Ivo Watts-Russell had a really good thing going on in TheEighties: he was the founder and president of 4AD Records, a key label in the British PostPunk movement and the main label associated with the DreamPop genre. And later, he also became famous as the leader of the DreamPop {{Supergroup}} This Mortal Coil.

The latter came about more as a result of random chance than prior plans. One of 4AD's bands, Modern English (yeah, the "I Melt With You" guys), had been playing two of their early songs, "Sixteen Days" and "Gathering Dust", as a medley at the end of their concerts. Watts-Russell suggested they record the medley, with the band saying "no." Undeterred, he decided to do it himself and assembled a bunch of musicians drawn from the 4AD roster, including Elizabeth Fraser and Robin Guthrie (Music/CocteauTwins), Gordon Sharp (Cindytalk) and a few members from Modern English and Colourbox. The result was an EP under the "This Mortal Coil" name, ''Sixteen Days/Gathering Dust''. The EP's B-side was a cover of "Song to the Siren" by Tim Buckley, performed solely by Fraser and Guthrie. The latter attracted the most praise and attention thanks to its minimalist production and Fraser's powerful vocals - it peaked at #3 on the UK Indie charts for 101 weeks and was later included on the "band"'s first album.

Pleased with the result, Watts-Russell embarked on the recording of an entire TMC album. As with all TMC material, his role was, in his own words, "a musical director" - he chiefly assembled musicians and chose song material, occasionally playing keyboards. He managed to put together a DreamTeam of talented musicians from various bands on the label, with contributions from the aforementioned Fraser, Guthrie and Simon Raymonde (Cocteau Twins), Martyn and Steven Young (Colourbox), Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard (Music/DeadCanDance), Mark Cox (The Wolfgang Press), Gordon Sharp (Cindytalk) and the only outsider, Howard Devoto of The Buzzcocks. Masterminded by Watts-Russell and 4AD's in-house producer John Fryer, ''It'll End in Tears'' set the pattern for all TMC releases: a combination of {{Cover Version}}s of cult heroes which [[RearrangeTheSong transformed the songs]] into alternately moody and happy DreamPop, plus original {{Instrumentals}} in the same style. ''Tears'' was released to a friendly reception from the PostPunk indie scene and helped further establish DreamPop as a successful genre.

Watts-Russell and Fryer, technically the only official members of the band, next worked on a new This Mortal Coil album. This lineup included holdovers from ''Tears'' like Raymonde, Cox and Steven Young alongside new blood such as Richard Thomas, David Curtis and Alan Curtis from Dif Juz, Andrew Gray from The Wolfgang Press, Deirdre and Louise Rutkowski, arranger/conductor Martin [=McCarrick=] and Dominic Appleton from Breathless. A double-album, ''Filigree & Shadow'' saw the collective take advantage of the format to expand its musical horizons: besides the obligatory dream pop {{Cover Version}}s and instrumentals (which were more lushly produced, featuring more use of string sections), the material was occasionally [[DarkerAndEdgier darker, harsher, more dissonant]] and haunting, featuring more short experimental tracks, venturing into outright horror and being more influenced overall by {{Goth}} music.

After a five year pause, Watts-Russell and Fryer commenced work on another This Mortal Coil album, which Russell had announced would be the last. [=McCarrick=], Appleton, Limerick and the Rutkowski sisters were the holdovers this time, with new contributors including Kim Deal (Music/ThePixies, Music/TheBreeders), Tanya Donnelly (Throwing Muses, The Breeders), Caroline Crawley (Shelleyan Orphan), Tim Freeman, Heidi Berry and Anne Garrigues. Another double album, ''Blood'' was very much ''Filigree & Shadow'' II, splitting its time equally between DreamPop and {{Goth}}ic Rock. ''Blood'' however had fewer experimental moments and boasted a similarly strong selection of covers, ensuring that This Mortal Coil ended on a high note.

Watts-Russell issued the box set ''1983-1991'', containing the group's three albums and a bonus disc with the original versions of the songs they covered, in 1993, thus marking the definitive end of This Mortal Coil. He created another project similar to TMC named The Hope Blister in 1998, but this only lasted a year. Watts-Russell sold 4AD Records back to its original distributors, Beggar's Banquet Records, in 1999 and has since retired from the music business.

Discography:
* ''Sixteen Days/Gathering Dust'' EP (1983)
* ''It'll End in Tears'' (1984)
* ''Filigree & Shadow'' (1986)
* ''Blood'' (1991)
* ''1983-1991'' (1993) - box set

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Tropes:

* AlbumTitleDrop - "It'll end in tears" is a lyric in "A Single Wish".
* CoverVersion - For each album:
** ''Tears'': "Kangaroo" and "Holocaust" by Music/BigStar, "Song to the Siren" by Tim Buckley, "Fond Affections" by Rema-Rema, "Another Day" by Roy Harper (later covered by Music/PeterGabriel and Music/KateBush), "Not Me" by Colin Newman.
** ''Filigree'': "The Jeweller" by Pearls Before Swine, "Tarantula" by Colourbox, "My Father" by Judy Collins, "Come Here My Love" by Van Morrison, "Strength of Strings" by Gene Clark, "Morning Glory" and "I Must Have Been Blind" by Tim Buckley, "I Want to Live" by Gary Ogan and Bill Lamb, "Firebrothers" by the Quicksilver Messenger Service, "Alone" by Colin Newman and "Drugs" by Music/TalkingHeads.
** ''Blood'': "Mr. Somewhere" by The Apartments, "With Tomorrow" by Gene Clark, "You and Your Sister" and "I Am the Cosmos" by Chris Bell, "Nature's Way" by Spirit, "I Come and Stand at Every Door" by Music/TheByrds, "Several Times" by Pieter Nooten, "Late Night" by [[Music/PinkFloyd Syd Barrett]], "Help Me Lift You Up" by Mary Margaret O'Hara, "Carolyn's Song" by Rain Parade and "'Till I Gain Control Again" by Emmylou Harris.
* DreamPop - And you're either going to get [[SweetDreamsFuel something you can fall asleep to]] or something creepy. No middle ground, unless you count their somewhat melancholic material.
* DreamTeam + {{Supergroup}}
* {{Instrumentals}} - Several on each album.
* LiteraryAllusionTitle - "This Mortal Coil" comes from ''{{Hamlet}}''.
* LonelyPianoPiece - Quite a few, and some with other instruments as well.
* OneWomanWail
* RearrangeTheSong
* RevivalByCommercialization - Creator/DavidLynch arguably did this by putting "Song to the Siren" on the soundtrack of ''Film/LostHighway''. It's also showed up in Creator/PeterJackson's ''Film/TheLovelyBones''.
* SirensAreMermaids - "Song to the Siren", what else?
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