Brilliant Trees

Music and lyrics in perfect harmony

‘Without wishing to embarrass you, I think that’s probably the finest piece of music that you have recorded to date.’ David ‘Kid’ Jensen made this comment when interviewing David Sylvian on his UK Radio One show, having just played the title track from Sylvian’s new album. This was in mid-June 1984, two weeks ahead of the album’s release, and was the first time that I – and I’m sure many others – had heard the piece. Continue reading “Brilliant Trees”

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”

Plight

‘the spiralling of winter ghosts’

1988. Home with the vinyl in my hand. Plight & Premonition. First play. A quiet start – turn it up. Then jump out of my skin, startled by that vibrating, loud percussive alarm! Senses heightened now, like exploring unfamiliar territory, unsure of what will be discovered.. ..dark, with occasional glimpses of light.. ‘the spiralling of winter ghosts’ indeed. Continue reading “Plight”

A History of Holes

The stories we create to tell ourselves

Snow Borne Sorrow by Nine Horses is an album that emerged from a strange origin of creative alchemy. Two projects were underway: collaborations between David Sylvian and Steve Jansen, and between Sylvian and the German composer/programmer Burnt Friedman (initially featuring Jaki Liebezeit). Nine Horses arrived in 2005 but the Jansen/Sylvian collaboration began much earlier, indeed some pieces pre-dated Sylvian’s startling 2003 solo album Blemish. The latter exhibited a quite different approach to the material under development with Jansen, displaying a pared back approach to instrumentation and with improvisation at its heart in both music and lyrics.

Continue reading “A History of Holes”

I Surrender

The joy of love, human and divine

‘I Surrender’. The track that broke a long silence. In the previous five years only a handful of collaborative tracks had been released and indeed David Sylvian admitted that at times the happy circumstances of his life may have resulted in him leaving music behind altogether.

Continue reading “I Surrender”