1 Sep 2019

ACT I : Sea Borne - Liberator of Minds - Dance of the Bacchantes




Multicultural, musical experiments from the 80's duo, Dead Can Dance, still going strong!

The binary chord system that underpins the harmonic, melodic, sonic and percussive variations is of note; both intriguing in its simplicity and interesting due to its typicality in DCD's music. Potentially influenced by Trance, Popular instrumental "dance music" and Minimalism, the listener experiences melodic/sonic repetition followed by melodic/sonic alteration and then repetition. At times sonorities, melodies or percussive emphasis acts as a spur to melodic change.  I love the enthusiasm and excitement that the piece exudes from start to finish and the percussive breaks are full of recorded sounds that allow for a Stockhausenesque meditative sequence of sounds. As the title suggests, dance is very much suggested by the wonderful percussive exchanges and the all-round exuberance of the piece.

At times the listener feels transported to the Amazon or another huge rain forest (I'm sure I heard Panpipes at one stage) that reminds me of parts of Pat Metheny's "Imaginary Day".  At other times I'm reminded of Eastern European folk music/singing, perhaps Bulgarian and, unquestionably, the rich string-sounds that develop into convoluted, Eastern melodies are evocative of romantic, Bollywood film-scores. In fact the global nature of DCD's artistic development is not only impressive, it is, at times breathtaking.  Lisa Gerrard's voice is blood-curdingly chilling, but quite brilliant and my only criticism is I don't hear enough of it in this piece. I'm also missing the Baroque influences that are often evident in this duo's music, but I'm sure they will return as prominent and refreshing as ever.

My favourite '80's band have always been the Cocteau twins who dumbfounded me with their aesthetic adventures. However, since their demise in the mid 90's, could Dead Can Dance become the most prominent Pop experimenters from that era? With their persuance of their fascinating aesthetic and their music's multifarious development, DCD's music may one day be seen as even more influential than the Cocteau Twins and the greatest band from that era. Who knows? Enjoy the journey!

Simon.


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