Brendan Perry (born 30 June 1959 in Whitechapel, London) was half of one of the most successful and enduring acts in 4AD's history: Dead Can Dance. He spent 16 years searching the world for meaning and knowledge through music in partnership with Lisa Gerrard, then turned his attention to a solo record which would continue this exploration.
Although Eye Of The Hunter was released in October 1999, Brendan began work on the album while Dead Can Dance were still active - the idea was inspired, in part, by his incredible solo performance during 4AD's 13 Year Itch celebrations at the ICA in 1993.
Boasting lush production sensibilities and a boundary-defying spirit, Eye Of The Hunter offered an immediate familiarity to fans of Dead Can Dance's unique soundworld. But there were difference in the manner the music was made, and also how it was presented.
Though Dead Can Dance employed vocals, the duo's goal was to express emotions beyond language. Their recording process was also open to improvisation, Brendan and Lisa letting the music lead them to its destination.
In contrast, Eye Of The Hunter's vignettes were written - crafted - using a more traditional singer / songwriter process. The music, centered around Brendans thoughtful and restrained guitar playing, provided a backdrop for his deep, gentle vocals.
And while much of Dead Can Dance's work eluded categorisation, Brendan embraced it, making a folk record in the truest sense: these songs - each one its own story but each also contributing to an overall theme - were rooted in his life experiences.
Eye Of The Hunter was recorded at Brendan's Quivvy Church studio in County Cavan in Ireland. It's a relatively isolated setting - one which allows its owner space to pursue his interests, which range from music to astronomy and archery to arboriculture.
Dead Can Dance's music often suggested a search for meaning and sense in the world, and Brendan has taken up a similar journey. But instead of looking at the external world, he has decided to explore the inner world of his own private universe.
"People have multiple personalities which are always evolving," he says. "This record deals with the different facets of my own personality." "Eye Of The Hunter's deeply personal songs explore the theme of loss - both of life and love - but they are not bereft of hope.
"Saturday's Child," which opens the record, poignantly describes the changing relationship between Brendan and his father after the latter suffered two debilitating strokes. "Sloth" deals with time lost to anger, addiction and inertia, preventing us from achieving our true potential.
"The Captive Heart" deals with the attempt to keep love afloat over a long distance. A cover of Tim Buckley's "Must Have Been Blind" features one of the record's more extravagant arrangements, with layers of pedal steel supporting Brendan's soaring vocals.
An emotional centerpiece is the haunting, autobiographical "Voyage of Bran". Brendan Perry toured Europe and North America in support of Eye Of The Hunter. But - apart from a number of local performances and workshops in Ireland - he subsequently remained out of the public eye until Dead Can Dance reformed for a series of live concerts in the spring of 2005.
His new album entitled ARK is planned to be released in early 2010. According to a reply Perry made to a comment on his Myspace blog, the new album will be very different from Eye of the Hunter, notably because it will feature rhythm machines and electric guitars.
"Utopia", a demo version of a song from this album, has been made available on his Myspace blog.The new album Ark was eventually released on 7 June 2010.
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