Stegzy's Music Project

A commentary on Stegzy's album collection

Hidden Treasures – Dead Can Dance [#584]

UnknownThe problem with bootleg albums is that they become addictive. Especially when the band has been around for ages and you’ve come to them late. Following my introduction to Dead Can Dance in the autumn of 1993, I had already collected the majority of their albums on CD by the time the Great Music Download Free For All hit the UK in the mid-noughties. So I would often spend hours late at night scouring the alt.sounds.gothic.mp3 newsgroups looking for new and rare Dead Can Dance material that I was, perhaps, unfamiliar with.

Hidden Treasures is one such catch. Released in 1994, possibly recorded in Italy though some sources differ, the “Unofficial” album has live performances of tracks stretching back through from the band’s Towards the Within stage of life but also features a collection of tracks from much earlier. Thing is, as with all live bootleg recordings, some of the songs are much different than their studio recordings which, I suppose adds to their appeal amongst fans.

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Gothic Spleens – Dead Can Dance [#544]

UnknownAs we finally come out of the (reduced) gothic compilation portion of the project, we see the peaks of “Greatest Hits” ahead of us but until then there are a few more albums we need to visit.

Gothic Spleens is another bootleg album for Neoclassical/Goth group Dead Can Dance. Recorded from a live radio broadcast from Hamburg’s  Musikhalle in 1990. It has a similar track listing to Golden Age but certainly doesn’t disappoint. Even if we’ve heard it all before.

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Golden Age – Dead Can Dance [#536]

goldenagegifMore neoclassical caterwauling from Brendan Perry with added woeful wailing from Lisa Gerrard in this compilation of bootlegged performances from across Dead Can Dance’s “Golden Age”.

I think the compiler chose anything prior to the world music influenced Into the Labyrinth as the band’s “golden age” to select songs from. Of course, they may have compiled it before that album was released. Who knows?

Tracks listed include In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated, Oman, Toward the Within and my favourite, Rakim amongst others. All lovingly performed by the gang in Paris 1988 and Hamburg in 1990.

 

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Gladiator: More Music from the Motion Picture – Lisa Gerrard & Hans Zimmer [#525]

Gladiatorsoundtrack2Lisa Gerrard lends her voice to another Zimmer soundtrack. Honestly, if it wasn’t for her work with Dead Can Dance I’d probably have given up on Ms Gerrard’s caterwauling, although maybe that is a little harsh.

In case you’ve been living in a cellar for the past sixteen years, Gladiator is a film about a Roman general (Russell Crowe) reduced into slavery, seeking revenge on the guy  (Joaquin Phoenix) who murdered his father (Richard Harris). I’ve only seen Gladiator once, and to be quite honest, I was a bit underwhelmed by it. I suppose this was because, at the time, my head was buzzing still from the story of Spartacus and I felt that the Spartacus story would have been a better choice to make into a movie (again).

The movie was a box office smash (just check out the rather lengthy Wikipedia page) and the soundtrack won awards and brought Gerrard’s voice to the masses. So much so, the Original Soundtrack spawned today’s entry, which didn’t sell as many copies. Indeed, Gladiator: More Music reeks so much of over-milked cash cow, I’m surprised heaps of unsellable follow up merchandise such as Gladiator cook books and Build your own Forum kits didn’t pollute the shops.

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Filigree & Shadow – This Mortal Coil [#468]

FiligreeandshadowClassic goth moonings brought to the listener by Ivo Watts-Russell’s 4AD label and their rag tag bunch of artists brought together under one banner.

Filigree is TMC’s second offering. Like other TMC offerings, the personnel making up the band are picked from a variety of 4AD artists such as Dead Can Dance (Peter Ulrich) and Cocteau Twins (Simon Raymonde) but while not as popular, well known or groundbreaking as the first, It’ll End in Tears, Filigree does hold its weight with some interesting interpretations of obscurely excellent songs. Originally released as a double album with each side an aural blend, the masterful production was lost on release in CD format and moreso in digital file.

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Farscape – Klaus Schultz & Lisa Gerrard [#461]

Unknown-2Klaus and Lisa’s first get together.

As I go through my music collection I still find it remarkable how there is a lot of cross over, coincidence and collaboration amongst the artists therein.

Farscape is over two hours of Klaus’ sustained chord changes backed by Lisa’s improvised wailing which is fun if you’re a severe Dead Can Dance fan or you like a bit of wailing with your electronica.

Trufax: I downloaded this in error because I thought I was getting the Farscape soundtrack. Durr.

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Eye of the Hunter – Brendan Perry [#446]

Eye of the HunterHi there! Steelrattus again, on day 8 of his 10 day guest stint.

I’m not familiar with Brendan Perry, but I am familiar with Dead Can Dance, a band he formed with Lisa Gerrard in 1981, when he was 22. Perry has followed what seems to be the roots of most musicians, that is starting in one genre, and moving to a completely different one. In his case he formed a punk rock band in 1979, before forming the markedly different Dead Can Dance. Dead Can Dance split up in 1998, which is a year before his solo effort Eye of the Hunter was released, although they did reform twice subsequently.

After listening to Eye of the Hunter I would have filed it under alternative 90s Americana. I got the date vaguely right (1999), but Perry’s a Brit – not to say of course he can’t write songs in the genre, although Wikipedia describes it as folk rock, dream pop (?!). The album title comes from a lyric in the second track, Voyage of Bran. The fourth track, Sloth, has featured on a Dead Can Dance compilation album, curiously. The fifth track, I Must Have Been Blind, is a cover of the 1970 Tim Buckley song.

I liked the album in a 3/5 way. Not exactly my favourite genre, and it got rather repetitive for me. As always, YMMV.

Here’s the opening track, Saturday’s Child…

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European Tour 2005 – Dead Can Dance [#435]

Screen Shot 2015-10-24 at 12.51.27In 2005 an announcement was made to the effect that Dead Can Dance would tour again after several years of hiatus. Tickets for the few gigs that were to be played in the UK sold out like hot cakes.

I was unable to go.

What followed was months of people I knew saying how they were looking forward to going to the gig, followed by years of the same people saying how mind blowing the gig was. Yet all I have to remember the experience I never had is this “bootleg” featuring highlights of Dead Can Dance’s European tour in 2005.

Occasionally I listen to it from afar while sitting in an uncomfortable seat for full effect.

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Dziekuje Bardzo – Klaus Schulze & Lisa Gerrard [#405]

Dziekuje_BardzoIf you’re a regular reader, you might remember when Klaus first appeared on the music project with Peter Namlook in Dark Side of the Mooand how disappointing that album turned out to be. We now meet Klaus working with former Dead Can Dance stalwart Lisa Gerrard in what turns out to be their third collaboration.

Listening to Dziekuje Bardzo is sometimes like listening to a futuristic Dead Can Dance without Brendan Perry, a bit like listening to Lisa Gerrard’s solo work without Klaus Schulze (Does that make sense?) and sometimes like listening to some god awful German electronic bollocks created by an egotistical electronic musician who can’t accept that their music is tosh and are misguided enough to continue under the premise of “occasional good bits”.

Still if Lisa Gerrard like his music who am I to judge?

 

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Duality – Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke [#399]

Duality_Lisa_GerrardSomeone spoiled my enjoyment of Dead can Dance’s Lisa Gerard’s solo work. Simply, they told me to listen to her music and imagine her singing while pointing at something really disgusting. Like a plate with a dog poo covered fork, or perhaps a bowl of green olives, or that video on social media of someone having something fished out of their ear.

Yeah, that did it.

This is Gerrard’s second  album without Brendan Perry, her first being the Mirror Pool, and is a collaboration with occasional DCD session musician Pieter Bourke.

As a result the DCD sound is almost there. It’s not entirely there but it is almost. It’s like a cup of coffee that’s almost coffee but turns out to be something like coffee substitute. It does, however, feature some interesting tracks that featured in the film The Insider.

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Dead Can Dance (1981 – 1998) – Dead Can Dance [#348]

Dead_Can_Dance_(1981-1998)A four volume compilation of various works by the band Dead Can Dance.

Being a bit of a DCD nerd, I couldn’t turn my nose up at this. Sure I have most of the tracks already on other albums but there are some tracks on here that aren’t available on conventional releases.

Radio recordings and rare songs appear here along with the foetal essence of some well known DCD songs. It also came with a DVD of the live Toward the Within concert which will appear here on the music project in a few years time.

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Dead Can Dance – Dead Can Dance [#347]

Dead_Can_Dance_albumIf you’ve been following this project closely you’ll remember that I embarked on my musical journey via the dark forests of goth back in the drug fuelled 90s.

You might also recall how because of a gothic party held by Fields of Nephilim Cassette giver Chris, I went out and bought Dead Can Dance’s Aion. What you might not know is that this particular album was the cement in my goth music extension.

Dead Can Dance is Dead Can Dance’s first studio album. As first albums go, it’s marginally different from the style that they would adopt in later albums but the early shoots of their style can be detected in the last 5 or 6 tracks on the album.

On first listen I remember feeling suitably lacklustre and gloomy yet also quite pleased with my purchase. The pathways to darkness were beginning to open for me and the strange mumbling and incoherent lyrics surely meant something profound or at least mystical.

Then came the internet and with it lyric sites while at the same time, audio technology improved and so did the clarity through speakers as better systems were afforded. The mysticism of the mumbled incoherence disappeared and left wise observations and thought provoking words in its place. It remains a good album, but probably not a good place to start listening to Dead Can Dance unless you’re open to dramatic shifts in style.

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Album #69 – Anastasis – Dead Can Dance

Screen Shot 2014-06-06 at 16.55.31 Anastasis – Dead Can Dance

We, so Brendan Perry sings, are the children of the sun in the first track on this long awaited album. Anastasis comes 16 years after the last DCD album, Spirit Chaser.  With majestic tones abound, this is typical DCD fodder.

Had I continued the Music Project last year, this album would not have featured, because, despite the embargo on new music until the project has finished, I couldn’t resist when it was on offer on Amazon. I treated myself during the hiatus.

I really like this album. If I was still 23 and living in my crumby bedsit playing computer games all day long, I’d more than likely have played it over and over again had it been released then of course.

Theres something about DCD. Something naughty. I don’t mean boobies naughty. I mean…hooded monk/candles/pentagrams naughty. To me it’s like I’m invoking long forgotten entities from some dark sexy place populated by leather catsuit clad comedy inflatable breasted succubi doing dances like that silhouetted woman on the opening titles of Tales from the Unexpected.

Probably why I like it.

 

 

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Album # 59 – Aion – Dead Can Dance

220px-Dead_Can_Dance-Aion_(album_cover) Aion – Dead Can Dance

Take one bag of illegal herbal substance.

Add several goths.

Stir with plenty of velvet.

Stew for the duration of the album and you will experience neoclassicalist dark wave at its full.

This was the first DCD album I ever bought following a night at a very wild goth filled party in Liverpool during the 1990s.

Do you know that album people always say changed their lives? Well this is the one for me. Everything musical I’ve bought or downloaded since I heard this album is a direct result of having listened to this album.

Short of wearing black, moping about and smelling of pachulia; listening to Aion is an experience. You’ve more than likely heard most of the tracks anyway on documentaries or in trailers for films involving some sort of  mediaeval jiggery pokery.    Tracks that stand out include Fortune Present Gifts Not According to the Book, Saltarello and Black Sun.

Much like Blood Axis’ Absinthe, this album has accompanied me on trips into somnambulistic realms following surgery or late night meditative chats with Shamen. But not with the added unease that Absinthe brings. Aion is one of those Guardian reader type “Coffee Table” albums like Buena Vista Social Club

So much so, if you want to be a hipster, get this, then tell everyone how dated it is once they too admit to owning a copy.

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Music Project–Album #44–A Thousand Roads–Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona

imageA Thousand Roads by Lisa Gerrard & Jeff Rona

A Thousand Roads is a film by Chris Eyre released in 2005. This is the soundtrack for it.

I’m very fond of soundtracks and there are many in my collection. Mostly they are of films that I have seen but this is one of 2 film soundtracks of films I’ve not seen.

I’m also very fond of Lisa Gerrard’s music including Dead Can Dance (but more about them in a later post).

So there’s two things: Lisa Gerrard and Soundtracks. What more could I want? Well there is a third thing. World music. I first got into World Music as a teenager when I was taken on a school trip to see the Gamelan at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool. Initially I was resistant but an hour into the performance I began to recognise repetitions, subtleties and changes in rhythm which none of my classmates seemed to appreciate. On the back of that experience I embraced World Music and, over the years, have collected some interesting music (again, more of that in a later post).

A Thousand Roads is a lovely mix of etherical wailing, tribal chants and haunting synths. A rare treat for travellers and explorers of the musical soundscape.

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