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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.
3 people found this helpful
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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.
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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.
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on 24 May 2017
It has taken me a while to get around to buying this, purely because I liked the first track. The rest not grows on you.
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on 21 September 2013
This live album proves that, out of the studio, Dead Can Dance are still awesome. Put it on, turn down the lights and enjoy. This is the sort of Album that has you reaching for HiFi catalogues so you can experience every nuance.
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on 27 June 2016
body and soul experience,journey across the world through music and seller is best
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on 3 April 2016
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on 17 December 2016
One of DCD's finest release!
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on 20 March 2014
It is one of those albums you either hate or love. Like most loves, at first it was just an infatuation, but slowly it grows into something more lasting and viable
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on 2 December 2015
Great album, moody and melodic
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