A review from Drop Dead Magazine Issue 1:
Dead Can Dance's Lisa Gerrard and Brendan Perry are not only musicians but also incredibly versatile composers. Their compositions are spotlighted in the beautiful interpretations on this moody and wistful compilation offered by Projekt Records. All the tracks translate remarkably well and would nurture the soul during life's many exiles. The angels sing on Dark Sanctuary's rendition of the title track, "Summoning of the Muse." Several more tracks unveil this same brilliance. Arcana, with their monastic dirge on "The Arcane" and "Enigma of the Absolute." Autumn's Grey Solace tap into some Cocteau Twin's proto-shoegaze with "Musica Eternal." And let us not forget Projekt's own Black Tape for a Blue Girl piercing the marrow with a rendition of "Fortune Presents not According to the Book" that belongs on This Mortal Coil's Filigree and Shadow. -Alex Baker
I’m usually one to avoid tribute albums but in this case I will make an exception, as this is a quite beautiful collection of already breathtaking songs. Featured are tracks by Arcana, Dark Sanctuary, Autumn’s Grey Solace, Faith & The Muse, Black Tape For A Blue Girl, Rajna, Mirabilis, Chandeen, Kobe, Athan Maroulis with Surface 10 and Stoa. It’s hard to pick out individual tracks as all are lovingly crafted but Autumn’s Grey Solace give Musica Eternal a Treasure era Cocteau Twins vibe while the Rajna take of Cantara is simple but potent and explodes with stunning vocals. Elsewhere, the tribal drums that Kobe infuse Bird with conjure up images of far away lands while the album closes with the drifting Cantara covered by Stoa that recalls days of old and mystical journeys. An album to be enjoyed by candlelight with plush cushions to recline on while downing a couple of bottles of good red wine. -Grebo
Out of all of the labels in the world, Projekt Records is the perfect choice to gather and compile the best possible tribute to the legendary band Dead Can Dance. With the label showing good activity with some incredible releases in 2005, it's only fitting that this tribute should round out the summer releases with possibly the best piece out this year.
After enchanting us with their own legendary music, Arcana enters onto this tribute with two excellent covers of "The Arcane" and "Enigma of the Absolute". Both of these tracks sport the bombastic approach to neo-classical and medieval music that we've enjoyed so much from them over the years. Another absolute favorite of mine appears on this disc as Dark Sanctuary presents their beautifully captivating version of the title track "Summoning of the Muse". This is truly a rendition to be remembered and cherished by fans worldwide.
A true treat and something entirely unexpected is the guitar-laiden, dreamy, shoegazer version of "Musica Eternal" from Autumn's Grey Solace. Among the many other great covers we're presented with Black Tape for a Blue Girl covering "Fortune presents gifts not according to the book". As their style over the years has dictated, this seems to be the perfect cover by Sam, Lisa, Vicki, Elysabeth and Athan to do. Another slight surprise was presented in the form of "In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated" by the now defunct band Chandeen. Many fans will remember this track from several years ago.
The album packs a dozen excellent tracks, all to be highly commended and excellently done. Each band presents their own style and interpretation of the legendary works, but stay very true to the original styles to provide something that Dead Can Dance fans can really enjoy. I think that is the real key to these tribute albums, providing something that fans of the original band can listen to, relate to and really enjoy. This album is highly recommended not only for DCD fans, but for anyone that enjoys anything by any artist on this compilation. Be sure to check it out!
Dead Can Dance is a band that influenced generations of musicians and vocalists. I would even dare to state that without Dead Can Dance there would not have been a neo-classical scene such as we have today. Regularly a tribute album to this band is released and songs of this band have been covered numerous times by a wide array of different artists and bands. It was only last year that the Greek metal label Black Lotus Records released a compilation The Lotus Eaters, with a variety of artists represented from the ethereal, as well as the metal and gothic scene. The compilation Summoning the Muse of the US Projekt label stays closer to the style of Dead Can Dance itself. Not that strange for the artists on this label are all more or less inspired by this illustrous duo and the most dominant style of the band son this label is ethereal-neo-clasical and darkwave. Most interpretations are pretty decent and well performed yet not very surprising. Highlights are the version of Summoning of the Muse by Dark Sanctuary, the musically rich ‘Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book’ by A Black Tape for a Blue Girl, the serene ‘The Writing on My Father’s Hand’ by Mirabilis and ‘Ulysses’ by Athan Maroulis with Surface 10. A big disappointment is the version of ‘In Power We Trust the Love Advocated’ by Chandeen because it seemds like the singer of Chandeen constantly is out of breath. Furthermore represented are Faith & the Muse with a ritualistic oriental version of ‘Chant of the Paladin’, the shoegaze band Autumn’s Grey Solace, Rajna, Stoa, Kobe with a percussive interpretation of ‘Bird’ and Arcana even two times. This is what could be labeled as a classic tribute album. Truly enjoyable.
Dead Can Dance was a pretty unique proposition in its time and much imitated since. Projekt leader Sam Rosenthal pulls together a selection of DCD covers from various Projekt-affiliated acts, emphasizing the band's appeal to the contemporary Gothic community. As such, the set leans heavily on DCD's early work, just as the duo was transforming from Gothic rockers to droning world beat innovators. Some of the performers remain pretty faithful to the DCD sound, as with Rajna's "Cantara," Kobe's "Bird" and Faith & the Muse's "Chant of the Paladin," but others take more chances. Dream pop duo Autumn's Grey Solace easily adapts "Musica Eternal" to its own style, Chandeen makes "In Power We Entrust the Love Advocated" into a dreamy hymn and black tape for a blue girl puts its inimitable stamp on "Fortune Presents Gifts Not According to the Book." Summoning of the Muse is no substitute for the real thing, of course, but it's not a bad entry point into either the Projekt roster or the world of Dead Can Dance. -Michael Toland
The legacy of Dead Can Dance is such that many pay tribute to the band that elevated the intricacies of the song outside of the classical genre to a very high level. Whether they crafted the multi-textured songs themselves or covered a traditional work, their works have always been a cut above.
The Gothic/neo-classical genre is a style of music best suited to replicate Dead Can Dance tunes providing the necessary textural layers and grace to make the songs become the best they can be. If the edge is too harsh, the nuance is destroyed and you have a cover that is an interpretation. And we don’t want garage bands covering such revered material, no sir. The real issue is how good the copies are.
Projekt is, and has been, home to many of the bands that are well-suited to this undertaking including Rosenthal’s own, the essential Black Tape For a Blue Girl, whose version of “Fortune Presents Gifts Not According To The Book” is a dead-on master rework (culled from The Lotus Eaters compilation). But Projekt’s accumulation of Various Artists renderings of DCD goes further than any DCD tribute collection before it in the sense that the artists are of the same blood, cut from the same cloth, as it were.
Contributions pour in from many of Gothic’s neo-classical corners from its most respected entertainers. Arcana contribute two songs in “The Arcane” and “Enigma of The Absolute.” Arcana, who express their debt to DCD in a haunting style, add mystery and dream to the power of Dead Can Dance. France’s Dark Sanctuary angelic voices add a beautiful layer to the title track, “Summoning Of The Muse.” Rajna’s version of “Cantara” is exotically hypnotic and not far from DCD’s own version of the song, vocally, while included artist, Stoa, and their own version of the same song, is a hauntingly softer, more church-like performance, however equally rewarding.
Germany’s Chandeen provide a satisfying pop version of “In Power We Entrust The Love Advocated.” I’ve been a fan of Chandeen’s style, especially in covers since I heard their rework of Pink Floyd’s “Apple and Oranges,” a refreshingly endearing song with sex appeal. Their rework of DCD’s song, noted above, is atmospheric and expressive.
Projekt’s Summoning Of The Muse, a tribute to one of the great bands, is a tributary all of its own, leading to artists, whose works are superior to many of the works out there in the world today. If you like complex, airy, dream-tracks in a classically influenced style, you’ll be amazed at, not only the excellent DCD renditions, but also the artists that performed them.
The Summoning of The Muse is a miracle of discovery. -Matt Rowe
Ever since I first heard “The Ubiquitous Mr. Lovegrove,” I have been drawn to the dark, mystical, and unmistakable sound of Dead Can Dance. Somewhere between goth and world music and not unlike Cocteau Twins, Dead Can Dance has been creating its unique music for more than 20 years. On Summoning the Muse, 11 different groups pay tribute to the brainchild of Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard. The title track is especially compelling, with reverent, wordless vocals mimicking medieval Christian harmonies and pushing listeners into raw, vulnerable places. Autumn’s Grey Solace is a dead ringer for Cocteau Twins with high, pulsing keyboards and echoing voices. Feature Summoning of the Muse on your in-store headphones to give customers a chance to experience these fantastic tracks up-close and personally.
Finally, there is a tribute album that doesn’t suck.
A well-deserved thank you goes to Projekt Records for releasing this great CD.
If you like Dead Can Dance’s music, you’ll love this tribute CD. Normally I do not like tribute CD's simply because I would much rather listen to the original songs performed by the artist. Besides being pleasantly surprised, I was also very impressed with the performances of all the contributors and the reverence they showed toward the band. With Sam Rosenthal at Projekt picking the track selections, some of the bands like Arcana and Faith & The Muse are no surprise to be featured here. I was particularly impressed with Dark Sanctuary’s rendition of “Summoning Of The Muse," and Athan Maroulis’ vocals, particularly on the track “Ulysses." What really made this album successful was that all of the bands managed to offer something unique and personal, yet they still managed to keep the attention on the vocals and capture the atmospheric vibe that Dead Can Dance always brought to their music. As Arcana admitted in the track selection, without Dead Can Dance, “Arcana would never have existed." -Michael Casano