Transitional....but still had a pulse...
Mark C. | Seattle, WA United States | 09/04/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"after SPLEEN they should have brought in the defibulators. I was stunned by the first DCD-it had DRIVE and LIFE to it-the dead WERE dancing-dark, complex Middle-Eastern (ME) tinged arrangements, sincere, intelligent lyrics, Lisa's amazing vocalizations-and her marvelous playing of the chinese stringed instrument-which seemed to vanish after SPLEEN pretty much -all seemingly custom made music just for me-I felt that music had died until their emergence (I still wish I knew the lyrics to OCEAN)
After this CD, with a few exceptions they became 'dead on Valium'. Too much slow, ponderous deep and profound preaching stuff-or else they became the resident musicians of the Smithsonian-sadly-then the new agers discovered them. OMG. This surprised me- as most of them seem to love YANNI-like corn syrup music...well, at least it benefited them personally-they didnt have to worry about rent money each month.
For what its worth I have all of the SACD albums-but I always come back to #1 and SPLEEN. ARCANE DELIGHTS has 2-3 great pieces on it, also. I am rather annoyed or perplexed they made it separate-it was on the previous incarnation CD as bonus tracks-and is now priced higher than the other full-on CDs!
Now this (SPLEEN) has some great tracks and excepting the rather bombastic kettle drum song (name i dont remember) I was still quite happy having found them. BUT
When DYING SUN came out, I felt alienated-except for CANTARA-lovely. They had moved on-too far on.
This was a nice mix-and I am not one to say they should do the same album over and over-but think they should have taken a vacation from brooding symphonies Period/Ethnic dabbling the deeply profound, and made an album with drive and LIFE to it-similar to the style of #1-but they would have incorporated- in the "rock" vein with all their newfound wealth-and gained experiences. They were EXCELLENT MUSICIANS-that cannot be denied, Brendons deep, sage like voice, came across as a very thoughfull, intelligent man at what-25? their ability to master musical styles and play instruments is nothing short of amazing
And Lisa's letting loose when she did was divine-until she joined the 'Sisterhood of the Sacred' Some of it is beautiful, but lacked spark. Dont get me wrong I LOVE them both and feel something unameable-but the first album made an imprint on me that summer which will not go away. OCEAN. WILD IN THE WORDS. FORTUNE. Still stun me. How can they not in their sparse economy move anyone?
DCD, Garden, and Spleen-then it was world/new age symphonic profoundness. Little drive-no more dance;
And you can examine the worlds problems and how to live properly so many times before it gets boring.
Thus 'World' and 'New Age' music are not my cup of tea-for the Spirolina set.
I listen to a lot of AZAM ALI, whose music has drive, mysticism and lyrics that dont preach-(or inform us 17 different ways of the miseries and short comings of living on Earth--a little of that goes a long way)-but she tells us of her experiences in life-and still sings of the positive. If you like the latter DCD you should try her PORTALS OF GRACE-a very brave and difficult acheivment from a woman who could have simply gotten by on her looks and singing Middle Eastern pop. She also part of a band called NYAZ- which play largely traditional ME motifs, with a few accomedations for electronics.
This review is all over the map, but I am locked out of DCD #1 by a previous review
As Ive already noted-the world is a richer place given that they are in it."
Dark, deep music for the ultra-patient
mianfei | 09/08/2008
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Often acclaimed as their best album, 1985's "Spleen and Ideal" (the title coming from Charles Baudelaire) saw Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry develop one of the most enchanting and unique sounds ever to be put before the modern music world.
Though there are traces of the drum machines found on their debut, otherwise the instrumentation of "Spleen and Ideal" is entirely acoustic and horns have a prominent part, so much so that often "Spleen and Ideal" reminds one of funk slowed down to 10 beats per minute. The key thing is that this slowness, whilst it makes the music have little content at first listen, actually adds to the emotion and makes Brendan Perry's voice - which could easily be used for awful soul-pop in the vein of Joe Cocker - sound really passionate and so deeply melodic that it really hits your heart just as much Lisa's siren-like wail that actually is on "Mesmerism" very close to Liz Fraser.
The real gems that make "Spleen and Ideal" a remarkable album, however, are the first three tracks. "De Profundis" even features Andrew Hutton as Boy soprano and the incomprehensible yet twinkling vocals of Lisa Gerrard really cry despair. "Circumradiant Dawn" shows Lisa singing with even more passion, whilst the mainly instrumental "Ascension" features some of the most powerful, gut-wrenching, soulful horns you will ever hear.
After this, "Spleen and Ideal" become a little less inaccessible, but its slow, soulful passion remains a taste very difficult to acquire. Perry's beautiful voice on "The Cardinal Sin", "Enigma of the Absolute" and "Advent" perfectly matches the despairing lyrics he was to perfect on their next album Within the Realm of a Dying Sun. "Mesmerism" reminds one of another mystical masterpiece released a mere few months previously in Kate Bush's Hounds of Love but is more gorgeous and sensual than Bush ever was. "Advent" is as near to pop as Dead Can Dance were ever to be, but it is not easy to imagine the lyrics Perry sings on commercial radio.
"Avatar" makes for further Kate Bush comparisons with its joyful, mystical mood, but Lisa's voice is incredibly entrancing when you listen carefully and more upfront than on any other Dead Can Dance piece. Closer "Indoctrination (A Design for Living)" is really sedate, dark, yet totally danceable and really shows to great effect how people doom themselves to loss of freedom in its lyrics.
All in all, "Spleen and Ideal" can seem nothing on first listen but it is a truly beautiful and emotional work if you - unlike most listeners - manage to acquire a taste for it. Alternately despairing and ecstatically joyful, it was the true beginning of one of the most unique bands of at least the part forty years."
A great and transformative work (i put 2 stars merely, so th
Jonathan T. Scarpelli | 10/02/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"let me say that the other two 2-star reviews, while valid in their own right do not represent their opinion in a way i find to be helpful. They mention Spiritchaser and Aion as the "go-to" albums. while bnoth are great, i cannot accept that as a reasonable deduction here. I'm a long time fan of DCD and have devoured everything they've done.
i think a more pertinent explaination of where this album fits in the scope of what DCD is that it is a bridge between the way the band sounded originally and the experimental, ever changing style of the work that followed.
for someone to suggest that you, the prospective buyer, get 'spiritchaser' instead, is WAY misleading because, in my view, spiritchaser is one of their weaker albums... which is not to say that it IS weak.
the important thing is that DCD changes from album to album it's impossible to say that one album is more or less like what they "really" are. because really, DCD is not definable at all. i think true DDC fans would not be comfortable with defining their style or their personality.
the best one could do would be to simply say that in general their music is dark and spiritual and often utilizes old archaic forms and styles and instruments long with modern snythesizers and modern arrangements. Lisa gerrard mostly sings in a a non language... that is, syllables that have no specific meaning. Brendan Perry is a sort of crooner and generally sing in english. many times they are associated with world music or world fusion. One thing is for sure, they are the most serious musicians i've ever listened to and that is what makes them so unique. No music that i've heard has ever been so serious and so earnest in it's expression and that is what makes them so brilliant.
DCD started off being part of early goth music. bass, drums and guit were the basis for the first record. but this record strays from that and begins their journey into world and ancient music, bouncing from era to era, utilizing a huge variety of instruments to express themsleves in a very modern way. This album is a kind of jumping off point where the stylized goth rock vibe fromt heir first record comes head to head with their need to expand and experiement.
unfortunately they get associated with "new age music" which is totally unfair and really dumbs them down. They are completely unto themselves. yes, i'm a crazy DCD fan, but i'm telling you, this album is great, it's just not as accessible as Spiritchaser.