Sunlight Seen Through Towering Trees

‘harmony between you and your environment’

A double album comprising a disc of vocal tracks accompanied by another of instrumental cuts was certainly an unusual proposition for a mid-’80s release from a pop artist with chart potential. Early in the genesis of the follow-up album to Brilliant Trees, Sylvian had toyed with releasing the first three vocal tracks he had written backed with ‘Steel Cathedrals’, or perhaps as part of a package with Words with the Shaman. Ultimately those instrumentals would see standalone release in video and EP form respectively, but when Gone to Earth eventually reached us it was in anything but a conventional format.

‘I was really just going to do a vocal album,’ said Sylvian on his press tour for the release, ‘but as I was writing, these instrumental pieces started coming, and there’s a kind of formula to the writing. And every morning I was getting up and I was writing, you know, maybe two of these, three of these pieces a day. And I ended up with such a large amount of material.’ Sylvian knew he wanted to pursue the recording of these instrumentals alongside the songs that would complete the vocal album, so Virgin were approached with the idea. It’s fair to say that the label was reluctant.

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