Victim of Stars

Poetic inspiration

David Sylvian’s first musical endeavour after the release of the Rain Tree Crow album was to provide input to a number of tracks for Hector Zazou’s project based around the life and work of French poet Arthur Rimbaud. Contractual issues later led to the bizarre situation where this album, Sahara Blue, was first released in 1992 with two vocal performances by Sylvian – credited mysteriously as Mr. X – and then reissued that same year with replacement songs featuring Brendan Perry and Lisa Gerrard of the band Dead Can Dance.

Most commentary on Sylvian’s involvement with Zazou has centred on the withdrawal of his primary input to the project, and consequently until recently I had heard little about the creation of the album. Thankfully the two tracks – ‘Victim of Stars’ and ‘To a Reason’ – are not completely ‘lost’ works, given copies of the first edition exist and can still be tracked down through resellers and online. ‘Victim of Stars’ bears the ever beautiful piano of Ryuichi Sakamoto and has a fascinating lyric penned by Sylvian and directly inspired by Rimbaud’s creative genius. It’s a piece deserving of far greater exposure than it received and well worthy of a place in Sylvian’s catalogue of collaborative work.

Continue reading “Victim of Stars”

Forbidden Colours (version)

Unresolved questioning

When David Sylvian entered Berlin’s Hansa studios in the summer of 1983 to start putting together his debut solo album, Brilliant Trees, amongst his top priorities was returning to the recent chart success ‘Forbidden Colours’, in which his vocal melody was interweaved with Ryuichi Sakamoto’s soundtrack theme for Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence. The intent of this was not to lend some familiarity and commercial impetus to the new release, but rather to re-work the composition from a new musical palette. It was also recognition that in this song, Sylvian found his voice for the new chapter. Continue reading “Forbidden Colours (version)”

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 interviewing David Sylvian on his UK Radio One show, having just played the title track from Sylvian’s new album two weeks ahead of its release, mid-June 1984. It was the first time that I – and I’m sure many others – had heard this piece. Continue reading “Brilliant Trees”

I Surrender

The joy of love, human and divine

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