Small Metal Gods

‘A new frontier’

From the completion of The World is Everything tour in 2007 there was great anticipation of David Sylvian’s next vocal project. Sketchy details surfaced of earlier studio sessions with members of the experimental improvisation group Polwechsel, and a release date in autumn 2008 was mooted – but the year closed without any news.

The following March it was announced on David’s official website that preparations were underway for the release of a new album entitled Manafon, described as ‘a powerfully bold, uncompromising work.’ Still the waiting went on, with a September 2009 release finally confirmed and, a few weeks ahead of that, a new web-site launched for the forthcoming album. There, immediately available, was a video for the opening track, ‘Small Metal Gods’. After all the expectation there was new work to digest. Continue reading “Small Metal Gods”

Red Earth (as summertime ends)

‘A completely different approach and feel’

It seems that there were certain aspects of being in a band that David Sylvian felt liberated from after Japan split up, but there were others that he missed almost immediately when setting out as a solo artist.

In 1986, just after the release of his second solo album Gone to Earth, he explained that his desire for musicians from a jazz background to perform on his records ‘came out of the frustration of working within a band like Japan which was studio-bound. Nothing was improvised except in rehearsals when you are putting the track together. Going into the studio everything was well prepared and you really knew what you were doing, and it was only a matter of sound you were working with. So, when Japan split up I wanted to get into something that had a bit more life to it, a bit more spontaneity to it.’ Continue reading “Red Earth (as summertime ends)”

The God of Silence

Sound collage art

The Uncommon Deities audio-visual installation heralded the start of David Sylvian’s creative input to the 2011 Punkt Festival in Kristiansand, Norway, where he was artist in residence. Invited by Punkt founders Erik Honoré and Jan Bang, Sylvian’s initial intention had been to re-stage an audio installation that he had provided for the Biennial of Canaries on Gran Canaria two years earlier. However, he saw the opportunity to bring together various creative threads to concoct a truly immersive experience for the first night of the festival. Continue reading “The God of Silence”

Playground Martyrs

Childhood trauma

Steve Jansen was a part of samadhisound from the start. He helped to develop the new label’s studio after David Sylvian relocated from California to the mountains of New Hampshire. Together the brothers explored the possibilities of the latest recording technology, and in 2002 they began to fashion compositions that would ultimately be part of the Nine Horses release. Steve even relocated for a year with his family to the remote former ashram site that was now home to Sylvian, his wife Ingrid Chavez and their children. As Sylvian took a six week break to record Blemish, Jansen turned his attentions to evolving material for a debut release under his own name. Continue reading “Playground Martyrs”

Laughter and Forgetting

‘Joie de vivre’

Brief airy atmospherics and then immediately, the voice.

‘Running like a horse between the trees
The ground beneath my feet
Gives me something to hold onto’

‘Laughter and Forgetting’ picks up from the theme of the song ‘Brilliant Trees’, here though the joy and optimism are more unreserved. ‘Brilliant Trees’ captures the faltering of conventional religious faith, yet transforming love is found in another’s eyes. In ‘Laughter and Forgetting’ the sense of loss is not so acute as Sylvian again uses imagery from nature to express a joie de vivre that I find uplifting and infectious. Continue reading “Laughter and Forgetting”