Posts Tagged ‘4AD’

Tonight on Echoes, Connections from 1967 to 2013.

October 9, 2013

60’s Psych-Progressions, 70’s Krautrock, New World Fusion
and Ambient Chamber music Tonight on Echoes.

Donovan-SunshineI must be feeling a bit nostalgic today.  I find myself going back to some of my earliest musical influences and to the early days of Echoes.  From the 1960s, I’ve got a song by Donovan, an artist who I think is an underrated influence on contemporary singer-songwriters.  His Sunshine Superman, is, song-for-song, a beautiful document of 60s tripped out psychedelia and optimism.  We’ll hear a tune from that album that looks to the darkside.  Then it’s up to 1969 and the debut from King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King.  Unlike the contemporary editions of this band, early Krimson could knock out a few ballads, especially when Greg Lake was singing the words of Pete Sinfield.   Moving up a decade, I’ll be dialing up some krautrock by Michael Rother from his second album, Sterntaler, with that beautiful guitar sound, the motoric drumming of Jaki Liebezeit and production from the late-Conny Plank.

FamiliarFrom the early days of Echoes, look for music by Patrick O’Hearn, a musician who has remained a signature artist on the show from day one.   Then there’s an album by Roger Eno & Kate St. John. Roger is Brian’s younger piano playing brother.  St. John played oboe in The Dream Academy.  They made an early album of ambient chamber music called The Familiar before going on to form the chamber rock group, Channel Light Vessel with Bill Nelson.  We’ll hear one of many haunting tracks from The Familiar.

MORCHEEBA-Head-Up-High-300x277But of course, this is Echoes and I have lots of new music for you.  We’ll hear from the new album by Bombay Dub Orchestra, Tales from the Grand Bazaar as they continue to be masters of eastern fusion.  Morcheeba returns with a new album,  Head Up High  featuring singer Skye Edwards,  and I have new music by Pieter Nooten.  You may remember him from Clan of Xymox, an 80s new wave band on 4AD.  He went on to record a much loved album, Sleeps with Fishes with Michael Brook.  Now he returns with a double CD of ambient chamber music, Haven.

It’s all there and more tonight on Echoes.

John Diliberto (((echoes)))

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The Only Love Song You’ll Need for Valentine’s Day

February 13, 2013

Heidi BerryEvery year on Echoes of the Heart, our Valentine’s Day soundscape, and I mean EVERY year, we’ve played Heidi Berry’s “Cradle.”  Even though it is the ultimate love song, this year, we gave it a rest.  But if you only hear one love song today, maybe this should be it.  An exercise in romantic minimalism, it’s just Heidi Berry’s smokey multi-tracked voice and the electric delayed bass of Laurence O’Keefe from the bands Levitation (grossly underrated) and  Jazz Butcher.  The lyrics are almost haiku, the vocal arrangement Enyaesque, but without the sentimental gloss.  If you’re in love or yearning for love, this is your song.

Heidi Berry released several beautiful albums in the 1990s on the 4AD label including the one this song comes from, appropriately called Love.    Happy Valentine’s Day from Echoes.

What’s your favorite love song?

~John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineSiUlrich Schnauss - A Long Way to Fallgn up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.  With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like A Long Way to Fall.  Club members will get this album 10 days before release.  Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

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The Ritual and Rapture of Dead Can Dance.

December 10, 2012
Hear Dead Can Dance in an exclusive broadcast
live from Geneva tonight 12/16/2012 on Echoes
This article originally published in CD Review in 1990
Dead Can Dance Live 2012

Dead Can Dance Live 2012

On the day of our Exclusive broadcast of Dead Can Dances performance in Geneva in October, I unearthed this article I wrote on the band back in 1990 for CD Review Magazine.  It still seems pretty up-to-date.

Stepping into the music of Dead Can Dance is like traveling through an ancient culture and hearing an archaic language.  Only it’s a language that was never spoken until Dead Can Dance singer Lisa Gerrard gave it voice.   Lisa Gerrard sounds like she’s intoning  some arcane dialect, but according to Brendan Perry, the other half of Dead Can Dance, she’s actually creating her own hybrid language.”I suppose the best way to explain her approach to the human voice as an instrument is in a sense speaking in tongues as opposed to any particular tongue,” he stated in the New York offices of 4AD Records back in 1990 when their Aion album was released.  “They [the lyrics] all are influenced by various languages but have no syntactical meaning in any given language.”

Which doesn’t mean that Gerrard isn’t communicating anything. Her voice coils around the gothic ambiences of Dead Can Dance, creating Gregorian-like chants on “The Arrival and the Reunion” that would fit right into a monastery of the Dark Ages if it weren’t for the elaborate polyphony.  On the other hand, “Avatar” from the 1985 disc Spleen and Ideal sounds like a dervish mantra.

At the time, Gerrard was loath to assign specific meanings to her vocal flights.  In fact, the delicately boned, blonde singer rarely gave interviews back then.  She had refused to sit down for an interview with me, leaving it all to Perry.  I only got her then when she came to gather Brendan Perry. I leaned over the table, pointing my microphone in her direction and just ambushed her with questions.

“The thing that is important to me is to break the barrier of language and to communicate something without words that’s for everyone,” she stated in a painstaking cadence, as if every word is being wrenched from her soul.

Dead Can Dance from 1980s

Dead Can Dance from 1980s

Dead Can Dance got together in Australia, where their parents had emigrated from Ireland and England.  They fell in love with each other and Arabic music.  “When I first met Lisa in Australia, we were on the dole [unemployment] at the time in Melbourne.  We worked in a few Arab restaurants, Lebanese restaurants and things and they used to play middle eastern music recordings and we used to make copies of them.  We just fell in love with that music together.”

They started as a sort of doom and gloom techno-rock band, but discovered a new sound on the song “Frontier” with homemade metal percussion that sounded like a troupe of Turkish darbuka players and Gerrard taking her first stab at free vocalise.  A move to London and the 4AD label yielded their self-titled debut in 1984.

Their music is drawn from Gregorian, middle eastern and Bulgarian open-throat singing styles and surrounded by instruments like the Turkish saz, the hurdy-gurdy, and the yang ch’in, a Chinese hammered dulcimer that Gerrard plays in a style of the Persian santoor.  Combined with synthesizers and  strings, they create a ritual music.

While Lisa Gerrard keeps her meaning hidden in glossolalia, Brendan Perry is eager to articulate his thoughts through music, which might explain why he sings in a rich tenor, in English.  “I’ve always felt more inclined towards the ballads, the sense of poetry of the language,” he says.  However, on their first U. S. concert tour in the fall of 1989, he was also exploring the same ecstatic style as Gerrard.

Gerrard, however, eschews these discussions. “From an interior point of view, the work that I do is original to me,” she claims.  “There’s the exterior identification with sound and there’s the interior projection of communication which you cannot talk about.  That’s why I don’t do interviews.  Because you try to talk about that in abstracts.  And the abstracts are never understood and really it’s better to just listen to the work.”

Listening to the work of Dead Can Dance reveals a sound that’s as close as modern music comes to rapture.

Originally published in CD Review in 1990.

Here’s more on Dead Can Dance from Echoes.
2012 Echoes Dead Can Dance Interview Podcast.
Review of Latest Dead Can Dance album, Anastasis
Five Essential Dead Can Dance Albums

AND don’t forget to vote in the Best of Echoes 2012 Poll NOW!  Closes at 6AM Monday 12/17/2012

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineSign up for Echoes CD of the Month Club.

With the Echoes CD of the Month Club, you get great CDs like Hammock’s Departure Songs coming to you each month.  Dead Can Dance’s Anastasis was a CD pick in September. Follow the link to the Echoes CD of the Month Club  and see what you’ve been missing.

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Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind when Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours or Brian Eno drops a new iPad album.

Dead Can Dance-CD of the Month.

August 30, 2012

[Hear Dead Can Dance’s Anastasis featured tonight on Echoes.]

Anastasis is  Greek for “resurrection” and that’s what happens here with Dead Can Dance, the gothic rock band who took deep atmospheres, ritual songs and supralingua dialects to ecstatic, transcendent heights in the 1980s and 90s.  There hasn’t been any new music from the band since founders Lisa Gerard and Brendan Perry broke up in ’98, first romantically and then musically.  Gerrard went on to expand the Dead Can Dance sound on a series of solo albums and film scores, including Gladiator.  Perry went into relative obscurity, until releasing his second solo album, Ark in 2011

(Good live fan footage of “Return of the She-King”)

It’s the sound of Ark, with its drum machine loops and sustained string pads that informs the first new DCD album since 1996’s rhythmically charged, globally influenced, Spiritchaser.  The rhythms of Anastasis fall into mid-tempo caravan-crossing grooves, both ominous and mystical at the same time.  He decorates those patterns with string pads and exotic percussion, including frame drums and the Hang drum on “Anabasis”, another Greek word meaning “journey up country.”  Aside from some Arabic touches and Perry’s current infatuation with the bouzouki, Anastasis sheds a lot of the world music influences heard on their last few CDs, sounding more like their work from the mid-1980s.

Lisa Gerrard’s voice is incandescent as usual. She sounds like a mother who has lost her child on “Anabasis.” But on “Agape,” she’s a wild yet heavenly seductress enticing her lover, her voice driven by her yangqin (hammered dulcimer) cycles and a whining kamencheh.  Whether intoning one of her glossolia prayers on “Kiko” or intertwining multiple vocal lines on the “Gladiator”-style lament of “Return of the She-King,” Gerrard taps a spirit deep and ancient.

Brendan Perry’s languorous voice tends toward the foreboding side of things.  No “get up and get happy” songs for him.  Singing in his chocolate-swathed baritone against surging synth strings and John Barry-style horns on “Children of the Sun,” even a flower-power line sounds like a march to the abyss.

“We are children of the sun,
Our journey’s just begun,
Flowers in our hair.”

But Perry can also hit a yearning pitch that wails in torment at the end of the world.

One of the all-to-infrequent joys of Anastasis is when Perry and Gerrard sing together. They do that on “Return of the She King” and “Children of the Sun,” and each of them comes in for a counter vocal or sings harmony, it instantly lifts the song to a new height of emotional impact.
It’s been seven years since Dead Can Dance toured, sixteen years since their last album.  Hopefully, Anastasis is a true resurrection and the beginning of a new chapter as Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry aspire to the exalted, and often attain it.

Here Anastasis featured on Echoes Monday night, 9/3/2012
Download our interview with Dead Can Dance from iTunes.

~© 2012 John Diliberto ((( echoes )))

Echoes On LineYou get great CDs like Dead Can Dance’s  Anastasis  by becoming a member of the Echoes CD of the Month Club.  Follow the link and see what you’ve been missing.

Now you can go Mobile with Echoes On-Line.  Find out how you can listen to Echoes 24/7 wherever you are on your iPhone, iPad or Droid.

Join us on Facebook where you’ll get all the Echoes news so you won’t be left behind Dead Can Dance appear on the show, Tangerine Dream tours, or Brian Eno releases a new CD.

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