David Sylvian’s first musical endeavour after the release of the Rain Tree Crow album was to provide input to a number of tracks for Hector Zazou’s project based around the life and work of French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Contractual issues later led to the bizarre situation where this album, Sahara Blue, was first released in 1992 with two vocal performances by Sylvian – credited mysteriously as Mr. X – and then reissued that same year with replacement songs featuring Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard of the band Dead Can Dance.
Most commentary on Sylvian’s involvement with Zazou has centred on the withdrawal of his primary input to the project, and consequently until recently I had heard little about the creation of the album. Thankfully the two tracks – ‘Victim of Stars’ and ‘To a Reason’ – are not completely ‘lost’ works, given copies of the first edition exist and can still be tracked down through resellers and online. ‘Victim of Stars’ bears the ever beautiful piano of Ryuichi Sakamoto and has a fascinating lyric penned by Sylvian and directly inspired by Rimbaud’s creative genius. It’s a piece deserving of far greater exposure than it received and well worthy of a place in Sylvian’s catalogue of collaborative work.