Before and Afterlife

Creating other worlds

When Jan Bang heard that Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær had been invited to rework a track for David Sylvian’s instrumental compilation, Camphor, he didn’t hold back in seeking a role in the commission. ‘I said to Nils, “If you are doing a remix of David Sylvian, I need to be on it.” Just like that,’ remembered Bang, laughing, in an interview with John Kelman for the All About Jazz website. ‘Nils and I had been working closely for so many years, and it sort of felt natural.’ (2010)

So why the drive to work with Sylvian? ‘While I was growing up, I was listening more to disco, R&B; that was what I was interested in. And then a change happened, by accident really. I was working in a record store, one that imported 12″ vinyl and mostly from London, so we had the fresh material from dance music from both the UK and the States. And there was this 12″ by David Sylvian, called ‘Red Guitar‘ from Brilliant Trees, and that changed the way I listened to music. I was listening to more American music at the time and this was totally the opposite – a more European aesthetic, more inwards than outwards-looking. With that, I became more curious and found more music that led me to Jon Hassell (who was involved with Brilliant Trees), and Scott Walker, the American singer that was based in Europe.’

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Ride – live

Chance adventures

Early in 1997, slipped in with the latest edition of the Medium newsletter – the official information service for Steve Jansen, Richard Barbieri and Mick Karn, was a simple A5 flyer. ‘LIVE at the London Astoria 2, Saturday 12 April 1997,’ it declared, ‘a one-off event with special guests.’

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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”

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 Bienal De Canarias 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”

A Certain Slant of Light

A new catalyst for composition

The vocal disc of David Sylvian’s 2011 album Died in the Wool comprises pieces that fall into three categories: variations on tracks from Sylvian’s Manafon album created by Japanese composer Dai Fujikura, Manafon variations led by Punkt festival founders Jan Bang and Erik Honoré, and six compositions appearing here for the first time. Continue reading “A Certain Slant of Light”