Dead Can Dance, Toward The Within
December 8, 2011 9:17 AM   Subscribe

Toward the Within is the only official live album of the eclectic music group, Dead Can Dance. Recorded in one take in November of 1993, the performance was later released as an album and video. The latter includes short interviews with the heads of the group, Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, interspersed with the songs.

Video track list:

Opening credits & Rakim

Song of the Sibyl, a Gregorian chant and liturgical drama, performed as a duet by Gerrard and Perry.

Brendan Perry interview, then I Can See Now and American Dreaming, with vocals by Perry.

Perry and Gerrard interview, then Gerrard gives an impressive demonstration of glossolaia, or speaking in tongues, with Cantara, an Arabic word meaning 'bridge'.

Then Gerrard switches to regular vocals to do a beautiful version of the Irish ballad, The Wind That Shakes The Barley .

I Am Stretched On Your Grave, sung by Perry, is a 17th century Irish poem.

Desert Song, an operetta inspired by Moroccan rebels fighting against French colonials.



Gerrard interview, then the songs Tristan & Sanvean, the latter co-written by Gerrard and composer Andrew Claxton, about Gerrard missing her family in Australia.

Perry sings Don't Fade Away as the credits roll

The group disbanded in 1998, due to personal conflicts. Gerrard and Perry continued in solo careers and then reunited for a successful world tour in 2005. A new album and world tour are planned for 2012, in the meantime a four song EP, Live Happenings-Part II, is available for free download.
posted by Brandon Blatcher (41 comments total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
nice post, husband! I love DCD :)
posted by supermedusa at 9:20 AM on December 8, 2011

I saw them at Radio City Music Hall on the reunion tour. It was fantastic. I'm so happy that they are releasing a new album.
posted by kimdog at 9:24 AM on December 8, 2011

Actually, they released official 2CD sets of almost every live show they did on their 2005 world tour, plus 2CD collections of the best tracks from the North American and European legs of the tour, respectively. These recordings are almost certainly what the Live Happenings EPs are taken from.
posted by lefty lucky cat at 9:27 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Well, now I know what I'll be watching during lunch, thanks!
posted by kokogiak at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2011

Rakim is excellent, thank you. I play DCD at work all the time.
posted by vkxmai at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2011

Thanks for posting a reminder of a great band. Rakim still gives me the chills.
posted by Jernau at 9:41 AM on December 8, 2011

Dead Can Dance is also much sampled for dance records:

Orkidea - Unity

Future Sound of London - Papua New Guinea

Chemical Brothers - Song To the Siren
posted by empath at 9:42 AM on December 8, 2011

I saw them live in Seattle in, oh, 1993 or so. It was a great show, somewhere between really great music and kinda pretentious and mostly just beautiful. I'm always struck by how unusual that little moment of 4AD was. Dead Can Dance, Cocteau Twins, such an interesting sound. In my musical fantasy world that trend in music wrapped around and met up with the Kronos Quartet and Peter Gabriel and invented a whole new musical genre.
posted by Nelson at 9:43 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

Wow, that brings back memories. I saw them in Oxford in 1987 or 88 I think. I think a had a date with a goth girl, but I did always like them.
posted by unSane at 9:44 AM on December 8, 2011

My god, Gerrard's voice is fantastically amazing. Gives me chills listening to her. Thanks for this.
posted by ashirys at 9:52 AM on December 8, 2011

Smart Dalek, and I, caught Brendan Perry and Robin Guthrie (solo) at Irving Plaza earier this year. Guthrie stuck to all new instrumental non-Cocteau Twins material. But Perry did a mix of a of mostly DCD material interspersed with equally strong solo stuff and it was fucking transcendent. Utterly fucking hypnotically superb.

He slyly let the crowd (who was going apeshit for the DCD stuff) know that DCD would be getting back together soon, and touring. I can't wait to see them. I mean, I've been listening to them neigh on two decades now and that's all good and fine, but the live presentation of the songs adds a whole new dimension to the greatness of it all.

Hi Ace!
posted by Skygazer at 9:53 AM on December 8, 2011 [2 favorites]

I used to love DCD and saw them play live a couple times. After the second time (late 1990s) I stopped listening to them and have never gone back. For some reason, I can't listen to them anymore and I'm not exactly sure why.
posted by perhapses at 9:53 AM on December 8, 2011

Huh, I thought 'Chosen Survivors' was an official release of a live show, but it turns out it's a bootleg I've got. Wacky!
posted by FatherDagon at 9:54 AM on December 8, 2011

Perhapses: I used to love DCD and saw them play live a couple times. After the second time (late 1990s) I stopped listening to them and have never gone back. For some reason, I can't listen to them anymore and I'm not exactly sure why.

You should, sounds like the music has absorbed some big emotions for you. Listening to it for a bit might be a realization perhaps some growth of sorts.

It also just might be torture, in which case, turn it off, but I'd give it a whirl, just to see what it was all about.
posted by Skygazer at 9:58 AM on December 8, 2011

a truly great live album. amazing. also weird timing, because i was just bookmarking these very youtube links yesterday.
posted by facetious at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2011

Back in the early '90's they played here in San Francisco at the Palace of Fine Arts, I jumped to get tickets and found out a day or two later that the show had sold out in about an hour. The rumor floating around the music press here was that a lot of people mistakenly thought it was a Grateful Dead show. Ha!
posted by njohnson23 at 10:02 AM on December 8, 2011

also, i love youtube comments: "You know it's serious when there are TWO bongo players." lol
posted by facetious at 10:03 AM on December 8, 2011

I have always loved this performance of "American Dreaming" beyond all just measure. It's the kind of music I wish I could make, and never will.
posted by lumpenprole at 10:13 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

*BTW the Robin Guthrie instrumental material is very good, he's got something like close to a dozen CD's, but there's just no way to listen to it without constantly wishing Liz Fraser's spellbinding vocal presence was there as well.

But, he's done another collaboration with Harold Budd, I've yet to hear, and seems to be making foray's into playing guitar in conjunction with female voice again:

Also he runs the label Bella Union, which releases The Dirty Three in England/Europe, still, I believe. that's how I know them, but they have a slew of new bands, Explosions in the Sky, Lanterns on the Lake, Veronica Falls etc etc...

I guess they like bands that reference the geographical landscape in some way. /snark

/Inevitable Cocteau Twins related derail for DCD
posted by Skygazer at 10:14 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw them live in Denver not too long before they broke up, and the thing that amazed me was that the drummer on that tour, apart from looking like he would have been at home painting deer on the walls of Lascaux, spent a good eight minutes during part of the concert drumming while jogging in place. It was a vivid illustration of someone being both much more musical and much more in shape than I am.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 10:27 AM on December 8, 2011

Ok, can someone tell me what the DCD song was that got some radio play on the Alternative Music station in Madison, Wisconsin in the mid 90s? They played it once every 3 or 4 hours, and I loved it....but looking through their catalog of tracks, I wouldn't know what it might have been. Could it have been The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove? I don't remember.
posted by thanotopsis at 10:30 AM on December 8, 2011

Skygazer, I've got a few of Robin Guthrie's instrumental CDs and they're all wonderful. His work with Harold Budd is great, too. (It of course hearkens back to the Cocteaus original work with Budd.) All well worth checking out.
posted by jiawen at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I saw them in 1996 in Houston and again in 2005 at Radio City Music Hall. The prospect of seeing them again has made my day.
posted by immlass at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2011

Thanotopsis, yea, that was the song that got the most club play. ok now I want to go dancing - it was such a good song to writhe to
posted by 5_13_23_42_69_666 at 11:32 AM on December 8, 2011

I saw them when Aion came out. Amazing album, amazing concert. I was especially blown away by the live performance of As the Bell Rings the Maypole Spins that day.

BTW, in addition to composing soundtracks, Lisa Gerard has acted in at least one film: Moon Child (nsfw).
posted by homunculus at 11:49 AM on December 8, 2011

I've been listening to my old Dead Can Dance albums ever since this Sinéad O'Connor post back in November linked to her version of I Am Stretched On Your Grave. I love both versions of that song.
posted by Drab_Parts at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2011

Fantastic many of those 4AD bands have been a tremendous influence on my own music. (Shameless self-promotion...links are in my profile, folks!)
posted by malocchio at 12:00 PM on December 8, 2011

Thanks for this. I tried to find out more about Gerrard after being struck by the beautiful use of Sanvean in an episode of The West Wing (7A WF 83429), because I couldn't work out what language she was singing. An amazing voice.
posted by szechuan at 12:33 PM on December 8, 2011

I saw that Palace of Fine Arts show in SF. It's up there as one of the best shows I've ever seen. Saw them again on the reunion tour -- maybe at the Warfield?
posted by gingerbeer at 1:04 PM on December 8, 2011

As the Chemical Brothers' remix was mentioned upthread, here's Tim Buckley performing "Song to the Siren" during his guest stint on The Monkees TV Show, along with the video for Messiah's "Temple of Dreams", a nightmarish House-themed earworm/mashup of This Mortal Coil's version with Richard Dawson's catchphrase from The Running Man; The KLF's "Doctorin' the Tardis" might as well have been "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" in contrast.

Words cannot describe the ethereal beauty of Perry and Guthrie's Irving Plaza show.
'Sup, P?
posted by Smart Dalek at 1:36 PM on December 8, 2011

Thanotopsis, here's the original of the song you were referring to. Great stuff.
posted by mark7570 at 1:53 PM on December 8, 2011

This probably sounds like faint praise, but: the over-reverbed, overproduced co-optation of folk music by the marketing term "World Music" is single-handedly redeemed by DCD. As soon as Lisa Gerrard starts singing all the snark goes away.
posted by vanar sena at 2:07 PM on December 8, 2011

Oh man, I didn't actually realize that this was a Dead Can Dance remix...
posted by empath at 2:23 PM on December 8, 2011

empath: "Oh man, I didn't actually realize that this was a Dead Can Dance remix ..."

It's not. Guthrie and Fraser were the Cocteau Twins.

Trivia: Jeff Buckley heard the TMC cover of his estranged father's song, which led to a collaboration and affair with Liz Fraser. From what I can tell it didn't end terribly well, and Buckley's posthumously released Sketches for My Sweetheart the Drunk had a song titled Morning Theft which was about Fraser.
posted by vanar sena at 2:37 PM on December 8, 2011

"Morning Theft" is possibly my favorite Jeff Buckley song ever, and the 1 to 7 degrees from 4AD thing going on with everyone mentioned here fills me with utter joy.
posted by venbear3 at 3:22 PM on December 8, 2011

I've watched that concert video a zillion times, partly because I like DCD, and partly because of the longhair topknot beardy-faced drummer boy dancing throughout the show.

Dance, beardyface drummer boy. Dance for me!
posted by hippybear at 4:32 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

They are working on a new album and you can get some free live music from their site.

I saw them in Houston during the Spiritchaser tour, in Oakland a couple of years ago and saw Lisa Gerrard at the Palace of Fine Arts. Amazing music, terrific performers. I can't wait for the new album!
posted by nakedelf at 5:56 PM on December 8, 2011

I didn't get into their music till after they'd broken up, and I missed the 2005 tour. Next year, I'm so there.
posted by mogget at 8:53 PM on December 8, 2011

Thanks Brandon, I love me some DCD. I agree with the 4AD epoch at the time and it's just reminded me of the Wolfgang Press tape I wore out in my car stereo.
posted by arcticseal at 11:04 PM on December 8, 2011 [1 favorite]

I was lucky enough to be in NYC the same week as the Irving Plaza concert, and I fully agree with Smart Dalek and Skygazer, it was an amazing concert. A link to a dimeadozen torrent of the concert was posted on the forum on the official Perry website ( - it is certainly worth a listen.
posted by bouvin at 5:04 AM on December 9, 2011

Here's the Setlist and actual song tracks via live video footage from the shows and other sources. Click the arrow after the song title.) From that show:
Brendan Perry Concert at Irving Plaza, New York, NY, USA on May 31, 2011
posted by Skygazer at 11:16 AM on December 16, 2011

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