sylvian - worst to best

From Brilliant Trees through Died In The Wool...

Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Blemished on Sat Jun 11, 2016 10:34 am

Interesting comments from all. David definitely seems to have reached some kind of hiatus in his music and methods (in contrast to Steve, who seems quite energised).

He was talking about using improvisation as a way of generating material back in the 80s and I guess the Samadhi decade saw him finally work that way - either partly on his own (Blemish) or relying almost entirely on others for the music (Manafon). I still think he's achieved amazing things with those albums - different to his classic era for sure, but interesting and beautiful too. But where does he go now?

"Do you know me now?" showed that he can still work the old view - songs from chords - with the same magic still there. I would guess that Jan Bang filled out the song partly because David's studio was being closed down, partly because - as Kitaj says - he has internalised David's sound world.

But he seems to be keener to continue with the sound universe of Manafon / DITW etc and 'There Is A Light..." seemed to me to be an attempt to move that way compositionally - constructing things from samples, yes, but not improvising. I'm not sure how far that can take him. He always seemed to have an intuitive, quick working core - even if all the rest was much more painstaking.

I don't know where he'll go next - if anywhere - and am not sure I have any preference. Perhaps he really could do with working more collaboratively with others, but can he do that in a different way to the past? Up to now, he either composes the song and works with others to fill it out or has others provide music that he can construct songs into. Is there another way?

I've been enjoying Radiohead's new album a lot, and am struck by how much it benefits from group strengths - Jonny Greenwood's film composing work has brought amazing string arrangements to complement Thom Yorke's songs. That was the role that Sakamoto played with Sylvian and maybe he needs something akin to that to move forward again?
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Tin Bird on Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:08 am

Hey Blemish, in case you haven't heard this in a while, thanks for keeping this site going. Despite somewhat thinning interest and a lack of major works from Sylvian, you have kept at it. I appreciate your efforts.

Totally just jumped in my head, any chance of a change or update to the heading pic at the top of the page? Maybe a contest to see who could design the coolest montage or collage? Just a thought...thanks again.
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Tin Bird on Sun Jul 31, 2016 7:13 am

david_sylvian_mountains_1332769935_crop_550x383.jpg
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Perhaps this would do?
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Foales Arishes on Sun Jul 31, 2016 9:13 am

Tin Bird wrote:Hey Blemish, in case you haven't heard this in a while, thanks for keeping this site going. Despite somewhat thinning interest and a lack of major works from Sylvian, you have kept at it. I appreciate your efforts.


Yes... seconded.

We really need DS to give us something to get our teeth into... I look in a couple of times a week in the hope there is something new :cry:

BTW... what is the current header image from?
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby inkinthewell on Sun Jul 31, 2016 1:07 pm

Tin Bird wrote:Hey Blemish, in case you haven't heard this in a while, thanks for keeping this site going. Despite somewhat thinning interest and a lack of major works from Sylvian, you have kept at it. I appreciate your efforts.

Totally agree. Thanks. :smt038
I have been logging in less, recently, but that's due to a recent change in my life that leaves me less free time. Anyway, this is the place I come to to check if there's any news. (I only go to the davidsylvian.com news page when in need of seasonal greetings. :D)

To Foales: the current header image is a detail of the back cover of Wandermüde (bottom right corner).
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Blemished on Sun Jul 31, 2016 2:47 pm

Tin Bird wrote:Hey Blemish, in case you haven't heard this in a while, thanks for keeping this site going. Despite somewhat thinning interest and a lack of major works from Sylvian, you have kept at it. I appreciate your efforts.

Totally just jumped in my head, any chance of a change or update to the heading pic at the top of the page? Maybe a contest to see who could design the coolest montage or collage? Just a thought...thanks again.


Hi Tin Bird, Foales and InkInTheWell. Thank you all for the kind comments. Am glad to keep the site going, even if limited news makes it a little arid at times. I also really appreciate all of you who take the time to chip in with news and opinions regarding all the various ex members of Japan's work - there are so many things I know I for one would have missed without seeing those threads. I still think this format adds something that Facebook comments don't and will keep it going as long as it makes some kind of sense. It's nice being part of a small community who all appreciate this music.

I'd be very happy to refresh the header image - although I did chose a more abstract image to avoid some of the controversy on being too DS focused etc. I've even thought of trying to license a band image from Steve, but am not sure whether would get any response. The mountain image is great - happy to hear views / suggestions - if you want a poll to chose something we can do that too?

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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby natsume on Tue Aug 02, 2016 7:57 am

Echo the thanks to blemished and to the rest of us idlers who keep an eye on this forum!
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Foales Arishes on Tue Aug 02, 2016 1:47 pm

inkinthewell wrote:To Foales: the current header image is a detail of the back cover of Wandermüde (bottom right corner).


Ah ha... thankyou Ink :) ….. I own that album too, but I somehow have failed to notice the image on the back was a portion of the header :oops:


Blemished wrote:Hi Tin Bird, Foales and InkInTheWell. Thank you all for the kind comments. Am glad to keep the site going, even if limited news makes it a little arid at times.


That's great news Blemished.... I hope David gives us something to talk about soon with an increase in forum traffic. I can't see him doing a Mark Hollis, and vanishing from the music world altogether, but the gaps between projects may get longer. He has so much to offer as a musician and a visual artist that I seem baffled (or maybe more frustrated) by his lack of output... His photography and music/soundart could combine so well into a large scale projects.... and his name still carries enough weight to make his work viable commercially {if on a smaller, and more select market scale}. To me he should be at the peak of his creative powers, bringing many elements together, yet little seems to happen.

Re: Header.... I really like the current one, and feel any replacement should reflect where we are in the arc of the artists involved. An old Japan/Sylvian image seems out of step with where we are at. To me it should reflect something more contemporary and not hark back to the past; something which seems more in step with what all the remaining members of Japan (but mostly DS himself) are doing at this point in time. :)
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby missouriman on Tue Aug 02, 2016 3:52 pm

A black hole pretty much sums up where they all are right now. Sorry for the negativity.
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Tin Bird on Tue Aug 02, 2016 5:05 pm

filigree.jpg
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Two modern images that might work...
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby chlorine on Wed Aug 03, 2016 1:03 pm

With regards to Mr. Sylvian’s ‘appropriation’ or ‘curation’ of other’s work, this activity is consistent with his role as a composer. Frank Zappa stated in The Real Frank Zappa Book that the role of the composer is to essentially organize or ‘frame’ musical elements. Zappa was expanding on views espoused by other composers, notably John Cage. Any good musician will interpret musical instructions, whether these are written notation or verbal cues, to produce a variety of different-sounding pieces of music. For example, compare Japan’s version of Ain’t That Peculiar with those produced by Marvin Gaye, George Benson, or Chocolate Genius. That Sylvian instructs his musicians by verbal cues and then shapes the result into a coherent piece of music is both legitimate and an act of creativity. Moreover, his skills are singular. Very few composers have attempted – to my knowledge – to produce works like Manafon, Blemish, Plight and Premonition, or Flux and Mutability. The works of his collaborators also differ significantly from the work produced by Sylvian – further attesting to the singularity of Sylvian’s vision. Finally, Sylvian’s approach to producing music is shared by a number of well-known composers. Adrian Belew vividly described David Bowie and Brian Eno recording and using his responses to unfamiliar pieces of music. They refused to even tell Belew the key in which the music started. The results of these experiments are evident on Bowie’s album Lodger. Similar methods were used throughout Bowie’s and Eno’s careers. Neither of these gentlemen has been accused of merely appropriating the work of their collaborators.
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Tin Bird on Thu Aug 04, 2016 7:41 am

Hey there Chlorine and welcome! I agree w you about Sylvian's collaborative skills...he has talked in the past about choosing particular individuals to serve the music or who he feels will be sympathetic to the ideas he is pursuing. Artists such as Bill Nelson, Michael Brook, Jon Hassell, Robert Fripp, Ryuichi Sakamoto, David Torn, Holger Czukay come to mind... Frankly, I'd like to see a little more of this, but perhaps back to a bit more of the traditional songwriting avenue. I feel that some of the improv folks he works w these days are fairly limited w what they can bring to the table and while much of it has worked in a unique way over the past few projects (one highlight surely being his collab w Christian Fennesz on A Fire in the Forest), one could argue that the pallet of sounds and expansiveness of the music has become a bit samey and even suffered a bit. I mean, I think Toshimaru Nakamura's sounds are cool and everything, but they add very little in terms of structure to a song and one wonders if perhaps Sylvian himself could have made similar sounds as an adjunct instead of a basis for a track. I don't need orchestras. I don't need stadium rock crowd pleasing choruses, but I would like for Sylvian to flex his tunesmith skills a bit more and not have to force his words to fit w random bursts of static all the time.
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby inkinthewell on Tue Sep 13, 2016 4:54 pm

Blemished wrote:I'd be very happy to refresh the header image - although I did chose a more abstract image to avoid some of the controversy on being too DS focused etc.

There's a new header image now, and I think it's a good one. Well done!
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Foales Arishes on Wed Sep 14, 2016 6:52 am

inkinthewell wrote:
Blemished wrote:I'd be very happy to refresh the header image - although I did chose a more abstract image to avoid some of the controversy on being too DS focused etc.

There's a new header image now, and I think it's a good one.


Not that is anything to do with me, but I'm not keen personally... I think mainly because the image of David is an odd greeny/grey and gloomy (plus his head is much bigger) and the other members are bright and more pure B&W... it looks ill balanced. But that is just my opinion :)

Now summer is over (ha-ha we are having a mini heat wave in the UK) I'm looking forward to playing more DS... his music is not really summer music, and I bearly think about playing him until the trees start to change to golds and yellows... silly me I know :P
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Re: sylvian - worst to best

Postby Tin Bird on Thu Sep 15, 2016 6:30 am

I appreciate the change of header... I certainly like it more than the last one. Being that I am more a Sylvian fan and slightly less a Japan fan (although I sill like their music), I perhaps would prefer a more Sylvian-focused image (not sure of Dean is a required pic either), but I know Blemish was wanting to get away from that. I think it's a good effort and applaud the change! :-)

PS just to add to my two cents of opinion comments...I guess making it three cents :lol: , rather than faces, I would have preferred a more artful rendition...symbolism over literal...but it's all good.
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