Redemption

Approaching Silence

In 1989 a new building was opened for the Tochoji Zen Temple in Yotsuya, Tokyo. Initially established in 1594, the modern development was commissioned under the design of Takashi Serizawa to commemorate the Temple’s 400th anniversary. By now situated just minutes away from the Tokyo Metro amidst the bustle of modern Japanese urban life and commerce, the new complex skilfully combined modern design with a traditional aesthetic. Uniquely, Serizawa incorporated a basement auditorium within the layout and devised a plan for temple activities to be expanded to include cultural projects, particularly in the arena of contemporary art. Soon afterwards this basement venue was officially named ‘P3 art and environment’.

In March 1992 the tentative beginning of the Sylvian/Fripp project was introduced to the world with a short series of shows in Tokyo. These were staged in a trio formation with innovative Chapman Stick player Trey Gunn after a purposefully short writing and rehearsal period in London. Just as their collaboration began, connections were made that would ultimately coalesce for the epilogue to their co-credited work. ‘We came to visit P3 in ’92 when we were doing The First Day tour,’ explained Sylvian, ‘and as a result of that visit we were invited to create an installation work for this space.’

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Pulling Punches

‘an explosion of frustration’

‘Red Guitar’ was the first song heard from Brilliant Trees, being the advance single heralding Sylvian’s debut album. But when we carefully removed the vinyl from its designer inner-sleeve for the inaugural play of a Sylvian solo LP, it was ‘Pulling Punches’ that launched the ride into the unknown. And what an explosive, energetic opener it is.

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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.

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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.

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