Label: 4AD/Rhino
Rated: NONE
WorkNameSort: Memento

A new, single-disc compilation from Dead Can Dance is not exactly a stop-the-presses moment, but Memento is nonetheless an interesting document. While 1991's A Passage in Time was a strong representation of the duo's earlier, more esoteric and darker material (as well as the first DCD album to be domestically available in the U.S.), this collection is squarely focused on the later, more song-based material that emerged during their tenure on 4AD/Warner Bros. in the mid-'90s. (The 2003 two-disc set Wake does a good job at presenting a complete picture.)

It was that relatively high-profile era that exposed DCD to a surprisingly wide cross-section of music fans: goth kids down with Lisa Gerrard's imposing yet ethereal ambience; sandal-wearing NPR nuts digging Brendan Perry's Leonard Cohen fixation; world-music nerds attracted by the duo's vaguely pan-global sound. More importantly, the international tours they undertook managed to wash away years of misclassification as morbid melodramatics and establish their bona fides as a thoroughly impressive live act.

The two parted ways in late 1998. Gerrard found surprising success as a film score composer (Whale Rider, Gladiator and, most recently, the Native American-inspired A Thousand Roads) while Perry was apparently content to remain locked up in the old Irish church he calls home. (He only released one solo album, 1999's Eye of the Hunter.)

It's not hard to figure out who called whom with the idea of a reunion, but even though it's only been seven years since they split, it's truly good news that Dead Can Dance is back together and focused primarily on touring. With a very limited edition of live CDs (500 per show) being produced from the shows (available at, it's even better.

The discs are produced by the same company that handled the Pixies reunion tour, and the DCD series is up to the same high standards of audio fidelity and impressive packaging. Yet none of that would matter if the shows themselves weren't worthwhile; judging from the European shows I've heard in the series, the weird, divergent chemistry that made DCD a unique entity is still in place, and the new material they're presenting is enticingly different.


We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Orlando Weekly. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Orlando Weekly, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at

Support Local Journalism.
Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club

Local journalism is information. Information is power. And we believe everyone deserves access to accurate independent coverage of their community and state. Our readers helped us continue this coverage in 2020, and we are so grateful for the support.

Help us keep this coverage going in 2021. Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing membership pledge, your support goes to local-based reporting from our small but mighty team.

Join the Orlando Weekly Press Club for as little as $5 a month.