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|You blocked up my ears,
You plucked out my eyes,
You cut out my toungue,
You fed me with lies, Oh Lord.
-- Brendan Perry --
|Dead Can Dance
Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard
"We made medicine for ourselves and hopefully make medicine for other people. A way out. A way to the familiar..."
-- Lisa Gerrard, 1993
"[DCD's] musical creations are an audible art gallery...The words can be studied, the phrases of percussion can be taken apart, the orchestrations can be delineated and examined note by note, and then, when all is done, it can be listened to for the VERY FIRST TIME.
(...) The culminating silence, which announces the end of their all too brief performance, resounds with loneliness and sorrow. "Just one more time", I repeat for the thousandth time. And again I listen, frozen in amazement, consumed in the most excellent of flames."
-- Phil Naunton
Is it ethereal, atmospheric, gothic, dark, ambient or world music? The music style of Dead Can Dance is all of these genres and more. Celestial and refined to say the least, DCD's music touches all senses. If harmony of heavenly voices, celtic chants, profound lyrics, and captivating music ever existed...it has the Dead Can Dance ex-libris all over it. An anthology of work spanning 14 years, asserts DCD as the most evolutionary band of all time.
-- DJ Avalanche, Musicfolio, 3/99
The rather distorted sound quality of this album fails to deliver the vocals of both Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard. The overall dark ambience of this CD resembles the early work of Cocteau Twins.
¾ 1985: Spleen and Ideal
"With this amazing album, Dead Can Dance fully took the plunge into the heady mix of musical traditions that would come to define its sound and style for the remainder of its career. The straightforward goth affectations are exchanged for a sonic palette and range of imagination. Calling it "haunting" and "atmospheric" barely scratches even the initial surface of the album's power. The common identification of the duo with a consciously medieval European sound starts here -- quite understandable, when one considers the mystic titles of songs, references to Latin, choirs, and other touches that make the album sound like it was recorded in an immense cathedral. (...) While the elements being drawn on are certainly of an older range, the results owe as much to the technologies of arrangement and production and a consciously cinematic feeling as much as they do antique pasts. Similarly, the feeling is not simply European but worldwide, with Gerrard's glossolalia intentionally reaching beyond easy understanding. Perry's vocal efforts are no less compelling, his own high point occurring with the vast-sounding 'Enigma of the Absolute,' as a steady, massive drum pound echoes behind a similarly treated guitar/harpsichord combination, tinged with a striking string arrangement. The overall feeling is of an ancient religious service suddenly brought to life in a truly modern way, with stunning results. "
-- Ned Garrett, allmusic.com
1987: Within the Realm of a Dying Sun
"Eventhough all of DCD's albums are nothing short of masterpieces, 'Within the Realm of a Dying Sun' mesmerizes me like no other album. From the church bells of Anywhere out of the World to the perfection of Cantara...I just can't seem to get enough of this outstanding work."
-- S. Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 3/99"Even when they employ pretentious lyrics - 'We scale the face of reason to find at least one sign/That could reveal the true dimension of life lest we forget... We lay by cool clear waters and gazed into the sun/And like the moth's great imperfection succumbed to her fatal charms' (Anywhere Out Of The World) - it's sung with the solemnity of a religious procession, and with as much conviction. "
-- Jason Morehead, opuszine.com, 1/02
1988: The Serpent's Egg
"On their fourth LP, Dead Can Dance continue to penetrate those dark recesses of the mind, evoking emotional life from nothingness. Deeply rooted in Eastern European and Middle Eastern intonations and incantations, Lisa Gerrard's voice draws the music up from a somber state, giving birth to an almost emotional drama. On Severance, Brendan Perry complements Lisa's introduction to the LP with lyrics emoting feelings of oppression and anguish, reflecting the deep impression left on this self-indulgent group by the macabre poetry of Baudelaire. "
-- College Media, via cdnow.com
¼ 1990: Aion
"Minstrels Perry and Gerrard now bear scant resemblance to the more trad 4AD-style neo-goths of the first album. Jettisoning any ties to the present, this masterfully organized recording whirls headlong into the Renaissance, to a sonic realm where somber Gregorian chants (and there's a lot of them here) and jaunty maypole dances like "Saltarello" have never left the hit parade. Utilizing authentic folk instruments (hurdy gurdy, lutes, bagpipes, etc.) and letting Gerrard's lovely voice soar unimpeded, Dead Can Dance has finally found a distinct sound of its own."
½ 1991: A Passage in Time
"A Passage in Time is a compilation of songs from the first six years of the Australian duo's career. Utilizing traditional instruments in untraditional combinations, Dead Can Dance have created a sound that is distinctly their own, and instantly recognizable.
Picking at only some of the most memorable moments from four of the band's first five albums, Passage attempts to drown the listener in every demanding emotion the band has to offer. From the enchanting Ullysesto the majestic and overwhelming The Host of Seraphim, there is little doubt that this is a disc that'll knock you back into your sofa and leave you helpless and entranced by the perfectly mesmerizing voices of Lisa Gerrard and then husband, Brendan Perry."
-- Skaht Hansen, Pitchfork reviews
1993: Into The Labyrinth
"Their more sample-based approach to composition soon grew over time into the hypnotic grooves and multi-ethnic influences of Into The Labyrinth (1993), whose 'Yulunga (Spirit Dance)' also made its way from Baraka territory into the realms of archetypal Ethnodelic signifier. With haunting ullulations, wavering reeds and crisply-tranced rhythms, it is also a masterful moment which somehow transcends the New Age/World Music associations through sheer emotional impact alone, perhaps even because rather than in spite of the electronic bird noises mixed between the percussion. However, the rather aptly-titled 'Unfortunate Mr Lovegrove' and the radio recording of the drearily Folksy and somewhat Dylan-eqsue 'Sloth' show that Perry's somewhat plain songwriting inclinations were shadows in comparison with Gerrard's transcendent transmissions from Babel. Still, 'How Fortunate The Man With None' is a fine sung performance of the words of Bertholt Brecht from Perry, and 'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' from the same radio appearance demonstates that when he brought his Gaelic musical influences to bear on a strong vocal from Lisa Gerrard, the magical atmosphere they could create together in a simple traditional Folk song was awe-inspiring. "
-- Antron S. Meister, Freq
½ 1994: Toward The Within (live CD and video)
"[Toward the Within] documents Dead Can Dance's breathtaking fusion of ancient and modern sounds, the results of which often transcend the stylistic entrapments of a specific culture for something larger. (...) Toward The Within's biggest treat is that it brings Dead Can Dance's music, which on record can be so other-worldly that it's intangible to the listener, right to the edge of the stage, where one can hear the rich tones of Gerrard's and Perry's voices and feel the warmth resonating from the group's intricate arrangements. "
-- Lydia Anderson, CMJ NewMusic Report
½ 1996: Spiritchaser
"...Spiritchaser descends from the duo's usual nether atmospheres into a realm of tribal percussion and chant, casting a comprehensive net over various world music traditions....Lisa Gerrard's voice [is as] gorgeous as always..."
-- Option (9-10/96, p.101)
2001: 1981-1998 Box Set
"4 CDs, 47 songs carefully picked by Lisa and Brendan, spanning the 17 years of Dead Can Dance's existence. The most exquisite selection of music ever made probably, with the 4th CD including a DVD of their Towards The Within video documentary. A wonderful gift to a fan that doesn't own all of DCD's albums. Unfortunately the box set does not offer more than one previously unreleased song (The Lotus Eaters) to the more dedicated fans."
-- Said Sukkarieh, musicfolio.com, 11/01
2003: Wake (Best of Dead Can Dance)
"'Wake' is a condensed 2CD compilation of highlights chosen by Brendan Perry from the box set and includes the last track that Dead Can Dance completed as a band, 'The Lotus Eaters'. Includes a total of 26 songs. The 24 page cd booklet contains notes adapted from the Box Set and lyrics for all songs. The design and artwork includes new images from Graham Wood at Tomato. "
¼ 1984: It'll End in Tears, by This Mortal Coil
This project by 4AD owner Ivo Watts-Russel includes contributions from members of the Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance, Colourbox, Cindytalk, Wolfgang Press, Modern English and Xmal Deutschland. Lisa Gerrardperforms the song "Waves Become Wings" and plays the looped accordion on "Barramundi". Brendan Perry joins Lisa on the song "Dreams Made Flesh".
½ 1987: Lonely is an Eyesore
a 4AD compilation of various artists, including Cocteau Twins, Wolfgang Press, This Mortal Coil, Throwing Muses, Clan of Xymox and Dead Can Dance. DCD play a version of "Frontier" from their first album and "The Protagonist" previously unreleased. "[DCD's music] ignores fashion, reaches out for historical touchstones, searches for some nebulous, non-aligned spirituality... They pursue the big question with a discipline of thought and attention to detail in composition, and the result is usually something statuesque and solid enough to withstand the ravages of time. This is music built to last."
From the album cover of Lonely is an Eyesore, Arthur Parker
1992: Sahara Blue, by Hector Zazou
a compilation of world music, based on Arthur Rimbaud's poems, produced and arranged by Hector Zazou, featuring, among others: Lisa Gerrard, Brendan Perry, David Sylvian, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Khaled, Gérard Depardieu, Anneli Drecker...
Lisa and Brendan perform 2 songs on the album: "Youth", and "Black Stream".
The motion picture soundtrack of Baraka includes the song "The Host of Seraphim" by Dead Can Dance.
½ 1997: Karma, by Delerium
This project by Front Line Assembly's Bill Leeb and Rhys Fulber gathers a strong "front line" of female vocalists: Sarah McLachlan, Camille Henderson, Rose Chronicles Kristy Thirsk, and Lisa Gerrard's vocal samples taken from "The Persian Love Song". Music excerpts from Dead Can Dance's "Desert Song" are also sampled on this album.
1998: Lights in the Dark, by Hector Zazou
A mélange of Celtic, World, and Ambient music produced by Hector Zazou, featuring, among others: Brendan Perry, Peter Gabriel, Ryuichi Sakamoto...
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