Jun 3, 2012

Sundaze 1223

Hello, as the brits prepare to celebrate their 'lizard' queen who after 60 years still seems reluctant to let go, I fully expect her to go for 75 years, after all she'd only be 100 by then and would have seen off most subjects alive at her crowning.  Looks like the weather won't play ball though, it's more like March this weekend, a dreary perspective for the party. Oh well the dead come back to dance here....

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Dead Can Dance (sometimes referred to as DCD) were an ambient, world music band which formed in Melbourne, Australia, in August 1981. Its mainstays were Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. The band relocated to London in May 1982 and disbanded in 1998, but reunited temporarily for a world tour in 2005. Their 1996 album Spiritchaser reached No. 1 on the Billboard Top World Music Albums Chart. Australian music historian Ian McFarlane described Dead Can Dance as having an ambient style of world music that "constructed soundscapes of mesmerising grandeur and solemn beauty... with African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chants, Middle Eastern mantras and art-rock".

Dead Can Dance formed in Melbourne, Australia, in August 1981 with Paul Erikson on bass guitar, Lisa Gerrard (ex-Microfilm) on vocals, Simon Monroe (Marching Girls) on drums and Brendan Perry on vocals and guitar. Gerrard and Perry were also a domestic couple and they left Erikson and Monroe in Australia when they moved to London in May 1982, where they signed with alternative rock label 4AD Records. With the duo, the initial United Kingdom line-up were James Pinker, Scott Rodger and Peter Ulrich. The group's debut album, Dead Can Dance, which appeared in February 1984, was produced by the band. The artwork, which depicts a ritual mask from New Guinea, "provide[s] a visual reinterpretation of the meaning of the name Dead Can Dance". The album "featured drum-driven, ambient guitar music with chanting, singing and howling".They followed with a four-track extended play, Garden of the Arcane Delights in August.which saw them plunging into a wider range of music and style, in fact it set them on their musical style.

For their second album, Spleen and Ideal, the group comprised the core duo of Gerrard and Perry with cello, trombones and tympani added in by session musicians. It appeared in November 1985 and was co-produced by the duo with John A. Rivers Raggett describes it as "a consciously medieval European sound ... like it was recorded in an immense cathedral". The group built a following in Europe, and this album reached No. 2 on the UK indie charts. By 1989, Gerrard and Perry had separated domestically – Gerrard returned to Australia and Perry moved to Ireland – but they still wrote, recorded and performed together as Dead Can Dance.

For the next two years, Dead Can Dance were relatively quiet, releasing only two new songs in 1986, both which appeared on the 4AD compilation Lonely Is an Eyesore. Within the Realm of a Dying Sun, the group's third album, appeared in 1986. In 1988, the band released their fourth album, The Serpent's Egg, and wrote the score for the Agustin Villarongas film El Nino de la Luna, which also featured Lisa Gerrard in her acting debut. Aion, Dead Can Dance's fifth album, was released in 1990. Also in 1990, the group toured America for the first time, earning rave reviews. The following year, the group was involved in various festivals and theatrical productions. In 1991, the compilation A Passage in Time was released on Rykodisc, making it the first American release of Dead Can Dance music. Early in 1993, the group provided the score to Baraka and contributed songs to Zazou's Sahara Blue.

Their sixth studio album, Into the Labyrinth, was issued in September 1993 and dispensed with guest musicians entirely; it sold 500,000 copies worldwide and appeared on the Billboard 200. It was a cult success throughout the U.S. and Europe, making them 4AD's highest selling act.They followed with a world tour in 1994 and recorded a live performance in California which was released as Toward the Within, with video versions on Laserdisc and VHS (later on DVD). Many unofficial bootlegs of concerts spanning their career exist, containing several rare songs that were only performed live. Toward the Within is the duo's only official live album. Gerrard released her debut solo recording, The Mirror Pool, and recombined with Perry for the Dead Can Dance studio album, Spiritchaser, in 1996.The album also charted on Billboard 200 and reached No. 1 on the Top World Music Albums Chart.

In 1998, Dead Can Dance planned a follow-up to Spiritchaser, but the band separated before it was realised. One song from the recording sessions, "The Lotus Eaters", was eventually released on the box set Dead Can Dance (1981-1998) and on the 2-disc compilation Wake (2003). Gerrard teamed with Pieter Bourke (Snog, Soma) to issue Duality in April 1998. Perry released Eye of the Hunter in October 1999. DCD reunited in 2005 and released limited-edition recordings of 13 shows from its European tour, and 8 recordings from the subsequent North American tour, as well as a compilation titled Selections from Europe 2005. These concerts were recorded and released on The Show record label.

On 28 March 2010, in an interview for Bulgaria’s Katehizis.com online music magazine, Perry revealed the possibility of a future Dead Can Dance reunion: "Yes, I’ve been talking about it with Lisa [Gerrard]. Maybe in the end of next year we’ll start work again. We’ve been talking about doing something like taking a small chamber orchestra – 10 or 15 people – and tour with them. And we have to write songs. We have to write new material – totally new – so the whole, entire set will be a new album. Then we’ll go into the studio after the tour, record, produce and release a record as well.

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With its two sides split between Perry and Gerrard's vocal efforts, Within the Realm of a Dying Sun serves as both a display for the ever more ambitious band and a chance for the two to individually demonstrate their awesome talents. Beginning with the portentous "Anywhere Out of the World," a piece that takes the deep atmospherics to a higher level with mysterious, chiming bells, simple but effective keyboard bass and a sense of vast space, the album finds Dead Can Dance on a steady roll. Once again a range of assistant musicians provide even more elegance and power to the band's work, with a chamber string quartet plus various performers on horns, woodwind, and percussion. Impressive though the remainder of the first side is, Gerrard's showcase on the second half is even more enveloping and arguably more successful. The martial combination of drums and horns that start "Dawn of the Iconoclast" call to mind everything from Wagner to Laibach, but Gerrard's unearthly alto, at its most compelling here, elevates it even higher. "Cantara" is no less impressive, a swirling, drum-heavy song that sounds equally inspired by gypsy dancing, classical orchestras and any number of Arab musical traditions.

Dead Can Dance - Within The Realm Of A Dying Sun (flac  248mb)

01 Anywhere Out Of The World 5:07
02 Windfall 3:30
03 In The Wake Of Adversity 4:14
04 Xavier 6:16
05 Dawn Of The Iconoclast 2:06
06 Cantara 5:58
07 Summoning Of The Muse 4:55
08 Persephone (The Gathering Of Flowers) 6:35

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Perry and Gerrard once again did the business with Aion. Its cover taken from Bosch, Aion's medievalism was worn more openly than ever before, with songs adapted from centuries-old material. The beautiful, entrancing "Saltarello," with lead performance by what sounds like an old wind instrument, comes from an Italian dance of the 14th century, while the mysterious moods of "The Song of the Sibyl" derive from 16th-century Catalonia. The group's command of not merely recording possibilities but of musical traditions, instruments, and more from around the world was arguably never stronger. Gerrard's vocals in particular have an even stronger, richer feeling than before, not merely able to command with its power but softly calm and seduce. Perry, meanwhile, is no less compelling, his ever-strong, wonderful voice perfectly suited to his choice of material. The standout track is "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book" with lyrics from a Spanish poet. The musical combination of softly plucked guitar and buried organ drone is striking enough, swathed in reverb, but when Perry steps in with his vocals, matched by more sparkling keyboards, the result is yet another high point for a band laden with them. Guest performers once again assist throughout.

Dead Can Dance - Aion (flac  214mb)

01 The Arrival And The Reunion 1:39
02 Saltarello 2:34
03 Mephisto 0:54
04 The Song Of The Sybil 3:46
05 Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book 6:04
06 As The Bell Rings The Maypole Spins 5:17
07 The End Of Words 2:06
08 Black Sun 4:57
09 Wilderness 1:24
10 The Promised Womb 3:24
11 The Garden Of Zephirus 1:19
12 Radharc 2:49

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 It all begins with yet another jaw-dropper from Gerrard, "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)," with keyboards and her octave-defying voice at such a deep, rich level that it sweeps all before it. Wordless as always but never without emotional heft, the song slowly slides into a slow but heavy percussion piece that sounds a bit like "Bird" from A Passage in Time, but with greater impact and memorability. As the album slowly unwinds over an hour's length, the two again create a series of often astounding numbers that sound like they should be millennia old, mixing and matching styles to create new fusions. Perhaps even more impressive is that everything was performed solely by Perry and Gerrard -- no outside guests here, and yet everything is as detailed, lush, and multifaceted as many of their past albums. New classics from the band appear almost track for track: Gerrard's a cappella work on "The Wind That Shakes the Barley," the gentle beauty of "Ariadne," the rhythmic drive and chants of the title song. The conclusion is a slightly surprising but quite successful cover -- "How Fortunate the Man With None," an adaptation of a classic Bertolt Brecht tune about the turn of fortune's wheel. Given a restrained arrangement and Perry's singing, it brings Labyrinth to a satisfying end.

Dead Can Dance - Into The Labyrinth (flac  383mb)

01 Yulunga (Spirit Dance) 6:56
02 The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove 6:17
03 The Wind That Shakes The Barley 2:52
04 The Carnival Is Over 5:26
05 Ariadne 1:56
06 Saldek 1:07
07 Towards The Within 7:10
08 Bird 5:03
09 Tell Me About The Forest (You Once Called Home) 5:44
10 The Spider's Stratagem 6:41
11 Spirit 4:58
12 Emmeleia 2:06
13 How Fortunate The Man With None 9:15

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I + Garden Of The Arcane Delights (EP) (84  116mb)
Spleen And Ideal (85  89mb)

Dead Can Dance - The Serpent's Egg (ogg 82mb)
Dead Can Dance - Spiritchaser (96  122mb)

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Anonymous said...

Has it really been over five years since the Dead last Danced? I would be very grateful if you could please re-up these Dead Can Dance classics, thank you!

Anonymous said...

Often omitted from Australian publications is that Brendan Perry was in the (Auckland, New Zealand) band The Suburban Reptiles prior to DCD. Now there's a classic punk band (and album)!