November 06, 2001

Album Review

This multimedia box set celebrates the 17-year affiliation between Dead Can Dance and the alternative-friendly 4AD label. In addition to key album tracks, Dead Can Dance 1981-1998 contains a handful of previously unissued performances spread over three audio discs. Also included is a single-sided video DVD containing the Mark Magdison documentary Toward the Within, as well as six promotional music videos. Few pop music artists define themselves by virtue of reinvention. However, the mere existence of Dead Can Dance is firmly entrenched upon an evolutionary amalgam of the '80s noir industrial scene with sonic styles and patterns indelibly rooted in world music. Although augmented by various supporting musicians, at the creative and artistic center of Dead Can Dance has remained the team of Brendan Perry (guitar) and Lisa Gerrard (vocals). Possessing an uncanny combination of punk D.I.Y. mentality with an ethereal sense of instrumentation and delivery, the duo forged new boundaries ranging in style from European folk -- from the Middle Ages and Renaissance most specifically -- to very contemporary-sounding worldbeat. Their seven studio albums and Garden of the Arcane Delights EP are amply represented during the three-and-three-quarter-hour running time. These include tracks such as "The Song of the Seraphim," "The Carnival Is Over," "Sanvean," "American Dreaming," and "The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove" -- an initial college radio hit that became the group's entrée into alternative rock. Among the rarities is a complete John Peel session recorded on November 19, 1983, for broadcast by Peel nine days later. Two of the performances -- "Labour of Love" and "Orion" -- are previously unissued tunes. Other radio rarities include "Sloth" and "The Wind That Shakes the Barley" from Perry and Gerrard's August 10, 1993, appearance on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. The DVD is a dual-layer disc containing the 70-minute Toward the Within performance documentary as well as the promo videos for "The Carnival Is Over," "The Host of the Seraphim," "Yulunga (Spirit Dance)," "Frontier," and "The Protagonist." For both the casual enthusiast -- not looking to invest in every album -- as well as the completist, the sonic and visual breadth covered on this compendium go far beyond A Passage in Time -- the only other compilation featuring the insightful works of this tragically underrated band.
Lindsay Planer, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Frontier [Demo Version]
  2. Labour of Love [Radio Edit]
  3. Ocean [Radio Edit]
  4. Orion [Radio Edit]
  5. Threshold [Radio Edit]
  6. Carnival of Light [Radio Edit][#]
  7. In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated
  8. De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)
  9. Avatar
  10. Enigma of the Absolute
  11. Summoning of the Muse
  12. Anywhere Out of the World
  13. Windfall
  14. Cantara
  15. In the Kingdom of the Blind, the One-Eyed Are Kings
  16. Bird
  17. The Protagonish
  18. Severance
  19. The Host of Seraphim
  20. Song of Sophia
  21. The Arrival and the Reunion
  22. Black Sun
  23. The Promised Womb
  24. Saltarello
  25. The Song of the Sibyl
  26. Spirit
  27. Yulunga
  28. The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove
  29. Sloth [Radio Edit][#]
  30. Bylar
  31. The Carnival Is Over
  32. The Spider's Stratagem
  33. The Wind That Shakes the Barley [Radio Edit][#]
  34. How Fortunate the Man With None
  35. I Can See Now
  36. American Dreaming
  37. Tristan
  38. Sanvean
  39. Rakim
  40. Gloridean
  41. Don't Fade Away
  42. Nierika
  43. Song of the Nile
  44. Sambatiki
  45. Indus
  46. The Snake and the Moon [Edit]
  47. The Lotus Eaters [#]
  48. Toward the Within (A Mark Magidson Film)