Dead Can Dance: “The Host of Seraphim”

Dead Can Dance, “Host of the Seraphim” (Remastered 2007), Released October 1988, “The Serpent’s Egg”, 4AD Limited

Dead Can Dance is an Australian music group whose core members consist of Lisa Gerrard on vocals and singer, multi-instrumentalist Brendan Michael Perry. Founded in Melbourne in August of 1981, the original band included Paul Erikson on bass guitar and Simon Monroe on drums. The band relocated to London in May of 1982 where they signed with alternative rock label 4AD. After the signing, Peter Ulrich replaced Monroe on the drums. 

Dead Can Dance’s music are constructed mixed soundscapes of Gaelic folk tunes, Gregorian chants, African polyrhythms, mantras, Middle Eastern music and experimental elements. Lisa Gerrard’s contralto voice, with its vocal range of three octaves, has a unique singing technique known as glossolalia, the fluid vocalization of speech-like syllables that lack readily comprehended meaning. She sometimes sings in English and often in a unique language that she invented from her multi-cultural childhood. 

“Dead Can Dance”, the band’s debut album, was released in February of 1984 and was followed with a four-track extended play in August entitled “Garden of Arcane Delights”. Session musicians were added for the second album “Spleen and Ideal” which had a consciously medieval European sound. This album reach number two on the United Kingdom’s indie charts and built a loyal following for the band in Europe. 

For the sixth studio album , the 1993 “Into the Labyrinth”, Gerrard and Perry dispensed with guest musicians entirely. The album sold five-hundred thousand copies worldwide and appeared on the Billboard chart. This was followed with a world tour in 1994 and a recorded live performance in California which was released as “Toward the Within”. After Gerrard’s solo recording “The Mirror Pool”, the couple reunited to produce the 1996 Dead Can Dance studio album “Spiritchaser” which reached number one on the Top World Music Albums Chart. 

After a breakup in 1998, Dead Can Dance reunited in 2005 and released limited-edition recordings of thirteen live shows from its European tour and eight recordings from its North American tour. The last two albums of the Dead Can Dance nine-album collection were the 2012 “Anastasis” and the 2018 “Dionysus” which was mastered at Abbey Road Studios. 

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Dead Can Dance’s tours were canceled from October 2019 until 2022. A 2022 European tour did take place; a second leg of that tour was scheduled for later in the year as well as a North American tour for 2023. However, citing unspecified health reasons, those scheduled tours were canceled. In May of 2023, Lisa Gerrard confirmed that Dead Can Dance had once more disbanded. No further information has been announced so far. 

The “Host of the Seraphim” is the opening track from the fourth studio album by Dead Can Dance, “The Serpent’s Egg”,  which was released in October of 1988. The album was recorded in a multi-story apartment block in the Isle of Dogs, London. “Host of the Seraphim” was featured in the soundtrack of the 1992 non-narrative documentary film “Baraka”, the theatrical trailers of the 2003 “Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines” and the 2006 “Home of the Brave”, the final scenes of the 2007 “The Mist” and in the 2018 “Lord of Chaos”. 

Alina Noir

The Photography of Alina Noir

Born in Romania in 1981, Alina Noir is an visual artist, author and choreographer. Her education in literature and art history was internationally based with studies in Romania, Germany, France, Sweden and New Zealand. Noir studied classical and contemporary dance at Les Grands Ballets Canadiens de Montréal and Lyon’s École Nationale de Musique de Danse et D’art Dramatique. This multi-cultural academic background has had strong influence on her work as a photographer.

Alina Noir maintains an artist studio in the Renaissance city of Lyon, France, where she works with a team of ballet dancers and actors. Her work is influenced by the city’s classical Renaissance and Baroque paintings, in particular the works of Michelangelo Caravaggio. Initially focused on color photography, Noir has incorporated black and white images and re-colored images into her oeuvre. She shoots both theatrical and nude photography with an emphasis on the interaction of bodies in a given space. A variety of emotions and situations, such as fragility, force, solitude, despair and connection, are expressed in Noir’s images. 

For each of her photographic projets, Noir shoots a series of images that often contain an autobiographical dimension. An early project entitled “I Turned My Blood Into a River” was a personal anthology of legends and myths. Noir’s “Cathedrals” was an exploration of her favorite artistic themes presented more mathematically in concept. This project examined the intricate ways , other than sexual or emotional, in which human bodies connect in space. During the winter months of 2018 to 2019, Noir created “Sculptures in the City”, a series of sixty digital photographs of random constructions and urban landscapes in Montreal. Based on the 1930s Surrealist art form of objet trouvé (found objects), the project’s impersonal images evoked sensations of both strangeness and displacement.

In 2019, Alina Noir produced a two-part project “La Bal-Act One” and “La Bal-Act Two”. The first part was a series of photographs taken during May and June of 2019 in which characters were involved in scenes both improvised and choreographed. In the images, references to art history and popular culture were combined with contemporary issues, such as gender, identity and body control. The shooting for “Act Two” took place in Lyon between July and September of 2019. These images were studies of choreographed movements that examined how desire, vulnerability, and intimacy become motivating forces in one’s life. The figural gestures portrayed in the photographs draw upon gestures exhibited in Renaissance paintings.

In January of 2020, Noir created “The Magic Square” series at the Institute for Contemporary Art during Lyon’s fifteenth Biennial for Contemporary Art. Inspired by Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving “Melencolia I”, this series of photographs explored the notion of contemporary masculinity and examined its relationship to the male image in western art. In 2021, Noir created the series “Ships Anchored in Fog”, a set of nine self-portraits visually inspired by statues from classical Antiquity. These photographs translated certain aspects of mathematical set theory into the art of dance. The uniqueness of the dance movements, reinterpreted through the choice of statues, became static choreography which allied the subliminal creative idea with infinite sets. 

Alina Noir created a collection of twenty dance performances from 2018 to 2022 among which were “Keeping This Body Alive”, “Black Bird”, and “No Ghost Just A Bell”. Her “Chrysanthèmes” was a 2021 performance at Lyon’s Maison de la Danse that translated certain aspects of Ferdinand de Saussure’s Semiotics theory into dance movements. The Semiotics theory provides a framework for understanding how humans use signs to make meaning of the world around them; however, an important assumption of this theory is that signs do not convey meaning that is inherent to the object being represented. The performance piece is centered around the symbol of the chrysanthemum as seen in two different cultures, Alina Noir interpreted the chrysanthemum in Romania (a symbol of mourning, death and rebirth) and dancer Mio Fusho interpreted the flower in Japan (a symbol of light, hope and metamorphosis).

Alina Noir’s photography has been featured in many print and online  publications. She has exhibited her work in both collective and solo exhibitions in Lyon, Paris, Berlin, Potsdam, Prague, and Geneva. 

Alina Noir’s portfolio site, which contains contact information and images of her work including installations and performance videos, is located at:

Note: An article describing Albrecht Dürer’s 1514 engraving “Melencolia I” can be found at the online site of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art located at:

Top Insert Image: Alina Noir, “Sculptures in the City” Series, 2018-2019, Color Print

Second Insert Image: Alina Noir, “La Bal-Act Two” Series, 2019, Color Print

Bottom Insert Image: Alina Noir, “Sculptures in the City” Series, 2018-2019, Color Print

Michel Groisman

Michel Groisman, “Transferência (Transference)”, 1999

These images are from his 1999 performance piece “Transferênce”.

In a continuous movement I pass on the light from one candle to another and, blowing through a system of tubes, I can choose the candle I wish to put off.”- Michel Groisman

To see other photographs and works by the artist :  Michel Groisman