|Reviews & Recommendations
|"The way I sing is not new. It's a language invented
within music inherently, and the words mean more than I can say in
-- Lisa Gerrard
Through sacrifice we understand our birthright;
the ability to love absolutely."
- Lisa Gerrard
"As co-leader of Dead Can Dance, Lisa Gerrard has spent the last decade or so creating a unique form of music that is both spiritual and often highly dramatic. Though she employs elements from medieval chant, Middle Eastern mood music, Eastern European folk, and pre-Baroque music, the result somehow seems to make perfect sense. There is something powerful and elemental about each of these forms, and Gerrard uses them to produce a composite that transcends the limitations of time and space."
- Bob Remstein, LA Village View, 1985
¾ 1995: The Mirror Pool:
"As always, Gerrard's ace in the hole is her stunning voice, a rich, brooding contralto with which she invokes what seem to be the lost commandments of ancient gods... For fans of Dead Can Dance, The Mirror Pool is a must. Those who like dark soundtrack music or chant recordings will also find it fascinating."
-- Bob Remstein, LA Village View
"'The Mirror Pool' is a phonetic opera - there is no other word to describe what this album sounds like. Very much like Vas, Lisa does not speak or sing with words, but rather forms her own phonetic sounds - a match between keening, gurgling, and speaking-in-tongues, all resulting in a fascinating new language all its own. (...) This album can be also described as a blend between classical opera and gothic hymns. This is most visible in the opening track Violina, and especially on the stunning Sanvean..."
½ 1998: Duality, collab with Pieter Bourke:
"... Aided by longtime percussionist Pieter Bourke, the Dead Can Dance mainstay swoops kingfisher low one minute and soars kestrel high the next, from an aerie of gothic keyboards and tribal drums. It's a sophisticated, visceral sound not found in any Top 40 cage, or in the field guide. - Rating: A"
-- Entertainment Weekly (5/15/98, p.102)
"Dead Can Dance's Gerrard's exquisite Duality new album may expand audience for challenging, idiosyncratic vocalist and her partner. When Lisa Gerrard sings, it seems impossible that a voice so unearthly could belong to a human being. Hers is the voice of an opera singer, at the least; the voice of a siren, if we're going to wax lyrical about it."
-- Beth Winegarner, Addicted to Noise, 4/98
¼ 2003: Immortal Memory, collab with Patrick Cassidy:
Tracklisting: 1-The Song of Amergin 2-Marantha 3-Amergin's Invocation 4-Elegy 5-Sailing to Byzantium 6-Abwoon (Our Father) 7-Immortal Memory 8-Paradise Lost 9-I asked for Love 10-Psalitt In Aure Dei
"(...) As with the best of her work with Dead Can Dance, Gerrard draws on a rich variety of music and, by employing the languages of Gaelic, Latin and Aramaic, endows the music with an other-worldly, almost dream-like quality. There is also a strong spiritual dimension to the pieces, not just in the literal use of The Lords Prayer on Abwoon, for instance, but in the sense of stillness and space on tracks such as Epic and Sailing To Byzantium, which draws on the WB Yeats poem of the same name. Cassidys contribution is also considerable, his high-register rendition of The Lord's Prayer on Abwoon, in Christs own tongue, Aramaic, is especially powerful, as is his own composition, Psallit In Aure Dei, that closes the album. Admirers of the Clannad / Enya school of breathy, ethereal Celtic pop may find a tangential connection to Immortal Memory but, in truth, thats rather like comparing Andrew Lloyd Webber with Mozart or Blue with The Beatles. This is music that effortlessly transcends musical boundaries, occupying a cultural hinterland that is neither sacred music or pop but a rather strange and beautiful hybrid of the two. Although in the richness of the musical tapestries she now weaves, Gerrard has moved far beyond the Gothic visions and sensibility of the early Dead Can Dance recordings, there is still something dark, dense and slightly imposing about the music on this album."
-- Simon Evans, musicOMH.com, 1/04
¾ 2006: The Silver Tree
Tracklisting: 1. In Exile 2. Shadow Hunter 3. Come Tenderness 4. The Sea Whisperer 5. Mirror Medusa 6. Space Weaver 7. Abwoon 8. Serinity 9. Towards The Tower 10. Wandering Star 11. Sword Of The Samurai 12. Devotion 13. The Valley Of The Moon
" It's been over ten years since Ms. Gerrard has released an actual solo album and in that time, she has become a highly sought-after commodity in the world of cinematic music. I hate to say it, but the line between Lisa Gerrard the artist and Lisa Gerrard the studio composer has been irretrievably blurred if not obliterated outright. While her solo debut, 'The Mirror Pool' showcased the work she was unable for some reason to put on any Dead Can Dance release, "The Silver Tree" is an amalgam of all the styles she is known more in the world of film for rather than what her talented work away from the screen comprises. Oh no, you scoff, what about the song Space Weaver - she's never done anything like that! If you listen to the 'Ali' soundtrack, you will hear she has, and that's one of the things which is so depressing about where she's at as an artist these days. There isn't one song on here that would not fit perfectly onto a film score. She's gotten too adept at aiming for the screen instead of for the listener's heart strings, as she once did..."
-- Peter Marks, ReleaseMagazine.net, 12/06
2007: Best of
Tracklisting: 01. Wheat 02. Elysium 03. Sacrifice 04. Adriadne 05. Sanvean-Live 06. Host Of Seraphim 07. Cantara 08. Swans 09. Promised Womb 10. Yulunga 11. Indus 12. Persephone 13. Go Forward 14. See The Sun 15. Now We Are Free
Features a total of 15 tracks taken from Lisa's solo releases for the 4AD label as well as cuts from Dead Can Dance.
Release date: Feb 20, 2007
2009: The Black Opal
Tracklisting: 01 Red horizon 02 The messenger 03 Tell it from the mountain 04 In search of lost innocence 05 The crossing 06 Redemption 07 The serpent the dove 08 Black forest 09 All along the watchtower 10 Solace 11 The maharaja 12 Sleep
Includes collaborations with Michael Edwards, Patrick Cassidy, Pieter Bourke and James Orr
"No light reflects in the colour black. The black opal is the lightless stone though all colours are conjoined in it. Likewise the pupil of an eye behind this specific one the world of Lisa Gerrard is to discover; a quiet, elegiac sphere of almost sacred devotion. (...) The beginning of the album spreads out a gloomy, dramatic landscape; the voice floats plaintive, spectral and operatic in its own subtle style above it. The lyrics of The Messenger arent to understand in a common way, their nature of message is beside the musical tune intuitive, emotional and abstract; to understand their sense the accustomed schemes have to be switched off. A minimalist piano accentuates playfully while the vocal pulsates inside of an indeterminate ethnic space. This expands and becomes with Tell It From The Mountain polyphonic, the rhythm more driving till the room opens and gives place for a fusion with poppy stylistic device. (...) Redemption starts as a polyphonic opus and encounters the previous world of Levant with the sounds of the occident by creating a clerical meditation inside of an imaginary medieval monastery. This is the longest track of the album with an extraordinary range of vocal transposition over several octaves and leads to the atmosphere reminding the tragical last act of a dramatic opera. The Serpent & The Dove surprises through its narrative character. In this song a tale is told in English which seduces beside the acoustical aspects to listen to the Celtic storyteller, who is accompanied by string and plucked instruments. The following tracks except Solace use the English, too, whereby Lisa seems to put her usually free forming singing under the discipline of an ordinary language. These songs are less spherical but more real; slow motion jewels of entertaining song-writing."
-- Andreas Torneberg, stalker.cd, 12/09
¾ 2010: Departum collab with Marcello De Francisci:
Tracklisting: 1 Ex Nihilo - "Out Of Nothingness" 2 In The Beginning Was The Word 3 Hymns Of A Promised Land 4 Hidden Garden 5 Diary For The Fallen 6 Renunciation 7 Himalaya 8 Departum 9 Mayas Dream 10 To Those Who Seek Forgiveness 11 All Things Impermanent 12 River Dance 13 Cor Nobilis - The Gentle Ones 14 Addagio For A Broken Promise 15 Sacred Journey 16 The Secret Language Of Angels 17 A Kingdom Now Forgotten 18 The Lost Star Of Menelik (Bonus Track) 19 Let The Children Play (Bonus Track)
I have mixed feelings about the new album. On the one hand, we have some new material to listen to, which is great news. On the other, it's not exactly what I expected. It has very much the same feeling as the 'Balibo' soundtrack, which I expected of the cooperation with Marcello De Francisci. It has plenty of keyboard soundscapes and guitar that I liked about the 'Balibo'. It also has some very percusive pieces which get tiring after a while. What I really like about it is that Lisa came back to Yang Chin (i.e. Hidden Garden). I just love the sound of it! Undoubtedly strong vocal parts are highlights of the album (River Dance). Also subtle parts of both electric and acoustic guitar sound good to me. Especially the electric one is composed into the mix very well - it's not to "pushy", rather restricted and well controlled but also it doesn't get lost in the background. However there also a couple of things that hurt my ear. First of all, the autotuning. It's just hideous! Who, in the name of all Gods, got that idea? Why would anyone mess with such a beautiful vocal with cheap electronic tricks? This kind of sound engineering is supposed to be designed for show-a-piece-of-naked-body-one-season-starlets to hide flaws in their vocals, not for the artists of Lisa's magnitude! She can shape her vocals better than any dsp available, so why wouldn't she? I just don't get it... The other thing is the "orchestration" of some of the pieces. The keyboard part of 'Departum' shows what I'm on about. Especially the final part - it just goes mwaaah-mwaaah-mwoooh-mwoooh (sorry I can't describe it better) forever. For me it's just dull... But maybe I have to big expectations after hauntingly beautiful soundscapes of 'Whale Rider' and 'Come Quietly' and bold and progressive arrangements of 'The Silver Tree' and 'Black Opal'. But I know Lisa can do better and I'm under impression that collaboration with Mr De Francisci doesn't serve her well.
-- Zathras, forum.lisagerrard.com, 7/10
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 Gerrard performs 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 Xymoxand 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".
Karma, by Delerium:
Tempest and Sacrifice are versions of songs that appeared on the first LG/PB collaboration album "Duality". The 8 other LG/PB tracks are mainly instrumentals with occasional singing on The Silencer and Meltdown. Mostly short tracks expressing emotional moments of the movie. Classy as expected...
All other tracks on the Soundtrack album - including the Massive Attack mix - blend perfectly with the ethereal atmosphere created by the Gerrard/Bourke production.
2000: The Gladiator (Soundtrack)
Produced with Hans Zimmer.
"A great soundtrack to a wonderful film. Unusual to combine the work of two composers but it works perfectly on this soundtrack. Zimmer handles the pomp and ceremony, the battles and the ceremonial. Grand epic classical music befitting the scenes in the movie. However it is Gerrard's beautiful and stunning blend of world music, operatic themes and ethereal moods that really wins the listener over. Her work accompanies the more thought provoking and emotional moments in the movie and is perfectly placed."
-- Scott Pack, Windsor, UK. via amazon.com
2001: Ali (Soundtrack)
Lisa Gerrard and Pieter Bourke contribute one song to Ali's soundtrack: See the Sun.
2003: WhaleRider (Soundtrack)
Tracklisting: 1-Paikea Legend 2-Rejection 3-Ancestors 4-Pai Calls The Whales 5-Disappointed 6-Pai Theme 7-Empty Water 8-Go Forward 9-Journey Away 10-Biking Home 11- Suitcase 12-Reiputa 13-They Came to Die 14-Paikea's Whale 15-Waka in the Sky
"Those hoping for another glimpse into ecstasy through Gerrard's magnificent voice will be disappointed. This score to the New Zealand-set film relies more on texture and mood, with Gerrard's voice planted in a slowly undulating drift of synthesizers and sustained guitar lines. It's not until Biking Home that you might even recognize Gerrard's voice in this quietly joyful mood piece. She only gives herself full, if understated, voice on the symphonic closing track, Go Forward which echoes Gladiator's Now We Are Free, but with Maori chanting. Though there is some compelling music on Whale Rider, much of it sounds bereft without the accompanying images"
-- John Diliberto, amazon.com
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