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Dead Can Dance - Into The Labyrinth CD (album) cover


Dead Can Dance


Prog Folk

4.00 | 154 ratings

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Sean Trane
Special Collaborator
Prog Folk
3 stars After the resounding success of Aion and its medieval soul, DCD had released their first compilation which would become their first US release and focused on their recent works, but as one of their bonus tracks, Bird, hinted very strongly at world music. It was something they had dabbled a bit into with Serpent's Egg, but there was nothing to prepare us to this ethnic music metamorphosis, unless that Bird track would've whispered you the answer to your hear. One of the consequence of the disappearance of such medieval influences is that the music is much less acoustic, but not really all that electric either, but largely synthesized.

Out of the deep background, a long plaintive voice hesitating between Spanish lament, Arabian prayer and opera style slowly rises out of synth layers, before tabla drums definitely take over and the chants take on a definitive mid-Eastern slant over a jungle animals background and oboe. There is almost a new age feel to Yulunga, partly introduced by the jungle noises, but also the slow monotonous chants and mid-East slant of the music itself, but if all new age music was so eventful, I'd probably be a fan. The following few tracks only go on to confirm the ethnic direction of the album, with the exception of the short Wind That Shares Babies and Tell Me About The Forest, sounding Celtic and medieval respectively, such as Mr Lovegrove with its tabla and sitar hinting at India and Ariadne and Saluck hinting at Maghreb music. As the album moves on, you'll find more of the same hesitations between occidental and oriental realms.

Of a lesser interest to medieval prog folk freaks, although developing another of its facet (ethnic folk), this is exactly the kind of album that got purist of all kinds angry with DCD, and most musicologist would agree that Labyrinth is indeed a good exercise of "batardization" of several genres all meddled into one music as to allow uneducated masses to get into them; a bit like those Nights of The Proms do the same, but called vulgarisation for that cause. In either case, this Labyrinth album is still rather interesting for most into adventurous music, but demanding progheads will not find their happiness.

Sean Trane | 3/5 |


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