Sunday, August 27, 2017

SHADOWS: The Circulation of Shadows/Lisa Gerrard & Pieter Bourke

Sometimes the opportunity of a theme is as maybe more around promoting an artist, as much, if not more, as is the song used to fit the purpose. This is one such. Lisa Gerrard the artist, if Pieter Bourke will forgive his no doubt integral part within the featured song. And it isn't, I guess, traditionally the usual fare of SMM, with echoes perhaps of medieval plainsong rather than the sprawl of rock and roll. But it is.
Lisa Gerrard was half of uber-goths, Dead Can Dance, who began life in Melbourne, Australia in the early 80s as a conventional if somewhat arty and, even, pretentious amalgam of, as their label described them: "drum-driven, ambient guitar music with chanting, singing and howling." Gerrard and her partner in vocals, Brendan Perry differed from the routine and ritual howlers of their day, in that each possessed vast and idiosyncratic ranges of tone, grand-guignol operettas with the shamanic underflow of the backing instrumentation. Each album became ever less conventional from the tropes of goth, a label they themselves espoused. Witness this, The Trial, from their debut, to the track below it, Emmeleia, from their 6th album, "Into the Labyrinth".

They broke up in 1998, each pursuing separate careers, with Gerrard further immersing herself in the capacious limits of her voice, alongside Pieter Bourke, producing the phenomenal LP, "Duality", that contained the titular piece for this scribble. But before this, with Dead Can Dance still a concern, she had produced, for me, her most astonishing work, 1995's "The Mirror Pool", with standout track, Sanvean being a reprise of an earlier DCD track. Witness a live version below. I challenge you not to weep.

DCD reformed for in 2005 and have performed intermittently in the years since, with a run of increasingly overwrought, in a good way, productions, whilst Gerrard has increasingly pursued a role as a collaborator within soundtrack music, largely independent cinema, but also in bigger blockbuster fare such as "The Insider" and "Gladiator." Solo records have also appeared, all of which I commend. I live in hope of her touring.

Start here, don't stop!

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