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Dead Can Dance - Toward The Within CD (album) cover

TOWARD THE WITHIN

Dead Can Dance

 

Prog Folk

3.60 | 39 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars 3.5 stars really!!!

With some of the more atmospheric or ambient groups, such as DCD, I always wonder how they manage to translate the music laid down on wax and build it into a concert hall. How the audiences behave is one point, but mostly if the music is able to survive the process without suffering too much modifications or even re-adaptation. Just the fact of having to build a full group (DCD is only the singing duo and the few instruments they play), avoiding the tempatation of synthetizing meny instruments, such as drum machines. Nothing of the sort really and quite a pleasant surprise, from what remains an 80's group with all its flaws, even though wze are well into the next decade. So the group built around is apparently mostly of an Irish heritage (Brendan even hiring his brother), which might be a little bit just on the ethnic side, short of a certain "batardisation" of both genres of music they play.

Starting on a great video clip accompanying the recent Yalunga track and deploying their recent world music influence, I was worried that they would forget their previous works, but such is not the case. With Sybil and Cantara, not only are the medieval folk era well represented, but also it's particularly interesting to see how the two eras intertwine. Indeed, part of DCD's charms is how they mix the medieval folk and the world music, thus giving out a completely fabulous (as in fable, rather than great) sound that takes us in a fantasy XVIIIth century mid-eastern caravanserai worlds and harems, Lisa's dulcimer helping tremendously in providing the illusion. This meddling of two world is very credible because of the two author's origins: Perry being Gaelic and Lisa's Greek and Turkish heritage; so you just know it's natural.

There are few irritating tracks such as the openly commercial American Dreaming, which is a so-called trad Irish folk inspiration, but mostly written to break the North American market. Another slightly negative point, I find that Perry sometimes lacks credibility in the more ethnic moments, particularly on the djembe during the all-percussive passages. So DCD's translation of their music went almost entirely acoustic, rather than synthesized; and we can only applaud this choice, because many other ambient groups veering towards new age music would've played it safe.

Having only ever seen the VCR, I cannot comment oh any bonuses or manner to play the concert, but I suppose it's possible to watch the concert alone without having the fairly vacuous interviews and comments from the two DCD members, Lisa's parts being particularly empty of meaning. In the VCR version, the tracks are systematically separated by interview bits, thus not allowing enough concert ambiances and cutting any band instrument tuning. But nevermind this slight problem, DCD has managed to satisfy my curiosity as far as making their music in concert and in the process, did convince me that this entry is a valid one in our beloved Archives.

MUSE - Origin Of Symmetry

Sean Trane | 3/5 |

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