Friday, 15 January 2016

Dead Can Dance "Aion" (1990)


Here's a fascinating record that was sent to me by a dear friend, I've had it on repeat often and have been looking forward to sharing this gem. Dead Can Dance are an Australian duo who formed in 1981 and have produced eight records under a myriad of musical styles and influences mostly from within the sounds that emerged from Post-Punk and Neoclassical. On this record we get a strong Medieval vibe that feels recreational and purist in spirit but lets a few modern musical ideas in to great effect. The records cover features a tiny snip-it from the Triptych "The Garden Of Earthly Delights" from the early Renaissance era.

In a truly recreation style the dramatic moments of this record follow the breath taking performances of Lisa Gerrard, who's vocals transform time and age with a stunningly powerful and spiritual performance that changes ones surroundings to the aged wood oak of church pews. You can feel the cold stone beneath your feet, the robes around ones body, the smell of candles drift by as we get a feeling of our ancestry through sublime Gregorian chants. Brendan Perry also gives enigmatic performances that are transforming as if from a man not of this time. Its truly remarkable and the backing vocalists that join them on a couple of tracks also give a spirited performance.

The record drifts between three types of song, some instrumentals composed though sounds of the era, vocally led numbers with minimal compliment, like an organ or bagpipes and songs that trip gently into modern ideas through the use of 4/4 drum beats. It's the use of rigid drum machines and sequenced electronic instruments that gives this record a point of interest. Not to tip the scale in either direction they are both recreational sounds and inventive elements. For example "Black Sun" has the most rigid and repetitive sounds looping from a sequencer and its atmosphere is less purist as a result, yet its also one of my favorites for its captivating atmosphere.

Its a mixed bag of nostalgic treats, all of which has been a joy to indulge in. Id like to hear more of this group, however it would appear that something different should be expected of each record in their discography, which in a way gives me more reasons to give them a chance considering the quality of this one. I'm left curious as to how often I'll get an inkling to return to this one.

Favorite Songs: The Song Of The Sibyl, Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book, Black Sun
Rating: 8/10

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