Blue Plate Special: Dead Can Dance

Dead Can Dance, an Australian neoclassical darkwave band from Melbourne, was formed in August 1981 by Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry. They quickly became known for their unique sound, described by Australian music historian Ian McFarlane as “constructed soundscapes of mesmerizing grandeur and solemn beauty,” blending diverse influences like African polyrhythms, Gaelic folk, Gregorian chant, and Middle Eastern music.

Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry from Dead Can DanceAfter moving to London in 1982 and signing with 4AD, their debut album in 1984 established their ethereal wave style. Their second album, “Spleen and Ideal” (1985), furthered their reputation, achieving No. 2 on the UK indie charts. That’s around the time when I became familiar with the band, tracking down the first two albums and first EP (Garden of the Arcane Delights – 1984) via (very expensive) imports from the UK. Their third album, “Within the Realm of a Dying Sun” (1987) quickly became one of my all-time favorite albums, and remains to this day my favorite from their catalog of 9 studio albums, 3 live albums, 4 compilation albums, and 2 songs on the well-received 4AD compilation, Lonely Is An Eyesore (1987).

The duo’s success continued through the 1990s, with their sixth studio album, “Into the Labyrinth” (1993), becoming a global success and marking them as 4AD’s highest-selling act.┬áThe band faced a hiatus after their 1996 album “Spiritchaser,” disbanding in 1998 but reuniting in 2005 for a world tour and again in 2011 for the release and tour of “Anastasis.” Their most recent album, “Dionysus,” was released in 2018. Despite temporary separations and reunions, Dead Can Dance have remained influential in the music world, known for their captivating live performances and their ability to seamlessly blend various musical traditions into a cohesive and unique sound. Their journey included various tours, live album releases, and a consistent evolution of their music style, reflecting their diverse influences and artistic vision.

They make incredibly beautiful and intricate music, making it difficult to pare down my list of favorites, but here is a sampling that I believe covers their various styles:

In The Wake of Adversity – from the album Within the Realm of a Dying Sun (1987)


American Dreaming – from the live album Toward the Within (1994)


The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove – from the album Into the Labyrinth (1993)


East of Eden – from the debut album Dead Can Dance (1984)


Severance – from the album The Serpent’s Egg (1988)


The Forest – from the album Dionysus (2018)


The Cardinal Sin – from the album Spleen and Ideal (1985)


The Snake and the Moon – from the album Spiritchaser (1996)


Carnival of Light – from the EP Garden of the Arcane Delights (1984)


Children of the Sun – from the album Anastasis (2012)


Black Sun – from the album Aion (1990)


How Fortunate the Man With None – from the album Into the Labyrinth (1993)

Christian Buckley

Christian is a Microsoft Regional Director and M365 Apps & Services MVP, and an award-winning product marketer and technology evangelist, based in Silicon Slopes (Lehi), Utah. He is the Director of North American Partner Management for leading ISV Rencore (, leads content strategy for TekkiGurus, and is an advisor for both revealit.TV and WellnessWits. He hosts the monthly #CollabTalk TweetJam, the weekly #CollabTalk Podcast, and the Microsoft 365 Ask-Me-Anything (#M365AMA) series.

1 Response

  1. December 12, 2023

    […] Blue Plate Special: Dead Can Dance […]