'1980 Forward' Highlights 4AD Label's Legacy
4AD is more than just a label — it's a lifestyle. For more than three decades, it has perpetuated a rarefied aesthetic that incorporates music, graphics, philosophy, and more into a dazzling discography that includes an abundance of unforgettable artists. Now the tale will be told in full with the publication of music journalist Martin Aston's 1980 Forward: The Story of 4AD, slated for the summer of next year by London-based publishing house The Friday Project.
4AD first gained fame in the '80s for unleashing the moody sounds of such artists as Bauhaus, This Mortal Coil, Cocteau Twins, Throwing Muses, and Dead Can Dance. But the British label has never stopped moving forward -- in the '90s, they released albums by everyone from Lush to Thievery Corporation, and their current roster includes the cutting-edge likes of St. Vincent, Grimes, Atlas Sound, and Tune-Yards. Still, founder Ivo Watts-Russell and graphic artist/designer Vaughan Oliver have done as much -- if not more -- to define the look, sound, and feel of 4AD as the musicians themselves. Watts-Russell's careful curation of the right artists, projects, and producers has gone hand-in-hand with the distinctive visual textures of Oliver and his v23 design company, whose covers instantly told the world, "This is a 4AD release." And next summer, Aston will let us in on how it all came together, via stories straight from the mouth of Watts-Russell. Set aside a spot on your bookshelf now.