Being a fan of Dead Can Dance, an Australian band formed in 1981 and consisting mainly of Lisa Gerrard (who did the musical score for the Gladiator) and Brendan Perry, I thought I’d have a nosey and see if they were doing any gigs nowadays (they disbanded in 1998 but did do a world tour in 2005). The answer, in short, was no, but Brendan Perry has just released a solo album and is touring the country at present. He is playing Manchester (a lot closer to home) but when I found out that Piano Magic were supporting him in Oxford, there was only one place I was going 🙂

I discovered Piano Magic last year and some of their stuff is just wonderful. It’s funny really, but they remind me of the happy days in the late 80’s early 90’s before they were ever even around! Piano Magic is mainly just one guy (I think) called Glen Johnson who gets in guest musicians ranging from Simon Raymonde from The Cocteau Twins to Alan Sparhawk from Low to…er…Brendan Perry from Dead Can Dance. This last collaboration resulted in Piano Magic‘s last album called Ovations which is a fine album indeed. It has Piano Magic‘s own experimental/Factory brand of sounds mixed with Dead Can Dance‘s medieval leanings. The wonderful dulcimer figures here and there, particularly on The March of the Atheists (no prizes for what that song is about).

And so to my favourite part, here’s a few tracks from some of the above mentioned musical people. As I don’t know much of what Perry’s solo album is like, I’ve put in a Dead Can Dance tune.

This Dead Can Dance song is sung by Lisa Gerrard from their The Serpent’s Egg album and, coupled with this video, makes for kind of sad and beautiful listening.

This is one of my fave Piano Magic songs from their album Writer’s Without Homes (it’s actually just over 4 mins long and not the 6 it says on the YouTube vid). Singing it is one Vashti Bunyan who (described as a lost 60’s/70’s folk heroine) hadn’t recorded anything for 33 years until she did this. As I think the lyrics have that poetical beauty about them, I just had to put them in here:

The night settles down on the water
The feathers of sun gather
The trees wave their way to the morning
The birds think about what they’ll sing
I have dreams in which you’re a nightmare
I have dreams in which you’re unfair
But angels still dance in your garden and flowers still grow in your hair

My tears leave a skull on the pillow
My tooth leaves my blood on the sheet
My heart sways the way of the willow
My heart sways the way of the wheat
But you are the queen of the lowlands
You have the crown of the lost
I found you broke up like a shipwreck
I found you broke up on the rocks

The horses come in from the cliff tops, their shadows upsetting the sea
The waves swim their way to the bottom and stay there until they’re forgotten
And you know about birds when they’re dying
How they know that they’re going to die
How they hide in the heart of the forest and sleep until death chances by
You know that
You know that

From the above mentioned album Ovations.

Here’s to Oxford 🙂

See ya,