Blessed Imbolc

Apr 25, 2013

Because Everyone Should See Dead Can Dance

Crossposted from Reflections Journal.




Okay, this isn't quite as good as sitting under the stars with my beloveds for the concert of a lifetime but this I can post.

The KCRW copy is hilarious.

The Australian duo of Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry made some of the creepiest beautiful music of the 1980s. Almost 30 years and two reunions later, the two are still at it. Watch Dead Can Dance bring its ancient ambiance to Santa Monica's Village Studios for a recording session with KCRW.

Looking through the Facebook thread, I notice that many people are very annoyed at the use of the word "creepy." The thing is... I can't agree. I read "creepiest beautiful music" and found myself nodding in agreement. Their new album is easily the most upbeat thing they've ever done. And I love it. I can play it while I'm driving and not worry about wrecking the car.

Their older stuff is indescribably dark. I love listening to it because it's like staring into the void. It strips flesh from bone. I feel that sense of awe that I imagine Rainer Maria Rilke felt when he encountered his angelic muse at Duino Castle.



Who, if I cried out, would hear me among the angels'
hierarchies? and even if one of them pressed me
suddenly against his heart: I would be consumed
in that overwhelming existence. For beauty is nothing
but the beginning of terror, which we still are just able to
endure,
and we are so awed because it serenely disdains
to annihilate us. Every angel is terrifying.

That's what it feels like to listen to Lisa Gerrard's piercing tones -- not words and yet we understand them. We somehow know what she is saying: the language of the birds.

No one can tell me that this is not a little creepy... or, at the very least, chilling:





Or this:





I think there's a reason Patton Oswalt specifically referenced This Mortal Coil's It'll End in Tears in his KFC's Famous Bowls bit.

Okay, stop right there. Can you pile all of those items into a single bowl, just kinda make 'em into a wet mound of starch that I can eat with a spoon like I'm a death row prisoner on suicide watch? Could I just have that instead?

"Um, yes, we can do that? We can also arrange those on a plate like you're an adult with dignity and self-respect. You don't have to actually eat your food out of a single bowl."

Fuck that, I'm done, I don't give a shit. Just pile all those things in a bowl. Is there a way that the bowl can play This Mortal Coil's "It'll End In Tears" album while I'm eating it at 2 in the morning in my darkened apartment, just kinda staring into the middle distance?

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that reason is best summed up by this:





Patton Oswalt has a history of depression. Perhaps listening to a lot of Lisa Gerrard isn't the best plan in his case. But I love her. Not in spite of the penetrating darkness of her music but because of it. It's like going home.



Dead Can Dance Live -- Photo: Mixelle



Lisa Gerrard Live -- Photo: Mixelle

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