Many years ago, in the sixth form at school, I was introduced to the music of the band Japan. I was captured. This was the time of the album Tin Drum, and that most weird of singles – ‘Ghosts’. I listened to the music of the band intently, loving the craft of it – music and lyrics.
In 1984, David Sylvian’s debut solo album Brilliant Trees was released. What had been a fascination became a deep appreciation. I love that album. To this day it is my favourite album by any artist, ever – simply because of the impact it had on me back then. It opened up new musical horizons and a journey of discovery that has lasted for over thirty years so far.
One of the great joys of having followed the music of David Sylvian over these years is being introduced to an array of artists with whom he has worked. In recent years I was travelling extensively and I discovered a new way to appreciate this work. Of course, nothing can beat sitting down and listening to an album in its entirety, as the artist intended. But a complementary approach for me became listening to the music of David Sylvian alongside that of his collaborators. I built a playlist which became a companion as I travelled all over the world.
I named that playlist Vista. For me this captures the breadth and the beauty of the music. Today my Vista playlist has over 250 tracks and I continue to add to it as the journey of discovery continues. I find myself reacquainting myself with music that I haven’t listened to for years and finding new treasures too.
This blog is partly a challenge to myself to articulate why this music means so much and why it reaches me like no other. I’d love to share with you some of the music that I’ve discovered along the way, to hear your thoughts and to be introduced to pieces from this cast of musicians that are as yet undiscovered by me. You may like to listen to some of the songs on my playlist or create one of your own, you may not like this approach at all and find some of the selections wrong for you – whatever the case, I hope this site might prompt you to listen afresh to some of this music in the way that suits you best.
This blog will be all about the music. It is not intended as a biography of the man; those exist elsewhere. Neither is this an extensive discography, these can be found at davidsylvian.com and davidsylvian.net. The thoughts included here are my own and I make no claim that they are the truth; the music is there to be interpreted by the listener as part of their own experience. Your truth, your response, is as valid as mine.
Only one plea – as we discover the vista of music, let’s listen in a way that supports the musicians whose work we admire.
Humbly presented, this is my Vista blog.
‘I have often said that the desire is to blow the listeners’ hearts wide open. By this, I mean I want them to be moved to the point of abandonment. This would be beautiful, an ideal, but it is too much to expect. That the work might resonate in the lives of others is no lesser achievement, and one I might more modestly aspire to.’ David Sylvian, 2010