God’s Monkey

‘the blindness, the absolute darkness’

For the music of Sylvian/Fripp there would be a move away from the vocalist’s long-standing studio partner. Steve Nye had been involved as producer, engineer or mixer from Japan’s Tin Drum, throughout Sylvian’s trio of solo albums and onto Rain Tree Crow’s eponymous release in 1991. ‘I had a desire to go into another sonic area,’ explained the singer. ‘I love the warmth and beauty of the tones that Steve gets. Steve also used to give me a lot of feedback on the way I arranged things. But as I have continued to develop, it just seemed natural to move away. We’d exhausted our relationship to some degree. We might work together again, but for now I enjoy working with different engineers and co-producers.’

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The Banality of Evil

‘a more unpredictable approach’

Robert Fripp’s online diary, 20th October 2004:
‘Today’s work in London is a recording session for David Sylvian’s new solo album. Eden Studios is conveniently just around the corner from the bijou Chateau de Petite Chevalle [an affectionate reference to the Willcox/Fripp residence in Chiswick, just north of the Thames in London].

Today’s session: for me, a treat. David & his brother Steve were both waiting when I arrived…’

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Taking the Veil

‘capturing moments in time’

The collection of songs that came together to form disc one of Gone to Earth was created in two distinct phases. David Sylvian first spent time developing a trio of tracks that he anticipated would form part of a release alongside ‘Steel Cathedrals’ or ‘Words with the Shaman’. These were ‘Laughter and Forgetting’, ‘Before the Bullfight’ and the track first known as ‘Saints and Sheep’ which ultimately found life as ‘Wave’.

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Damage

‘a healing of sorts’

London’s Royal Albert Hall is a spectacular venue for any kind of event. You alight from the underground at South Kensington station just a few streets away from Stanhope Gardens in whose elegant white-washed apartments Messrs Sylvian, Jansen, Barbieri and Karn lived during the height of Japan’s success, and where Steve Jansen photographed the lead singer on the rooftop by night as part of the shoot for the ‘Ghosts’ single. Heading north, past the grandeur of the National History Museum and V&A, you reach the magnificent concert hall opposite the memorial to Prince Albert in Hyde Park. With its rotunda construction, terracotta mosaics and imposing roof of glass and wrought iron it really is like nowhere else. Continue reading “Damage”

Wave

from ‘Saints and Sheep’

I was at university in London in the mid-1980s, and my primary connection to what was happening in the world of the ex-members of Japan was the fanzine Bamboo. I would eagerly anticipate each new issue, taking a walk after lectures to the Virgin megastore on Tottenham Court Road to check whether they might have a new issue in stock. If in luck, I’d hop on the bus back to Denmark Hill, make a coffee and sit in the one easy chair in my student accommodation to devour the content from cover to cover. The full set of these A5 volumes still sits proudly in my music cabinet at home – and if any of the dedicated band of instigators and contributors should read this, then please accept grateful thanks for being a lifeline to fans in those days before the information superhighway. Continue reading “Wave”