Dead Can Dance have announced details of a brand new album entitled ‘Dionysus’,
which is set for release on 2nd November via [PIAS] Recordings.
ACT I : Sea Borne – Liberator of Minds – Dance of the Bacchantes
ACT II : The Mountain – The Invocation – The Forest – Psychopomp
Pre-order the album and find tour dates & tickets here:
Formed in Melbourne in 1981 by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry, the style of Dead Can Dance over eight previous studio albums can be described as compelling soundscapes of mesmerising grandeur and solemn beauty that has incorporated African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chant, Middle Eastern mantras and art rock.
Ever since the group’s inception, the duo have also been informed by folk traditions from all over Europe, not solely in musical terms but also by secular, religious and spiritual practises. The idea behind ’Dionysus’ comes from this backdrop and was shaped as Brendan Perry explored the long established spring and harvest festivals that originated from Dionysian religious practices, a journey that brings to the fore rites and rituals that are still practised to the present day.
Two years in the making, Perry has amassed an array of folk instrumentation on ‘Dionysus’ while taking inspiration from across the world, with tracks evolving less like songs and more akin to fragments of the cohesive whole. The album also incorporates field recordings that include chanting, beehives from New Zealand, bird calls from Latin America and a Swiss goatherd. The aim in Perry’s mind is to not just invoke the atmosphere and symbolic reference points but to highlight that music can be found everywhere in some form or other.
The album consists of two acts across seven movements that represent the different facets of the Dionysus myth and his cult and takes the form of an oratorio, which has informed both spiritual and secular pieces of music as far back as the early 16th century. Retaining a prevalent hold on contemporary paganism in Europe, the voices used on these movements are imagined as communities celebrating – in communion with each other at times, chanting and call and response. The various voices are present to convey emotion beyond the boundaries of language itself.
Although taking its main inspiration from the Dionysus story, the album artwork resonates with links to rituals depicting a mask made by the Huichol of the Sierra Madre Mountains in Mexico – famed for their beadwork and yarn paintings, whilst also partaking in peyote as a sacred rite and ritual for the purposes of healing and mind expansion. This is at the heart of Dionysus, a celebration of not just humanity but humanity working hand in hand with nature in respect and appreciation.
Dead Can Dance will embark on an extensive European tour throughout May and June 2019, celebrating their life and works from 1980 to the present day. Confirmed dates are: