In 2004, David Sylvian entered Christoph Amann’s studios in Vienna for the initial sessions that would surface on Manafon some five years later. In reality, though, this wasn’t the beginning. The concept was to expand the approach of responding to freely improvised music through his own automatic writing, pioneered with such impact on Blemish. This time around the musical improvisations would not be Sylvian’s own, nor the output of a solo performer as was the case with Derek Bailey, but rather the result of the chemistry between small constellations of artists proficient in the field.
In searching for the right material to be his catalyst, Sylvian gave careful consideration as to who the right musical partners might be. ‘So much of the work is done prior to ever setting foot inside a studio,’ he explained, ‘via research, understanding the background, the aesthetics and flexibility of each musician involved, and selecting who should be in which ensemble with whom. These aren’t random decisions made out of convenience. They’re educated assessments.’Continue reading “Snow White in Appalachia”