Livonia (album)

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Studio album by
ReleasedJune 25, 1990
StudioWarren's house, Livonia, Michigan; Garageland Studios, New Boston, Michigan
GenreDream pop, ethereal wave
ProducerWarren Defever, Ivo Watts-Russell, and John Fryer
His Name Is Alive chronology
Home Is in Your Head
Singles from Livonia
  1. "How Ghosts Affect Relationships" / "If July"
    Released: 1990 (promo only)[1]
Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic3.5/5 stars[2]
Entertainment WeeklyB[3]

Livonia is the debut album by His Name Is Alive. It was originally released by 4AD on June 25, 1990 in the United Kingdom and in 1992 on 4AD/Rykodisc in the United States.


Livonia is the debut LP by Livonia, Michigan's His Name Is Alive (or HNIA). Frontman Warren Defever began recording on a 4-track recorder in his parent's basement while still in high school. As a result, this album is made up of material originally recorded from 1985 through 1989, rough versions of which appeared in 1988 on a self-released cassette called I Had Sex With God.

In a 2006 interview,[4] Defever recounts that he sent the cassette to 4AD label president Ivo Watts-Russell in 1988, who initially felt that Defever and his band "needed a lot of work." Ivo also said he wasn't interested in signing any more American bands, due to the difficulty of time zone differences and finding US distribution. He also suggested that Defever try Rough Trade's US branch. Defever responded that he had already been rejected by that label, and continued to submit cassettes to 4AD, with revised and improved versions of the songs appearing on each new tape.

Over time, Ivo and his This Mortal Coil partner John Fryer felt they could actually mix Defever's home recordings into something that 4AD could release, and the album finally appeared in the summer of 1990. Due to Ivo and Fryer's contribution, along with other superficial similarities, HNIA were often compared to This Mortal Coil during their early years.

The recordings originally consisted of Defever providing the bulk of the music, with Angie Carozzo providing vocals. Once Defever met Karin Oliver in college, he recruited her to become the band's primary vocalist. The album still credits Carozzo as a member, although very few of her vocals remain in the finished product (tracks 10 and 11), and she left the band shortly after the album's release.

Track listing[edit]

The album was only available in the United States as an import until 1992, when Rykodisc reissued the album on CD, with an instrumental bonus track called "Livonia" appearing at the end of the album. The track was only available on the Rykodisc pressing and was not included on any subsequent 4AD reissues.

All tracks are written by His Name Is Alive.

Original 1990 4AD release
1."As We Could Ever"3:25
3."If July"3:53
4."Some and I"3:38
7."Caroline's Supposed Demon"2:35
10."You and I Have Seizures"3:06
11."How Ghosts Affect Relationships"3:54
12."Darkest Dreams"3:03
1992 US Rykodisc edition bonus track



  • Warren Defever – guitars, basses, samples
  • Karin Oliver – vocals
  • Angie Carozzo – vocals
  • Damian Lang – percussion on "E-Nicolle", "Fossil" and "reincarnation"
  • Jymn Auge – guitar on "Fossil"
  • Tracy – bassoon on "You and I Have Seizures"


  • Ivo Watts-Russell and John Fryer – mixing (at Blackwing Studios)
  • Vaughan Oliver/v23 – art direction and design
  • Beverly Carruthers – photography
  • Chris Bigg – design assistance

Livonia Strings[edit]

The cover for His Name Is Alive's 2006 Livonia Strings release, with artwork based on the original Vaughan Oliver artwork from 1990.

In 2006, Defever released through his Silver Mountain Media record label a new version of Livonia, with instrumental strings versions of most of the songs from the original album. In the interview referenced above, Defever said the strings project was originally conceived as a joke while still signed to 4AD. He tried to convince the label that he had originally intended the album to be done with strings and he should be given the chance to re-record the album as "originally intended."

4AD actually allowed Defever to move forward with the project, but has refused to release the recordings. Defever re-recorded the project sometime after leaving the label, although details are scarce. It was actually first released as disc 5 of the Cloud Box 10-CD box set on Time Stereo in 2004, under the name Mystery Spot. While Defever gave detailed notes about each CD of this set, his notes on Mystery Spot only said "I don't wanna talk about it, but once you listen you can figure it out, if you're smart."

Defever also said his intentions for releasing the project was to show 4AD that there was still interest in Livonia in America, where the label is not keeping the album (along with the rest of HNIA's 4AD catalog) in print in the United States, despite nothing preventing them from doing so.

The strings CD release was a very limited edition; only 100 copies were made, which sold out very quickly.[5] It is now currently available as a paid MP3 download from the Silver Mountain Media website.

Track listing[edit]



  1. ^ "His Name Is Alive – How Ghosts Affect Relationships / If July (7", Promo) at Discogs". Retrieved 21 November 2015.
  2. ^ Phares, Heather. "Livonia – His Name Is Alive". AllMusic. Retrieved January 30, 2016.
  3. ^ "Notable music for the week of June 29, 1990". Entertainment Weekly. June 29, 1990. Retrieved October 21, 2018.
  4. ^ Whitney, Jon (4 February 2006). "Brainwashed – His Name Is Alive". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  5. ^ "His Name Is Alive – Livonia Strings (CDr, Limited Edition) at Discogs". Retrieved 30 January 2016.