An Introduction

I first became interested in 4AD, a UK independent record label founded in 1980, towards the end of the '80's. I was falling in love with the music of Dead Can Dance, Clan of Xymox, Pixies, Bauhaus and The Birthday Party and was surprised when the 4AD label sampler "Lonely Is An Eyesore" came out in 1987 that all these bands were from the same label.

After visiting a Pre-Raphaelite exhibition of some American's collection of art, I came to thinking of all this musical art that 4AD have released that may one day drift into obscurity unless someone shows it as art. So now I'm on a crusade, to collect the first ten years of 4AD's releases and exhibit the collection on 4AD's 50th anniversary in 2030. This is a big task which will have some interesting twists and turns along the way.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Dead Can Dance Resurrected

Well done to Slow Pulse Girl at  Nightmares On Wax  for winning the Clan of Xymox Blind Hearts 12" promo. Hopefully another competition will come up again soon, as collection duplication is a constant and ongoing issue.

The piece I did on the Bauhaus singles of Dark Entries was kind of the way I wanted to go with this blog. I wanted it to become a good source to find definitive listings of a release. Yet even at the stage I am at, I am struggling to complete a release with all of it's variations. I suppose it comes back to the question again, how far do you go? The Dark Entries collection of 7 versions that I listed does not include any test pressings, if any test pressings exist at all anymore.

I starting to think that maybe I should just bite the bullet and stick my neck out with a few releases and say "this is every version that exists". I'm just wary of making out I'm an arse that thinks he knows it all, when in fact we are all on a journey that constantly changes and cheats (sometimes).

Maybe I will start and add more now that the collection is starting to take a decent form. I'm currently at 596 items collected that doesn't include posters, postcards and oddities. I still have roughly 900 items left to collect that I know of (again not including non music formats). So I still have one hell of a way to go.

To add to this, I'm not exactly shutting myself off to other music in the process. Dead Can Dance have their new album out called Anastasis, which I just couldn't help but buy, and of course not just in one format either. The album came as:

"Exclusive Limited Edition Box Set (Edition of 2000); boxed in custom made deluxe hardbound book, embossed with band logo and album title, and featuring 8 specially designed pages of album art and lyric sheets. Autographed 6" x 8" lithograph artwork print; USB drive contains the full album in high fidelity 24bit digital audio and album artwork." 

I'm a sucker for it. I had to have it and, of course, I couldn't let the chance of having the double clear vinyl version pass me by either. So I spent £55 on both of them and then had to fork out over £18 extra to get them delivered. The price for a second hand copy of the limited edition CD has rocketed from its new price. This always happens generally when a limited stock runs out. Some of the stock gets bought by traders who bet on making a quick from the flurry of interest the new album has created. Demand is up but supply has dried out, perfect for a quick price hike. I suppose you can't blame a trader wanting to make a living and a trader's prices only reflect (mostly) the price the customer is prepared to pay. 

The Dead Can Dance Anastasis limited edition has already sold twice on discogs for over £130 and  there are 5 for sale at the moment for between £120 and £220. It's very likely that the price will fall as initial excitement wanes. 

The album itself is wonderful. It seems as though Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard are collaborating more as they did in the eighties. In later albums of Dead Can Dance the music was more separated by the two artists and less collaborated. But now they do seem to be working together more as the style of the album is of both artists. I also think that it is probably the most accessible of all the Dead Can Dance albums, an album that would be a good introduction to Dead Can Dance if you have never listened to them before.

It has whetted my appetite to see them live in October. The only issue I could have with this album is that the mastering seems rushed. I waited to give the album a listen until the vinyl was delivered. The sound quality of Vinyl far surpasses the sound quality of CD's or downloads, so I wanted to listen to it at its best. Unfortunately the sound was a little flat. At first I thought it was the vinyl mastering, as these days vinyl records are made from a digital recording, which is actually defeating the object of having it on vinyl. But the CD version is also a little flat, but perhaps not as obvious. It's such a pity as the music is just awesome. 

You never know, if the unmixed tracks have been kept a better mastering may be done in future. But don't let it put you off, to the average ear the mastering quality probably won't even be noticed. What's more important is that the music on Anastasis is incredible, give it a listen