Exit/Delete

Unlocking expression

Masakatsu Takagi first worked with David Sylvian on the Fire in the Forest tour which started out in the UK in September 2003, ending in Japan in spring 2004. The dates were put together based on the unexpected success of Blemish. Budgetary constraints meant that the on-stage musicians would be David Sylvian and his brother Steve Jansen only, and the nature of the material dictated that the performance would be largely laptop-based and consequently somewhat static. Another element was required for the mix, a visual component to provide added depth to the audience’s experience. Yuka Fujii became aware of Takagi’s innovative moving image work, shared samples with Sylvian, and so it was that he came to complete the on-stage trio.

Takagi had not been familiar with Sylvian’s work before the approach to collaborate on the road, other than an early band image that was engrained on his consciousness: ‘I just knew him from a picture on the sleeve of a Japan album. I found it when I was in junior high school; I thought, “What is this? And why are they making up their faces???” haha.. ..So I only remembered his face..’ He soon came to appreciate the pieces featured in the live performances, however; ‘I love every track he did at that tour.’ (MT, 2004) Continue reading “Exit/Delete”

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. 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”