Blackcrow Hits Shoe Shine City

‘this dark emotional experience personified’

As the sun set on an artistically fruitful 1980s and a new decade dawned, collaborative projects would be the primary outlet for David Sylvian. ‘For the past almost three or four years, I’ve being going through quite a powerful emotional change in my life and it took me a long time to come to terms with what was happening. So I thought, rather than just slogging away without getting to grips with it, I should perhaps collaborate and allow myself to work more on the spur of the moment,’ he explained in 1991, as the eagerly awaited reunion project of the former members of Japan – Rain Tree Crow – was first shared with an intrigued audience.

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Midnight Sun – live

‘lost in the sound every night’

Recently David Sylvian reflected on the various live outings he has made since his first solo tour, In Praise of Shamans, in 1988. His recollections were particularly warm in relation to the Everything and Nothing tour which included stints in both 2001 and 2002. It was, he said, ‘enjoyable due to the fluency of the musicianship and the shared camaraderie.’ The musicians had evidently enjoyed their time spent together: ‘Socially speaking, everyone found their comfort zone and stayed within it.’ (2021)

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The Ink in the Well

‘years with a genius for living’

At the end of the behind the scenes video that takes us ‘fly-on-the-wall’ into the sessions for Brilliant Trees in Berlin, a relaxed David Sylvian leans against the studio wall enjoying a snack of ice cream – the only food he could find in the café next door to the studio suitable for his newly adopted vegetarian diet. He confides to Yuka Fujii, who is behind the camera, ‘I should have just under an album’s worth of material when I get back to London. But I think I will use some of it as a separate single, because it doesn’t sit together as one album. So I will get back to London and I will write some more, and go into the studio and try to finish that.’

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The Other Side of Life

‘a new high mark of maturity’

There were fundamental differences in band preparations for Japan’s third LP. The material for the first two albums, Steve Jansen explained, ‘was performed extensively live before we had the opportunity to record it. Therefore, those albums serve more as a document of what we’d learnt as a group performing together. There was very little recording craft involved, just a lot of energy and influences from an eclectic mix of styles, which were all a part of our early teenage years onwards.

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Zero Landmine

‘a real hope’

‘Lt Colonel Colin Mitchell became famous in the late 1960s as commanding officer of the Argyle and Sutherland Highlanders,’ explains Chris Moon, recalling his job interview with the colonel early in 1993, as he searched for the right assignment to follow his own service in the military. ‘He set up a mine clearance charity after visiting Afghanistan, where he saw farmers unable to work their land, refugees who couldn’t go home and a Red Cross hospital full of amputees.’

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