This *was* the dream.
..but dream is over. Realitycheck was done.
All said. I cannot handle it.
THIS WAS IT!
Under the volcano
„Lisa and Brendan at the Greeks.“ Those were the days before COVID-19 and subsequent airport chaos, when as a Plattentests.de staff member you could easily provide your reviews with a headline that made you want to go on your next summer vacation. The half-sentence referred to the Dead Can Dance album „Dionysus“ – although Lisa Gerrard, singer of the cultically revered duo between ethereal gothic, neo-classical and world music, recently also liked to stay with the Bulgarians or with the elephants. Not so during the recording of their second longplayer with Marcello De Francisci, which for obvious reasons took place digitally. The friction between the Australian and the Californian composer thus remained within limits – even when Gerrard received the sound files on which De Francisci had blended her brilliant voice with opulent orchestral arrangements. „He’s like a musical volcano,“ the vocalist says of her partner. And it’s bubbling properly.
Even if the rumbling on „Exaudia“ is subtly announced: „When the light of morning comes“ introduces the billowing worlds of this album decidedly gently, lets electronic surfaces and symphonic blowing collide as if in fast motion with vocals wafting over from the other end of the night and fades away as gravely as the piece crept up before. After this breezy but all the more magnetic opener, one thing is certain: Gerrard and De Francisci may only have just under 40 minutes, but somehow they still have all the time in the world to reconcile monumental ambient score buildups with sacred onomatopoeia and invocations – unlike on their joint 2010 debut „Departum,“ where many pieces remained rather sketchy and one sometimes felt torn between lavish grandeur and miniatures that often meant little more than listening. Listening here also means the Latin title – and the ears pricked up from the beginning as if by themselves.
A song like the softly marching through the instances of unobtrusive folky string play „Until we meet again“ is not even one of the strongest sides of „Exaudia“: It is more impressive when Gerrard and De Francisci expand the habitat of ethereal 4AD wave and soundtrack cuddling and free themselves from the narrow limits of mere beautiful sound in „Fallen“ or the title track, which deals with expansive percussion beats and soaring trombones. „Stories of love, triumph and misfortunes“ even tries a rumbling but imposingly grooving Middle Eastern pop style including a subtle vocal duet, which unfolds a bit faster but no less bombastic than the rest. For the finale of the dreamlike „Stay with me“ everything fizzles out in an anthemic clash of all instruments – the big breath before Dead Can Dance become active again? Then Lisa Gerrard and Marcello De Francisci have a damn long breath.