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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Goth Stuff – Various Artists [#542]

This is an unusual compilation, and it is one that guided my ears in the direction I took when exploring the genre. It’s an unofficial compilation and, like all good music, not available in the shops. More of a mix tape someone put out onto the wibbly wobbly web back in the nineties.

The first track is Hoquetus I-VII by an unknown composer and by the third track, a Saltarello  also by an unknown composer, it starts to become clear that the compiler is trying to take the listener through their interpretation of goth music through the ages. Soon we hear Minstrel Hall by Blackmore’s Night. Not exactly goth but dabbling with medievalism, nicely leading us into track two, 18th Century Gypsy Music by Bubak and Hungaricus. Layers of folk influences building up. By the time we reach midway point, we are already being tricked into believing that Ataraxia’s Canzona is a faithful reproduction of a old classical piece.

Of course it’s not. But by this time you don’t care. Further tracks of the acoustic, goth, medieval theme float past including Eld’s interpretation of Death in June’s Death of the West, songs by Ordo Equitum Solis and Eden  also don’t seem out of place. The cherry on the top being Bauhaus‘ King Volcano. 

I’m still fond of this compilation, even though, in all honesty, I am missing a number of tracks from  the original compilation. Moreover, this album also saw me eager to discover more about bands like Ordo Equitum Solis, Blackmore’s Night  and Eden. Bands I would never have heard of if it had not been for illegal downloads of music from unregulated sources.

Of course, like home taping before it, downloading music illegally was the death of music and we know today how empty our lives have become because  music was killed.

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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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Garden of Dilmun – Seventh Harmonic [#509]

garden-of-dilmun-1It seems almost as if there was an explosion of artists heavily influenced by Dead Can Dance and Ordo Equituum Solis. Seventh Harmonic are an all female band featuring Ann-Mari Thun of Arcana and Caroline Jago of Sol Invictus fame.

Seventh Harmonic’s Garden of Dilmun was sold to me through well placed adverts on social media and email bombardment promising me that the band were the next best thing since Dead Can Dance. It also came highly praised by a reviewer on music site Heathen Harvest. The samples I heard on Youtube did sound promising and, being a wannabe hipster, I parted with my cash and waited for the the album to arrive from abroad.  It arrived and sat, still in its shrink wrap, on my desk for a period of months and two house moves before being listened to on a particularly gloomy day when heading into Banbury.

And no, it’s nothing like Dead Can Dance. It’s dark, I’ll give it that. Aurally invoking mental images of cavernous halls and cathedrals bedecked with banners, filled with etherial mist, knights of yore twatting each other with swords and Vikings rowing across placid lakes to give a monastery a good old sacking. I like it a lot.

Unfortunately, in my recent years I’ve found that listening to music is a luxury afforded only on a Saturday afternoon or maybe when the wife is away if I can be arsed. And so, Garden of Dilmun became one of the last albums I bought in CD format. My existing music library groaning under the weight of the gigabytes that it is formed of and thus spawned the Music Project. It’s many year mission to listen to every album in it, at least once, thin out those albums that don’t appeal and celebrate those that bring joy.

 

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