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Danielle Dax


Country of origin:

England

Type of music generally:

Heavy rock/pop with Eastern influences. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Strong experimental alternative rock with a dark, rough edge. (Neile)

Most types of music: ethereal, rock, and even some folk in earlier releases. (dbx@aa.net)

Status:

Most recent album, Timber Tongue (1995)

See also:

Danielle Dax's site

Wikipedia's entry on Danielle Dax

The Ectophiles' Guide entry for Lemon Kittens, a band Danielle Dax was in prior to her solo work.

Comparisons:

You have got to be kidding! :) (dbx@aa.net)

Dalbello, Nina Hagen. (Neile)

Covers/own material:

Writes with David Knight. Occasional covers. (Neile)

General comments:

Musically, Dax wanders all over the map, from straightforward folk through straightforward (and great!) rock and roll through near chaos through odd mutant strains and combinations. An example of the latter is her use of a country-western framework, warped with a rock rhythm, a sitar instead of a guitar, and a few Middle Eastern touches. Many odd instrumental touches decorate most of her songs. Very little is repeated, and those Middle Eastern flavors are about the only motif that pops up. Oh, yes, Dax's voice also unifies her work: a full wide-ranging voice, which she puts through some amazing paces and distortions.
     Lyrically, finding any unifying or common themes is difficult. The closest I can come is that she mostly concentrates on decision-making—the difficulties and uncertainties of knowing the right choice to make and living with the consequences of wrong and even right decisions. A sense of ethics and even religion underlies many lyrics. Some of the songs also have the feel of a folktale. (dbx@aa.net)

Interesting woman. From England, and HIGHLY independent. Her music is very varied, going from fairly monotone Middle-Eastern-oriented instrumentals with vocals, to some highly techno-sounding stuff, with everything in between. (This, of course, if one of the main reasons why I like her.) Her most accessible work is Blast the Human Flower—it has a cover of The Beatles' song "Tomorrow Never Knows" which is quite psychedelic in nature. The further back you go in her catalogue the more...unconventional...it gets. [Editor's Note: This was written before the release of the very experimental Timber Tongue.]
     Her voice: well, you either love it or you hate it—many of my friends hate it, but I love it. Can be quite deep and sonorous, and can be high and piercing (but in a different way from Kate Bush's)—you have to hear it to really believe it! :-) (DAVIS@OSWEGO.ARPC.ALCAN.CA)

Some of Danielle Dax's early work, especially the Pop-Eyes album, I found hard to get into. (lombaeg@donald.interpac.be)

Recommended first album:

Dark Adapted Eye for those who like darker music, otherwise Blast the Human Flower (which is more mainstream). (Neile)

Dark Adapted Eye. (dbx@aa.net)

Recordings:


Jesus Egg that Wept

Release info:

1984—Awesome Records, Biter of Thorpe—bot131-02

Availability:

Unknown

Comments:

I think Danielle Dax is an incredibly innovative artist and Jesus Egg That Wept is the best thing she has ever done. I don't think I can really explain, it's just one of those gut things that hit you and make you go "yes!" (jsutton@rahul.net)

This LP is the long-time leader in my personal "This record worthless despite recommendations from otherwise sensible people" ranking list. Every few years somebody mentions Jesus Egg that Wept and I have to listen to it again to see if I can discern any merit in it this time...so far nothing has come of this except an urge to hurl the disc across the room whilst uttering naval-strength foulnesses. This is harmful to my general well-being and the innocence of any small children who may happen to be in earshot. Ani Difranco's Not So Soft was on the same list for a while but I have become slightly susceptible to it now, and it's been promoted to the "occasional listening" bin. So there may still be hope for Danielle Dax. Would anybody care to enlighten me on the merits of Jesus Egg that Wept? What's wrong with my listening apparatus? (jac@millipede.demon.co.uk)


Dark Adapted Eye

Release info:

1988—Sire (U.S.)—9 25818-2, W2 25818

Availability:

Wide

Ecto priority:

High. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Recommended for lovers of alternative rock. (Neile)

Must have. (dbx@aa.net)

Group members

Danielle Dax—vocals, guitars, keyboards, bass, flute, sitar, kalimba, percussion, drone guitar

Guest artists:

David Knight—guitars, keyboards, tapes, percussion, drone guitar
Pete Farrugia—guitars, bass

Produced by:

Danielle Dax

Comments:

Great music, but not exactly for relaxation, you're more likely to get up and dance! 10 songs on the album are from the Inky Bloaters album, 1 from Pop-Eyes and 2 from Jesus Egg that Wept. 6 songs original to this album. (jbr@casetech.dk)

Rock songs, with a dark edge. I prefer this to Blast the Human Flower, which seems to have a little less individuality. (Neile)

Though it holds nineteen songs and runs for almost 70 minutes, this album has no weak spots—a varied, wild, and almost overwhelming work. My only complaint is its lack of any coherence. (dbx@aa.net)

i find it very hard to formulate and express an opinion of it. it's quite abrasive stuff, pretty loud, very interesting. one or two songs do bug me a bit musically (i'm still at the stage where i can't really distinguish individual songs so no titles) but overall i'm impressed! (damon)


Blast the Human Flower

Release info:

1990—Sire/Warner (U.S.)—9 26126-2, W2-26126

Availability:

Wide on release

Ecto priority:

Recommended for lovers of alternative rock. (Neile)

Highly recommended. (dbx@aa.net)

Group members:

Danielle Dax—vocals, keyboards, guitar

Guest artists:

David Knight—keyboards, guitar, bass
Stephen Street—keyboards, guitar, bass
Karl Blake—guitar
Peter Ferrugia—guitar, bass
David Cros—violin
Anna Palm—violin

Comments:

This is just a little more pop than Dark Adapted Eye. (Neile)

Dax lost or tossed much of the musical inventiveness, variety, and oddities that marked her earlier albums, making this much more straightforward. For just one example, the Mideast touches are all but gone. The lyrics are also darker, more political, and very pessimistic. While a definite step backwards, this is still a very worthwhile album. (dbx@aa.net)


Comatose Nonreaction: The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax

Release info:

1995—Biter of Thorpe—bot131-06

Availability:

Available

Ecto priority:

It's really only for serious collectors, not for the uninitiated. (lissener@wwa.com)

Comments:

A 2-CD compilation set I came across rather by chance. I've always been a big fan of Danielle, she's one of those weird and wonderful obscure artists. (lombaeg@donald.interpac.be)

After setting up her 'BITER OF THORPE' label to re-issue her early Lemon Kittens collaborations and her own solo albums, she recently released a 2-CD retrospective sardonically entitled COMATOSE NON-REACTION—The Thwarted Pop Career of Danielle Dax which features her singles, B-sides and previously unavailable film music and demos. It also includes a full colour booklet containing some of Dax's many outrageous and always creative incarnations and stage sets. (lifted from her label's press release)


Timber Tongue EP

Release info:

1995—Biter of Thorpe—BOT 131-01EP

Availability:

Available, at least directly through the label.

Ecto priority:

Recommended only for fans of the extremely experimental

Produced by:

Danielle Dax

Comments:

I'll have to listen to Timber Tongue several more times to negate my expectation filter. The absence of Danielle's multifaceted voice (except the Laurie Anderson Home of the Brave, hockey mask style on "E.V.I.L. T.") has taken me a little by surprise. Expectation filters have a tendency to do that. I have a good feeling though, this is just the beginning of a new wave of Danielle's wonderful creations. (jsutton@rahul.net)

This one was too much for me, I'm afraid. After a few listens I knew I'd never play it again and I sold it. My loss, quite likely, but a chance I was willing to take. Give me Dark Adapted Eye anytime. (Neile)


Further info:

Harmony Ridge Music in conjunction with SilverPark of England are re-issuing the Danielle Dax video Danielle Dax-Live From London recorded at the Camden Palace Theatre, London, on September 30th, 1985.


Thanks to Jens P. Tagore Brage, Doug Burks, and Neal Copperman for work on this entry.

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