When Lisa Gerrard of Dead Can Dance released The Mirror Pool in 1995, it was not even available on vinyl. Thank goodness for the resurgence of the format 15 years later, because the depth of sound inherent in the music is served in a manner that the original CD could never duplicate. Over the course of two 180-gram virgin vinyl LPs, her solo debut has never sounded better. The depth of the arrangements is stunning, and her vocal abilities are spellbinding.
The Mirror Pool was the culmination of work she had been accumulating for a number of years. Clocking in at nearly seventy minutes, The Mirror Pool looked like a clean break from her Dead Can Dance partner Brendan Perry. While that was not actually the case, as the duo released their final DCD album Spiritchaser the following year, The Mirror Pool did signify a major departure for Gerrard.
The first four songs on The Mirror Pool were recorded with Australia‘s Victorian Philharmonic. The lush sound of the orchestra, in conjunction with her brilliant vocals is a marvelous combination. As anyone who is familiar with Dead Can Dance knows, Lisa Gerrard does not really sing, but emotes in a language all her own. She describes the results as, “The language I was born with.”
In any event, the sounds she evokes fit the music like a glove, and only add to the mystery inherent in each song. “Violina: The Last Embrace” opens the record, and it is a gorgeous introduction. The sweeping orchestral arrangement draws the listener in immediately, and Gerrard’s voice sounds almost Gregorian in it’s chant-like cadences.
“Sanvean: I Am Your Shadow” closes this initial suite, and brings to mind the glorious “Silence, Sea And Sky/Perfume Garden” from the criminally under-appreciated Chameleons. I doubt that this was intentional, but then again, she always showed impeccable taste.