Dead Bees on a Cake - what track order works best?

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Dead Bees on a Cake - what track order works best?

Postby javier on Sun Jun 06, 2021 7:31 am

Following some comments in the Vista thread (http://www.japansylvian.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=5707), I thought I'd start a thread specific to the reordering of tracks on the album.

I have come to really enjoy the longer version of the album more than the original, including the different track order.

However I still feel that the narrative of the album jumps around quite a lot, so I reordered the album in a way that for me feels more cohesive thematically. For example I always felt I Surrender to be something of a song of epiphany, so it didn't really make sense to me as the album opener. I feel the songs of realization/devotion belong together rather than scattered throughout, and the "darker" songs belong earlier, to make the flow of the album more a journey of progression.

Yes I know, Sylvian sequenced it how he thought best and I'm not accusing him of making any mistakes. I just enjoy this different flow, after 21 years of the original.

It's difficult to really have a clear picture of the narrative, as many tracks have ambiguous lyrics. Whether David is speaking of his love of the divine, or of Ingrid or his guru isn't always clear, which means any "chronological" sequence of tracks is up for debate. I like this. It reminds me of the ambiguity of many of George Harrison's lyrics.

As Kitaj mentioned in the other thread, the Portobello mix of Scent of Magnolia feels like it belongs better in the flow of the album, so I use that version.

I leave out Aparna and Nimisha as it doesn't seem to really "belong" anywhere. Similarly, Alphabet Angel doesn't seem to fit into any overall narrative either, and the lyrics of Albuquerque might benefit from more explanation. But I've kept these two songs in.

For anyone interested, this is the order of my "Dead Bees - reordered" playlist:

01. Dobro #1
02. Midnight Sun
03. God Man
04. Alphabet Angel
05. The Shining of Things
06. The Scent of Magnolia (Portobello mix)
07. Albuquerque
08. Pollen Path
09. Cover Me With Flowers
10. All of My Mother's Names
11. I Surrender
12. Krishna Blue
13. Thalheim
14. Cafe Europa
15. Wanderlust
16. Praise
17. Darkest Dreaming

I'd be interested to know if anyone else plays the album in a different order, and where their interpretation of the album narrative might differ from mine.
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Re: Dead Bees on a Cake - what track order works best?

Postby kitaj on Fri Jun 11, 2021 6:03 am

Thanks javier, very interesting to read your motivations for your own reshuffling of DBoaC. I might try your sequence to hear how it works.

Mine is different, as I attempted to cover all bases: ears first above all else, I strove to preserve at least half of the original 1999 cd sequence which I've always thought works beautifully, keeping its adventurous juxtaposition both in style and content (DS' own extended vinyl tracklist failed me somewhat in this regard), while attempting to make a nicely balanced double-vinyl/2x50-min sequence that would go as far as to include the two period outtakes not comprised in the vinyl reissue, which may or may not be included in the listening session at one's pleasure, but with a view to make the 'extended version' really complete. The 'spiritual narrative' was a concern as well, though in my case it's more of a topsy-turvy, light-and-shade, rise/fall/rise, rocky road to Wherever as was probably the case in DS' mind's eye. I've even changed one song title which I thought deserved better! So, after much trial and tweaking over the past year, here's what I came up with:

DEAD BEES on a CAKE {20(/)20 extended version}

CD1:
*LP Side 1*
1. I Surrender
2. Rain All Summer (dobro #1)
3. The Scent of Magnolia*
*(Portobello mix)
4. Midnight Sun
*LP Side 2*
5. Thalheim
6. GodMan
7. Alphabet Angel
8. Krishna Blue
9. Shadowland*
*(CD and digital, possible bonus vinyl single B-side)

CD2:
*LP Side 3*
1. The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection*
*(CD and digital, possible bonus vinyl single A-side)
2. Cover Me with Flowers
3. Albuquerque (dobro #6)
4. Café Europa
5. The Shining of Things
6. Pollen Path
*LP Side 4*
7. Praise
8. Wanderlust
9. All of My Mother's Names
10. Aparna and Nimisha (dobro #5)
11. Darkest Dreaming

Dreaming on, the vinyl would be a gloss or matte 12-inch reproduction of the wonderful Shinya/Mills/Coppenhall original CD sleeve, gilding in place, with Shinya's 'Madonna with dog' drawing on the rear side of the gatefold (*Sigh* at the thought of the actual vinyl release...), and would include a 45-rpm single with the two bonus outtakes. Digital code included, of course.
The 2-cd would be a nice gloss or matte 'digibook' akin to the latest couple of Kate Bush releases, or a 'Japanese miniLP' reproduction of the 2xLP design, or a sturdier digipak (no ordinary jewelbox).
Last edited by kitaj on Mon Jul 12, 2021 4:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Dead Bees on a Cake - what track order works best?

Postby javier on Wed Jun 30, 2021 5:16 am

Oh, I like the addition of The Song Which Gives the Key to Perfection and Shadowland* . I shall definitely incorporate those into my version!

You have certainly thought a lot more about track lengths and how things would fit onto various physical formats - something I didn't give a single moment of consideration to.

Yes, I appreciate the topsy-turvy approach of your arrangements. I'll give them a listen. I originally tried to come up with a similar "ears-first" reordering, but I couldn't get the idea of a narrative out of my head so gave up pretty quickly.


*(I would probably favour the original How Safe Is Deep version)
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Re: Dead Bees on a Cake - what track order works best?

Postby Nicrobliz on Sun Jul 25, 2021 3:05 pm

Interesting track listings. Personally, I thought DBOAC was bloated and could have done with some paring down.

For example, I either don't care for or absolutely hate the following tracks:

Pollen Path
All of My Mother's Names
Wanderlust
Godman [nah, nah, nah, nah, nah, nah]
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