In most musical instruments the resonator is made of wood while the actual sound generator is of animal origin. In cultures where music is still used as a magical force, the making of a musical instrument always involves the sacrifice of a living being. That being's soul then becomes part of the instrument and in the tones that come forth, the 'singing dead', who are ever present with us, make themselves heard.
- harmonies of heaven and earth – Jocelyn Godwin (from Spritchaser liner)
Dead Can Dance had been quiet. A "best of" CD, A passage in time, in 1991 seemed to indicate an ending. Into the labyrinth in 1993 was not their best. A live album, Toward the Within came out in 1994.
Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry were no longer an item. Moreover, they lived on different continents. He in Ireland, she back in her native Australia, in the snowy mountains, with husband and child. Both were pursuing solo projects – Lisa Gerrard's The mirror pool in 1995, Brendan Perry’s folksy warbling on Toward the Within that clearly owed nothing to her style. It seemed that Dead Can Dance were over, finished, a spent force.
Then, in 1996, Spiritchaser.
Dead Can Dance’s influences from world music 1 do range all over the globe, and this time there is a funky, forest, tropical, South American feel. No echoes of Gregorian chant, not any madrigals nor Irish folk songs or any middle-eastern desert songs.
Opinions are divided. Some find it their weakest album. Some find it their best. Both are right. It the least challenging of their work, the least off the wall, the least iconoclastic. But it is also the easiest to put on and relax to. The most effortless, most assured exercise of their talents. They aren’t pushing their personal envelope, just demonstrating mastery of it.
Like Strange Cargo Hinterland, it is one of those albums that I find myself playing a lot, without my ever having consciously decided that it is one of my favourites. It just so happens that when I ask myself "what would I like to hear now?", Spiritchaser is often what comes to mind. It is pleasant easy listening world-music richly textured analogue background music vibes.
2. Song of the stars
4. Song of the dispossessed
5. Dedicace outo
6. The snake and the moon
7. Song of the nile
Spritchaser is released on 4AD records.
References: Dates for releases found via Amazon.com
1) I say "world music" or want of a better term. I don't like the phrase. It is a catch all for anything that's not western, and is about as specific as calling someone "foreign". Every music style is from a particular time and place.