I write to music… Soundtracks in the main (Hans Zimmer’s work for the Batman films goes down a treat). But also weird, ambient stuff (Paul Schütze, Stars of the Lid, Biosphere, et al). Occasionally I’ll listen to music with lyrics, but it’s difficult to write when someone’s chatting away in your ear. Apart from Elizabeth Fraser, whose voice is as close as you can get to being a musical instrument without actually putting strings on it.
I’m currently writing a story about a little girl and some big weather. I’ve been listening to the Cocteau Twins’ Lorelei a lot while I work on it. One minute and 57 seconds into the song, Elizabeth Fraser starts producing these amazing kookaburra noises. It’s no trick of the mixing deck. I saw the Cocteau Twins live at the Parr Hall, Warrington in 1994, and you can see her on The Old Grey Whistle Test (very poor quality, but still worth a view), wobbling her vocals like some human form of Dacelo novaeguineae.
Other tracks by the Twins worth investigating: Cherry-coloured Funk, Know Who You Are at Every Age, Violaine, Ivo, Fifty-Fifty Clown, Quisquose, Summerhead, Musette and Drums… whoa… I’ve just noticed they recorded a track called Kookaburra… spooky.