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dead can dance - wake (4AD)

"wake" is a synopsis of DCD's career, more an anthology than a best of simply because, to be the latter, it would have to include entire albums. This collects, over 26 tracks, examples of their highly influential output, which included eight albums over 15 years.

It's hard to overestimate how important DCD were, their influence can be heard across the musical spectrum, from the entire Gothic ethereal scene, which probably wouldn't exist without them, right up to chart dance acts like Jakatta. If you're not aware of dead can dance, then you should be. So-called "world music" can often seem tokenistic, popular artists adding a little bit of someone else's tradition into their music as simple adornment.

DCD were different, they didn't strictly have a style of their own, their style was to blend elements of music separated in time and space in a way that was unique and respectful to the sources. As a result, we're left with a body of work that includes Irish ballads, Medieval plain song, Maori rhythms, Middle Eastern instruments and much, much more, of course topped with the amazingly talented pair at the core of DCD - Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard, whose voices are both versatile, yet instantly recognisable.

This double CD is just a sampler, really. It's a good start, but it doesn't compare to the original albums simply because Brendan and Lisa crafted whole albums rather than just songs, each album with its own identity and feel. This is disjointed, the songs are great, but they don't low like they should. But, as I said, if you're not aware of DCD, get this, you'll soon be scouring second hand record shops for more.

Donnacha DeLong

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