Dead Can Dance


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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.

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