Neo-hippy and alternative stoner sweethearts Dead Can Dance are finally back with their first new album in six years. I’m sure you won’t be surprised to learn that Dionysus is about reaching a state of trance, about spiritual journeys, about combining musical folk traditions from all across the world.
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Deluxe heavyweight transparent purple vinyl LP, accompanied by a CD and deluxe 16-page 12” x 12” hardback picture book with padded cover.
The strange thing is that I know what Dead Can Dance sound like without having knowingly heard a note of their music. So it seems to have seeped into my consciousness by some kind of osmosis. There again who sounds like Dead Can Dance. For the uninitiated it's dark percussion and dulcimer led music with scratchy ethnic sounding strings and samples over which Lisa Gerrard howls banshee-like vocals.
Their latest album is formed of two 'Acts' with one of the sub-titles 'Psychopomp' perfectly summing up their dramatic sweeping sound. The band uses instruments from across the folk tradition to produce spiritual music full of unusual 'world music' textures and oriental motifs. Of the two near 20 minute parts Act 1 is the more palatable drawing on their past use of deep percussive textures to build up big monoliths of sound which combine the electronic with the natural. On Liberator of Minds there's a two note gothy synth motif which is joined by enormous strings.
Act 2 begins with the sort of snake charmer type alto sax that could send you running for the hills but Brendan Perry's wordless vocals ground the track and the choral vocals with Lisa Gerrard is particularly impressive. They still straddle the line between 4AD style goth tones and dramatic world music textures pretty effectively. Not for the faint hearted this is music to shout from mountaintops.
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