New David Sylvian Biography

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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby svendutchmountains on Fri Jan 03, 2014 9:18 am

Am mid-way through the book. On the whole I feel it is a good exploration of how David as a musician and lyricist has developed over time. However, I'm disappointed it does not really cover his photographs and other projects (Ember Glance, Redemption etc) in more detail.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby kuifje69 on Sat Feb 08, 2014 7:11 am

Received my copy last week.

A big applause for Chris!!

So far very interesting only...I am missing some pictures.

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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby inkinthewell on Mon Feb 17, 2014 2:12 pm

I hadn't realized that Chris is donating part of the royalties to the Japan Society Earthquake Relief Fund.
Well done.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby Tin Bird on Fri Apr 18, 2014 10:11 pm

svendutchmountains wrote:Am mid-way through the book. On the whole I feel it is a good exploration of how David as a musician and lyricist has developed over time. However, I'm disappointed it does not really cover his photographs and other projects (Ember Glance, Redemption etc) in more detail.

No offense meant Sven, but "...does not cover his photographs...?" What is the book supposed to say about his photos? And while I did very much enjoy Ember Glance, I don't see it as a major aspect of Sylvian's canon of work..more a side project. While worthy of mention, lengthy discussion I think might be superfluous. Anyway..my two cents for what it's worth (probably one cent or less) :lol:
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby svendutchmountains on Sat Apr 19, 2014 4:50 am

Hey Tin Bird,

No offence taken... It^s just that with close to 400 pages of small sized text, and excruciating detail and discussion around almost every stanza in David`s lyrics I had hoped to read more about how David approached his photography. His Polaroid collages are strikingly different in theme to the Glowing Enigma collages and far removed from the style he used in the Abandon/Hope series.

I know they are `just`side projects, as are the Redemption and Ember Glance projects but still... If you are going to cover the man in such detail then I had hoped these side projects would be covered as well.

Perhaps one reason for the lack of coverage is the fact that the book relied heavily on previously published interviews and interpretations of the lyrics - I have not seen much published from David discussing photography other than some press releases at the time of the exhibitions.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby Tin Bird on Sat Apr 19, 2014 7:45 am

Your last bit there stood out to me too which was why I did not purchase the book. Have read most of the DS articles out there and don't really need a detailed analysis of his lyrics (I can do that myself). I would be more interested in a true biography that went in to detail about his personal life story.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby inkinthewell on Sun Apr 20, 2014 3:06 am

Tin Bird wrote:I would be more interested in a true biography that went in to detail about his personal life story.

To be honest, there is plenty of that too.
And, to add my half cent, I'm half way through the book and, to me, it looks like anything but a "detailed analysis of the lyrics".
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby karnsculpture on Sun Apr 20, 2014 5:09 am

I enjoyed the book in part, especially the sections exploring the inspiration for lyrics and the spiritual ideas explored, but I found that I was spotting too many mistakes and omissions. For example, I wanted to follow up on a couple of references relating to Rain Tree Crow and Mick Karn and they turned out to be wrong (as in, the wrong writer or magazine quoted).

There were some factual mistakes relating to Sakamoto and Sandii for example, this kind of thing could have been fixed easily before printing. The problem is that Chris has relied on press sources when these contain mistakes, or can contradict each other. I think the book would have benefited from a couple of proof-readers or another researcher. I'm not knocking the core aims of the book, and the writing about the songs is very interesting, but the factual errors kept annoying me. Maybe the book would have been better as strictly an exploration of his songs and lyrics.

My other issue is the lack of coverage on his visual arts work. This runs alongside his musical work and in several cases is integral to it, not just a side-interest. Consider also the level of interest Sylvian has had in his visual representation (LP sleeves etc); often these provide insight into the music as the images were either commissioned or specifically chosen by him.

Sylvian also, for his own reasons, sometimes says things in quite a truthful but oblique way, so that you can take what he means in a couple of ways. The classic example is him saying he doesn't enjoy looking back to past work. Most people take that to mean that he dismisses it, doesn't care or won't look back, when actually he does (as anyone connected to any Japan reissue will tell you). He cares about how his past is presented and marketed and will exert influence if he can (see Victim Of Stars). This is the kind of area where talking to people he's worked with can be insightful, even if Sylvian himself chooses not to participate.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby dconnery1966 on Sun Apr 20, 2014 6:48 am

Right here goes , people going on about this and that about the book, if you could do better go on
and write a book about Sylvian then ? Could you do better :?:

And Paul what about this announcement about David's new book ? Still waiting ;-)

I Think Chris did a good job with the book, my opinion only :D

Dougie :D
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby inkinthewell on Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:28 am

karnsculpture wrote:the factual errors kept annoying me.

I agree.
dconnery1966 wrote:people going on about this and that about the book, if you could do better go on and write a book about Sylvian then ? Could you do better :?:

As karnsculpture pointed out, Dougie, this has nothing to do with the book's value, and it is not a finger pointed against Chris. But there are many mistakes and sometimes they are irritating (the french authors' names are nearly all misspelt: Satre instead of Sartre, Rodiguet instead of Radiguet, Boudelaire instead of Baudelaire, even though a few lines later it is spelt correctly; and even synthesizer is always wrongly spelt synthesiser). Minor issues, probably, but annoying.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby Tin Bird on Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:48 am

dconnery1966 wrote:Right here goes , people going on about this and that about the book, if you could do better go on
and write a book about Sylvian then ? Could you do better :?:

And Paul what about this announcement about David's new book ? Still waiting ;-)

I Think Chris did a good job with the book, my opinion only :D

Dougie :D


So, dc, unless we write a book on Sylvian ourselves that is "better" than this other book, we don't have a right to critique? I appreciate the reviews as they give me an idea of what to expect and help me decide to purchase or not. Don't know the author, have no dog in the hunt, still may purchase it yet. You sound like you are taking them personally...?
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby dconnery1966 on Sun Apr 20, 2014 7:57 am

Me taking them personally don't make me laugh, no infact you have made me laugh Tinbird :lol:
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby Tin Bird on Sun Apr 20, 2014 8:52 am

Glad I could oblige dc. :wink:
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby Blemished on Sun Apr 20, 2014 11:46 am

inkinthewell wrote: and even synthesizer is always wrongly spelt synthesiser)


Pedant's corner, but that's the British / English spelling - the 'z' version is American.

I'm glad the book exists, but I was a bit troubled by the way that Sylvian's view was represented through interviews. It was like a character being created from clippings. I never really felt that I was getting beyond what I've gleaned from years of following his work, even if it is good to have everything in one place.

I think there is another book to be written about Sylvian's solo career, but I think it would require first hand access to all of the main characters. Sylvian doesn't seem interested in that and Robert Fripp, for example, has stated very clearly that he would never give his views on those he's worked with in that way. Would Sakamoto be willing to discuss their work together?

Anthony Reynolds's book will get nearer that given his access to key sources but, of course, will only focus on Japan and the early solo era.
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Re: New David Sylvian Biography

Postby inkinthewell on Sun Apr 20, 2014 1:00 pm

Blemished wrote:
inkinthewell wrote: and even synthesizer is always wrongly spelt synthesiser)


Pedant's corner, but that's the British / English spelling - the 'z' version is American.

Pedant's corner 2: this is the whole entry for the word in The New Oxford Dictionary Of English: synthesizer noun, an electronic musical instrument, typically operated by a keyboard, producing a wide variety of sounds by generating and combining signals of different frequencies.

If you look up any word that has different UK/US spellings, (colour, for example), you get this: colour (US color) noun etc.

P.S. From some of Anthony Reynolds's posts on Facebook it looks like there could be two books: one focusing on the Japan era, and the second on the post-Japan years.
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