on 2 April 2000
One of the very best albums of 1994. It would be a pity to buy this merely as a retrospective of a now sadly defunct band airing their best-of numbers live. At the time it felt like a confident progression as well as a consolidation of the strands of their unique, idiosyncratic path and features plenty of new material. The sonic textures of their more adventurous work featuring massed percussion or medieval and 'world' instrumentation are perfectly integrated with the simpler folk-influenced melodic songs in the shape-shifting flow of the performance. It's well worth getting the video of the same name to soak up the full atmosphere. The production, dynamics and expression in tracks like 'Cantara' better the studio originals and are quite awesome. This came at a time when more studio or sample based artists seemed to be converging on territory furrowed by Dead Can Dance. Percussion and ethereal vocals with ethnic influences seemed to abound in the mid-nineties and The Future Sound Of London famously sampled Lisa Gerrard for their massive Papua New Guinea hit (check out such links on the London Labyrinth web site). Portishead managed the trick of following up their Dummy album by performing apparently studio-bound music live in the same year but DCD had peaked. Their London gig in 96 was cancelled, they made one more rather lack-lustre studio album before they drifted apart and never capitalised on the full potential offered here. Indulge yourself in this finely-detailed, fascinating, peculiar, wide-ranging and powerfully affecting music. Let it pick you up and sweep you away.
on 5 January 2005
Have you ever listened/heard something so beautiful in sound and feeling that it leaves you completely speechless and lost for words as how to describe what your hearing? - THIS IS Dead Can Dance! You will NEVER hear anything like this from any other artist of this time period. They are unique in every aspect. There music cannot be categorised into any one genre due to their vast array of styles, including eastern/western, from medieval/renaissance to modern day sounds. There music takes you through your deepest thoughts whilst simultaneously out of your mind to different places beyond this existence. This may, to some people, sound tacky. BUT this is exactly how i feel about this group and their music.
If you're a fan of Dead Can Dance then this is a must have album. For a start, MOST of the songs on this album including the fantastic opener 'Rakim' are only featured for live performance and are NOT renditions of previous studio recordings. However, there are a couple such as 'Yulunga (Sprirt Dance)', 'The Song of the Sibyl', 'Cantara' and 'The Wind that Shakes the Barley' which do more than justice to their studio counterparts, with both Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard living up to, if not surpassing their studio performances. They are one the best (if not the best) live groups i have listened to.
If you've never heard of Dead Can Dance or their music, then this is a great starting album (although to be honest all of their albums are fantastic!). This album along 'Aion' were the first two albums i heard, forever making me a fan of this amazing group.
Dead Can Dance are a very recent musical discovery for me.
Given that they have been making music since 1981 I can
only think that late is sometimes definitely better than never.
Their 1988 album 'The Serpent's Egg' was my first point of contact.
I was instantly bewitched.
Intelligent; other-worldly; challenging and alchemically refined,
this fine band of extraordinarily talented musicians straddled the
eighties and nineties in quiet, uncompromising splendour.
Their devotees are doubtless legion. I was utterly oblivious.
A lot of ground to make up then and I am looking forward to
every step of the journey. Some things really are that important.
'Toward The Within' was recorded live in November 1993
at a performance in The Mayfair Theatre, Santa Monica, California.
The atmosphere and intensity of the event is captured vividly
and affectionately by Mr Charbonneau and Mr Bouis.
Ms Gerrard and Mr Perry both possess remarkable voices;
cultured voices (in more than one sense) which have learned
and absorbed many vocal techniques and styles both in terms
of geography and musical history.
Ms Gerrard owns a rich, sultry, penetrating contralto voice.
This is a woman who really knows how to use both her diaphragm
and larynx to maximum effect.
A voice with the capacity to sooth, to excite, to terrify.
(She also deftly knows her way around a Yang Ch'in !!).
Mr Perry's dark brown, velvety, rock-solid baritone is the
terrestrial anchor to his compatriot's metaphysical intensity.
Alone and together they make the most beautiful noise.
From the hypnotic opening rhythms of 'Rakim' to the simple
lyrical beauty of closing track 'Don't Fade Away' the fifteen
compositions delivered here include some of the most uplifting,
moving and exultant music that it has ever been my privilege to hear.
'Song Of The Sybyl' is a haunting, quasi-medieval, lament which sent
shivers up and down my spine.
'The Wind That Shakes The Barley' and 'I Am Stretched Upon Your Grave'
expose the folk roots which run deep through their hearts and veins.
Alone or in context Ms Gerrard's rapturous performance of
penultimate track 'Sanvean', blissfully framed by Mr Claxton's
warmly enveloping keyboards, is nothing less than sublime.
Simply one of the most beautiful and rewarding albums I have ever heard.
Exquisite and Essential.
on 18 February 2002
Indeed this is a great album, much like the others, but well worth having. Dead Can Dance have the ability to take you to a higher plain of being (Track 14 especially)and the musical talant to bring it out time after time. This was the first album i heard and has had the greatest effect.
on 21 May 2008
This is a special, limited de-luxe edition. It is a STEREO, HYBRID SACD - in other words, it is not a multi-channel release but it CAN be played on a regular CD player and does NOT require special SACD hardware. The album has been re-mastered by Mobile Fidelity Sound Lab in the USA and these pressings are packaged in Japanese, mini-vinyl replicas of the original sleeves, including replicas of any inner sleeves, plus an additional booklet with lyrics.
on 12 September 2014
This live album is stunning. I find it hard listening to the studio albums after hearing the performances on this: they practically all outperform the recorded versions. There are so many magical pieces on this album - tracks such as Rakim, American Dreaming, Yulunga and Cantara (and Cantara is especially epic!) are all highly energetic and wonderful, while songs such as Don't Fade Away, Sanvean and I Am Stretched On Your Grave are more melancholic and pensive.
If you have never listened to Dead Can Dance before, an album like this would be a good place to start. There's a broad overview of many of their different styles (except I sense a lack of their medieval-sound outside of Song of the Sibyl, which is glorious). While I *think* I prefer their more recent live album - In Concert, this one is definitely worth buying.
You will not find any other artist which are like what Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry had (and more recently have) going. There is a hugely diverse and colourful mix of historic and ethnic influences, and one blog post I read summed it up quite well - "Gaelic folk, Gregorian chant, African polyrhythm, Mediaeval dirges and Middle Eastern flavourings".
Needless to say, both Gerrard's and Perry's performances are effectively flawless, and provide a nice contrast to each other; Lisa's vocals (she sings (mostly) in her own idioglossia) are often long, ethereal and beautiful, while Brendan's sound more grounded here on earth, as he sings in a wonderfully deep and hypnotic way.
For me, the two standout tracks on this record would be Cantara, as the forcefulness of Lisa's vocals go beyond the studio version's so much so that the track is almost unrecognisable in comparison; by the end of the performance you will be stunned, and Sanvean. This performance in particular of Sanvean is beyond anything I could describe with words. It literally leaves me frozen in my chair whenever I listen. It's sublime.
If you've never heard this group's music before, it may take a while to get in to; it did for me. However, it is SO worth the wait if you do, as the more you explore DCD's exciting discography, the more you find hidden gems and songs that just speak to you more on the second listen than they did on the first. Along with Loreena McKennitt and one or two others, DCD are my favourite artists in music.
on 4 June 2016
when we speak about spiritual ground this musci fits somehow and goes right in emotions: Lisa Gerrard is phenomenally good, but the problem is known as "Plane of Consciousness" so if we go from zero to six where are Dead Can Dance vibrating? I would say 2nd plane, t times third but pretend to be in the fifth! Difficult to explain but vibes are esential in our life stream, Beethoven was probably on the 6th, so was Piero Della Francesca in terms of art and creativity is not channelling anyway! I can go in the Paris undeground with this type of energy and find bones everywhere from the plague days, but having said that I thank Dead Can Dance because I made myself work with that type of energy in the past and learned a lot, I still isten to some tracks too but this is Lisa's voice:wow!
on 5 June 2015
Dead Can Dance are a unique band for so many different reasons and this album captures this perfectly. I was originally seeking a 'greatest songs' cd because I only have copies of their early albums on tape. Although this is a recording of a live performance, this totally captures the essence of DCD and includes renditions of all my favourite songs. I would go as far to say that the versions on this are better than the studio recordings. A wonderful album and a must for anyone wanting to explore the delights of DCD.
This was the pinnacle of Dead Can Dance's career (they were 4AD's biggest-selling act & Lisa Gerrard's popularity in the wake of 'Gladiator' confirms their appeal), they should have ended it here (both Gerrard & Perry's solo-offerings were more enjoyable than the forgettable DCD-album)...
This is a live album with a difference- much of it is new material. Of the older-tracks, 'Cantara' (from 'Within the Realm of a Dying Sun')and 'Song of the Sibyl' (from 'Aion')are perfect renditions. A live-album of previously released tracks would have made little sense!
The world-music elements of DCD are explored in the first four songs- opener 'Rakim' (nothing to do with Eric B., sadly!) presents a percussive-track with a Perry-vocal- towards its within, Gerrard's vocals come in and take-over. A fantastic interplay is evoked, leading to 'Persian Love Song'- an acapella performance by Gerrard (you can hear her drawing breath!). Her roots can be found in Turkish music, which this song references; it is also similar to a sample on David Sylvian's 'Maria'...'Desert Song', as 'Rakim', makes use of percussion and Gerrard's yang t'chin- the closest thing to this in rock-music is Jane's Addiction's 'Of Course'. 'Yulunga' is an archetypl world song, the vocals creating a trance- I guess it's the kind of song Madonna does Yoga too!
'Piece for Solo Flute'moves the set to an exploration of Irish music- Gerrard does 'The Wind That Shakes the Barley',while Perry does a brilliant-sinister 'I am Stretched On Your Grave'. Lyrically this is romantic-poetry, with a dash of Edgar Allen Poe's 'Annabel Lee'. The music feels classical and looms with portent and desperate yearning...The following medley of 'I Can See Now' & 'American Dreaming' showcase's a 12-string acoustic guitar solo-piece by Perry. Imagine Scott Walker unplugged and you're not far. The former is a conventional blues-style song, while the latter is an awesome ode to love- with some huge percussion and an 'Astral Weeks' feel...'Oman' forms a trilogy of earlier DCD-tracks, blending the gothic with eclectic sounds...Von Strassburg's 'Tristan' provides Gerrard with another solo-spot, which leads to 'Sanvean' (familiar from 'The Mirror Pool' released a few years later & an advert for a product that I can't recall)- which along with 'American Dreaming' provides reason enough to purchase this album...The encore/adieu is Perry's 'Don't Fade Away', another gorgeous acoustic song that sounds like Walker singing a Tim Buckley track from 'Happy/Sad'. The Perry tracks make me wonder why his solo album didn't blow my mind?...
This is a great performance, showcasing the myriad of sounds DCD explored; both this and 'A Passage in Time' would provide a perfect sample of their career (though you will probably want to buy the lot!). One word of warning, avoid the video of this concert. It is very boring to watch- they sit & stand & perform...And the interviews with Gerrard & Perry that form interludes with the tracks portray two people who may be great-artists but seem to be abscent of anything approaching a sense of humour!
An excellent live album.