Dead Can Dance – Into the Labyrinth – Gerald Perry & Lisa Gerrard – 4AD/Mobile Fidelity Silver Series 180-gram audiophile vinyl reissue (2 LPs) MO-FI 2-001*****:
This was the sixth album, issued in 1993, by the popular Australian duo who combined in their various albums world music, ambient, neoclassical, new wave, gothic rock and post-punk. Their second album achieved a medieval European sound and had the acoustics of a grand cathedral. Although they usually had guest musicians on their previous albums, for this session they did a strictly duo approach – filled in with a bit of synth and various percussion. They did an album after this one but then broke up. However, in 2005 they briefly reunited and released a live album. They currently live in Ireland, though no longer a domestic couple as they previously were.
There are 13 tracks here, mostly spaced three to an LP side, and quite a variety of sounds considering it’s basically a duo. Half of them have sufficient lyrics that they are printed on the inside of the double-disc sleeve. The cover art of the hands is extremely striking. The opening “Yulunga” sounds like a cross between Native American and Aborigine music with plenty of percussion. “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” features the haunting solo unaccompanied voice of Lisa Gerrard, in a sort of ancient Irish folksong mood. “Bird” is another percussion-centered selection, sounding much like Moondog. You can imagine a whole mysterious story suggested by the lyrics of “Tell Me About the Forest (You Once Called Home).” “The Ubiguitous Mr. Lovegrove” has lyrics delivered in a moving style by Perry, and in the closing “How Fortunate the Man With None” he does an almost sprechstimme delivery that reminded me strongly of Jim Morrison and the Doors – backed by percussion and synth.
The sonics are to die for. You will be hearing subtle little details in the mix that may have escaped you if you were familiar with earlier pressings or CDs of this album.
TrackList: Yulunga, The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, The Carnival is Over, Ariadne, Saldek, Towards the Within, Bird, Tell Me About the Forest, The Spider’s Stratagem, Spirit, Emmeleia, How Fortunate the Man With None.
— John Henry