not long ago the people of Indian culture had their teepees here. This was their hunting ground, their living ground. All these people have lived in a certain spot. And I guess it goes to show the impermanence of things. The people that have gone by are just a shadow"