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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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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Feast of Silence – Vas [#466]

440px-VAS_-_Feast_of_Silence_AlbumcoverBack in the days of the Download Free For All Fest of the early noughties, some fans of fringe bands tried to hoodwink fans of other more mainstream bands into thinking that their obscure shite was a long lost recordings of said mainstream band.

Such is the case with Vas who, during this time, someone thought it would be a wicked jape to pretend Vas was some forgotten rare recording of gothic misery meisters Dead Can Dance. Had me going for about an hour. But it’s easy to hear how similar both bands are stylistically. Like with Love is Colder Than Death, Vas hold their own in a unique Dead Can Dance meets Ordo Equituum Solis blend.

Like DCD, the band use ethereal vocals and a mix of modern and traditional instruments. Like OES, the band use pining lyrics and ethereal vocals. Like LCTD and DCD, Vas use World Music influences extensively. Indeed, Vas are one of those talented bands who, had they had the backing of a good media machine, might have made it into more people’s record collections. A true gem formed of Persian vocalist Azam Ali and American percussionist Greg Ellis. Feast of Silence is the bands last album and was released in 2004 before they gave up and did other things.

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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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Eclipse – Love is Colder than Death [#413]

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 20.05.46The problem with downloading music illegally is you are at the mercy of the person who uploads it in the first place. Moreover, you are also at risk of downloading something that isn’t what it says it is, facing the grim potential that the music you have just obtained has been tagged incorrectly.

And that is what happened to me when I came across Eclipse.

Back in the day, when the internet was young and free, the internet was a lot less commercial. People who had an interest in things would upload unfounded facts and files or post tiled pictures of dancing hamsters to self hosted pages without the desire or need to have it create fame or fortune. And so, at some point, a misguided person uploaded a compilation of Love is Colder Than Death tracks retagged as a long lost Dead Can Dance album.

Of course, with only the fledgling Wikipedia to hand and still a great deal of poor information on important matters like “Who did perform this track” available, I was hoodwinked into thinking that it was a complete change in direction for Dead Can Dance.

It wasn’t.

It wasn’t even Dead Can Dance. Eventually though, I managed to work out what the songs were by using a combination of lyric searches and Musicbrainz Picard, and this is the album that 70% of the songs came from.

Unfortunately, the isn’t much out on the internet about Love is Colder Than Death. They’re from Germany, they have a website [http://www.lictd.com], they have seven albums and they’ve been going since the nineties. Which might sound contradictory, but in the UK it has always been difficult to access European  originating non-mainstream art be it film, television, music or the like despite the Television Sans Frontiers or the Audiovisual Media Services directives, which is a shame because mainland Europe is a vast treasure trove of great stuff, though access to it is getting better.

As well as this, lyrically, they’re still a bit sparse on the internet in that their lyrics are difficult to come by, which is a problem because they’re often difficult to decipher or make out. For example, on the song Ideals and Pains  I still have no clue what it is he’s singing about. It’s the accent I suppose.

Anyway, it’s easy to see why someone might confuse the band for Dead Can Dance sans Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. Stylistically, this album is very similar to DCD’s Into the Labyrinth and it does feel like a natural progression. Unfortunately, because of the difficulties in obtaining preview copies (to see if I like their other stuff) and unwillingness to part with money in these cash strapped times just to find out I don’t like an album, this is the second of the only three LICTD albums I have and it is unlikely that I’ll dabble with any of their other albums. Especially with the likes of the Aural Apocalypse being off air these days….

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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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Atopos – Love is Colder Than Death [#104]

Atopos - Love is Colder Than Death Atopos by Love is Colder Than Death

Some time ago, somebody tried to trick me into thinking that Dead Can Dance had a new album and line up. I was given a CD with a load of songs on that sounded DCDish but actually turned out to be a collection of stuff by Love is Colder Than Death (LCTD) and some other band whose name escapes me.

Being a bit of a nerd I was able to actually find out that LCTD was one of the bands and that the majority of the recording was copied from this album.

It’s easy to hear how someone might get mistaken that this is DCD. All the elements are there. Middle Eastern and Asian influences, nonsensical chanting with some hard to decipher lyrics and the occasional use of uncommon instruments like hurdy gurdy and sackbuts.

If you’re a DCD fan then LCTD is one to give a go of.

 

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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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