Did I dream you dreamed about me?

The music, just a faint echo of a yet unborn melody, provides a fragile background for a strangely distant voice that forms words out of a seemingly semi-conscious, somnambulist state of mind. The "shipless oceans" it describes seem to have dried out a long time ago. The lovelorn, beckoning voices are floating over crystalline dunes like drifting scarves of some distant figurine.

"Did I dream you dreamed about me?"

I could go on forever and wax poetic and make a fool out of myself.
But when I heard "Song to the siren" for the first time in 1984, i was reading the "Vermillion Sands"-stories by Ballard and "Pandora and the flying dutchman", a forgotten Hollywood melodram with Ava Gardner and James Mason was constantly on Tv. All this resonated heavily with me and it was like many different pieces were falling into place.
Of course, this song was a litmus test among my friends. Many considered it to be the peak of kitsch and pretentiousness.

Here is a rare live version which is remarkable for two reasons:
a) The haunting effect of "Song to the siren" was not made by studio trickery.
b) Liz Fraser sings it with a very strong scottish accent.

This mortal coil: Song to the siren

Although I always knew that it is a cover version of a Tim Buckley song, I haven´t heard the original until recently. I must say that i was not really floored by it.

During the last 10 years many different musicians like Robert Plant and George Michael have decided to cover "Siren", certainly more inspired by the success of the Liz Fraser version than the slightly jarring original by Buckley.
During the 90s it was also, quite fittingly, licensed for a perfume-ad and less effective in David Lynch´s "Lost Highway".

UPDATE: The latest brilliant moment thanks to "Song to the Siren" is the opening sequence of Michael Armfield´s 2006 drama Candy.

Of course its creators, Robin Guthrie and Liz Fraser, who usually recorded as Cocteau Twins, hated their version with a passion. They referred to it as "sludge to the siren", but this was nothing unusual, as they usually met their own back catalogue with disgust.

However, during the peak of the rave-scene producer duo Messiah sampled the famous "Did i dream you dreamed about me" and made it the central moment of their cut-up track "Temple of dreams". A few years before Fraser would work with The Future Sound of London and Massive Attack she became the siren of the amphetamine age and the queen of a million glow-sticks.

Messiah: Temple of dreams

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