After a very industrial-sounding first session in late 1983, Dead Can Dance returned to the John Peel session around seven months later with a taste of their now-more-familiar “world” style. It opens with Flowers of the Sea, from their then-current EP Garden Of The Arcane Delights, and consisting of a lot of pleasant operatic-style wailing over almost Asian-sounding backing. It’s a curious mix, but one that works well.
Penumbra is next, with some of the more rock/industrial sounds that struck me with their previous session. Bizarrely, it sounds as though it’s going out of its way to drone on and sound boring, and it doesn’t actually do very well at that. Also curiously, this was never recorded elsewhere.
Panacea, also never released commercially, is rather brilliant. From what little I know, Dead Can Dance during this era were mixing various influences together with “alternative” 80s indie and lo-fi sounds, and here they pull it off very well.
Finally we get Carnival of Light, also from that debut EP, an energetic piece full of saucepan banging and pent up vocals. It’s difficult to imagine how this must have sounded – Wake Me Up Before You Go Go was number 1 when this was recorded – so it’s good to here an alternative take of the early 1980s.
Since writing about the preceding session a few months ago, both have now been released on a collection entitled Garden of the Arcane Delights / The Peel Sessions, available here.
I don’t know a lot about Dead Can Dance, except that they seem to have released a whole lot of pleasant industrial electronic instrumental pieces. Wikipedia describes them as an “ambient world music band”, which is every bit as meaningless as you might expect. But anyway, in 1983, they recorded the first of two John Peel sessions. At the time, they were still a few months away from releasing their debut album, so this session finds them in very early form.
This session opens with Orion, from. It’s a soaring piece with some slightly lacklustre drumming, but otherwise it sounds really good. It’s definitely very evocative of the early 1980s, but that’s never a bad thing.
Labour of Love is more of a traditional song, with vocals and everything. To my ears, it sounds a lot like the early work of The Cure. As on the first track, the drumming sounds similarly out of place, but everything else sounds very strong.
Next track Ocean appeared on their eponymous first album a few months after the session was recorded. Honestly, this track is a bit waily, and it’s difficult to know what’s going on for most of it, so it’s perhaps a little surprising that this one made it onto the album where the previous two did not.
Threshold is also on the first album Dead Can Dance, and it’s another waily industrial piece, but somehow this one’s a bit stronger than its predecessor – maybe the elements just come together slightly more smoothly here, or maybe it’s just my imagination.
This session is available on a limited edition 12″ entitled John Peel Session 19.11.1983 and the box set 1991-1998, neither of which is currently available.
Backlash aside, I always feel as though we should try and stir up a bit of excitement for this weekend’s Record Store Day, as we did in previous years. Here are some of the releases that caught my eye…
a-ha – Hits South America – five previously unreleased live tracks (12″ EP, 3,000 copies in the US, also in the UK and Germany)
Air – Casanova 70 – four remixes including two by Brendan Lynch (12″ “maxi transparent splatter vinyl”, Canada, UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
David Bowie – The Man Who Sold the World (12″ picture disc, 5,000 copies in the US, also Canada, Germany and Netherlands), TVC15 (7″ picture disc, 5,000 copies in the US, also Canada, Germany and Netherlands), and I Dig Everything – The Pye Singles (12″ EP, 7,500 copies in the US, also Canada)
Cassius – Action EP and 8 Beats (both 12″x2, Germany only – the latter also in Canada)
Chvrches – Every Open Eye Remix EP (12″ EP, 5,000 copies in the US and Canada)
John Cooper Clarke – Ou est le Maison de Fromage (180g coloured vinyl, UK only)
Étienne de Crécy – Super Discount 1, Super Discount 2, and Super Discount 3 (all UK only, format not stated)
Dead Can Dance – Anastasis (2xLP, 1,500 copies in the US, also Canada, Germany and Netherlands)
808 State – Pacific – three remixes (12″ EP, 2,000 copies in the US, also in the UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
Europe – The Final Countdown 30th Anniversary – three tracks including new remix (12″ electric blue vinyl, UK only)
Frankie Goes to Hollywood – Rage Hard (The Making of a 12″) (12″ EP, 2,500 copies in the US, also in the UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
The Future Sound of London – Accelerator plus Andrew Weatherall remix of Papua New Guinea and Stolen Documents (black heavy weight LP in printed inner bag with hand-numbered 7″ vinyl, UK and Germany only)
Heaven 17 – (We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang (repressed 12″, Canada, UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
Kings of Convenience – Quiet is the New Loud, Versus, and Riot on an Empty Street (LPs, UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
Madonna – Like a Virgin & Other Hits (12″ pink vinyl, reissue of 1984 Japanese EP with Obi Strip, 4,500 copies in the US, also in Canada, the UK and Netherlands)
Mike Oldfield – Nuclear (7″ picture disc, Canada, UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
The Orb – The Orb’s Adventures Beyond the Ultraworld (4xLP, UK and Netherlands)
The Residents – This is a Special DJ Record of The Residents’ Alleged Music. Please Do Not Steal It! Keep it at Your Station – We Need the Radio Airplay (LP, 1,500 copies in the US, also in Canada, the UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
Soft Cell – Sex Dwarf – including remixes by The Grid (12″, Canada, UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
Alan Partridge – Knowing Me, Knowing You (picture disc, UK only)
Doctor Who – Genesis of the Daleks (LP blue vinyl, 2,500 copies in the US, also in the UK, Germany, and Netherlands)
Dr. Who and the Daleks / Dr. Who – Daleks: Invasion Earth 2150 A.D. (LP box set, UK only)
Good luck trying to find any of those. More information for the US here, the UK here, Germany here, and various other countries here.
Another act that I really know very little about, but who have definitely entered my consciousness periodically with moments of total brilliance. Dead Can Dance have just finished touring the US, and now move into The Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Netherlands, France, Belgium, Germany, Czech Republic, Russia, Poland, Hungary, Italy, Switzerland, Spain, Portugal, the UK, Ireland and Mexico over the coming months.