Listen: Dead Can Dance – “De Profundis (Out of the Depths of Sorrow)” [1985]

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Sometimes on Warm Visions, I want to share brand new music. Sometimes I want to share an old track that you may not have heard of. Then sometimes I just want to post a vibe. The opening track from Dead Can Dance’s amazing 1985 album Spleen and Ideal is most certainly a vibe I want to share.

I hadn’t listened to Spleen until last year and it quickly became one of my favorite records of the 80s, with its incredibly lavish and layered sound. Another thing to appreciate about the record is that it doesn’t get to a real “rock” song until its fourth track, the first three being mostly instrumental + neoclassical pieces, with “De Profundis” starting things off. Talk about a fantastic opener. Lisa Gerrard’s commanding vocals, singing in a mix of French and English, cutting through a doomed choir of timpani, organ and disembodied male vocals, boldly drawing a line to separate themselves from their post-punk beginnings. I cannot overstate how important Gerrard’s voice sets the tone here, as much as Brendan Perry coming in later with more chanting with more bells is a great capper. The melody throughout the track is marvelous and an instant hook. It’s, like I said, a vibe that plunges you right into the mood of the album.

On its own, it’s a marvelous track. But now imagine the scene I will likely forever associate with it. At the tail end of a lovely vacation to South Carolina I went on with my partner’s family, my partner & I had a day to spend in Savannah, GA. I luckily found a pressing of Spleen and Ideal at Graveface Records, reigniting my passion in the project. Furthermore, wandering around one of the “most haunted places in the US” with the excitement of re-listening to this record buzzing around in my head was hard to bear. Eventually our day ended by boarding a nighttime Amtrak for the 12-hour trek back to NYC, where we had splurged on a sleeper car. Hurtling through the night, exhausted by a day of exploration in a lovely little city, and being shaken back and forth by the train, I listened to Spleen and Ideal over and over, drifting in and out of sleep. It was a wholly unique vibe, one that I look back on frequently.

About Very Warm

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