Vista blog

Talk about anything David Sylvian related.

Re: Vista blog

Postby javier on Fri Jan 22, 2021 9:13 am

Great article, and fantastic to finally understand the context of "The Church Bells Strike".

Thank you so much for your regular articles. They're the best new Sylvian-related things to come into existence in recent times.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Feb 05, 2021 1:55 pm

Thank you, javier, for your generous words which are truly appreciated.

I've just published an article on 'Pulling Punches', the opening track from Brilliant Trees. I feel this track is sometimes a little under-appreciated, maybe because of the video which is a firmly 1980s type affair and doesn't compare well with Anton Corbijn's work on 'Red Guitar' and 'The Ink in the Well'. I enjoy it both musically and lyrically.

Sadly the New York musicians brought in by David Sylvian, Wayne Braithwaite and Ronny Drayton, are no longer with us. Before Ronny passed in 2020 he talked extensively about how he became involved in the project and the experience of recording at Hansa by the Wall in Berlin.

There is also a very significant Jean Cocteau influence in the artwork for the single.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/02/05/pulling-punches/

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Feb 26, 2021 1:33 pm

The track 'Before and Afterlife' is the subject of the latest article.

First released as a short solo piece in the Visionaire 53: SOUND vinyl box set, it was then developed for inclusion on Arve Henriksen's superb ECM album 'Cartography'.

Sylvian contributed to two of the tracks on that release, also taking responsibility for naming each track.

Jan Bang was co-producer and created a tapestry of sampled sounds to underpin Arve's uniquely sensitive trumpet and Sylvian's poetry, which in this case traces his moves across the States with Ingrid.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/02/26/bef ... afterlife/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Mar 12, 2021 12:30 pm

I've revised and expanded the article on 'Laughter and Forgetting' from Gone to Earth.

From time to time more information comes to light on songs that I've already written about, so it's great to be able to go back and incorporate additional detail.

John Taylor and Kenny Wheeler's work on this is sublime. Do check out the track 'Fordor' mentioned in the article, it's one of many gems in their recorded output - like some lost out-take from the sessions that gave us 'Laughter and Forgetting.'

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2018/08/24/lau ... orgetting/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Mar 19, 2021 1:28 pm

I've just published a new article on David Sylvian's Everything and Nothing tour of 2001/2.

The was Keith Lowe's first time working with Sylvian, playing electric and acoustic bass in the band. In an exclusive interview, Keith talks about how he came to be involved, the band rehearsals including the way songs were shaped for performance, aspects of the stage-craft, and many other memories from the tour.

I saw this show over two nights in Hammersmith, London. In the preceding years I'd doubted that I'd ever see Sylvian play live again, but there he was playing songs from Japan to new material. Great memories.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/03/19/cov ... wers-live/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby javier on Sat Mar 27, 2021 4:16 am

I just listened to Fordor by Wheeler and Taylor.
Your description of it as reminiscent of Laughter and Forgetting is absolutely spot-on. Gorgeous stuff. Thanks for the recommendation.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Apr 09, 2021 12:38 pm

Thanks javier for listening to 'Fordor'. I truly love that piece!

To let everyone know: I've just published a new article on 'Song', the final striking section of David Sylvian's collaboration with Pulitzer Prize winning poet, Franz Wright. I will never forget hearing Franz's voice for the first time, during the premiere of The Kilowatt Hour trio of Sylvian/Fennesz/Mathieu at the Punkt festival in 2013.

Wright confronts mental anguish, suffering and mortality in the works featured in those shows and then subsequently in the release there's a light that enters houses with no other house in sight. He was facing his own serious illness, and sadly died in 2015.

During those final years Wright made hours of home recordings which came together in a film released in 2019, Franz Wright: Last Words. Franz's wife Elizabeth Oehlkers Wright told me about the poet's work with David Sylvian, those digital files created in his final years, and putting them together for the film.

Hearing that familiar voice once again in Last Words is a profound experience.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/04/09/song/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Apr 30, 2021 12:18 pm

The latest article to be published is about 'The Scent of Magnolia'.

Originally intended for Dead Bees on a Cake under a working title of '100 Years', it was finished the following year for inclusion on the Everything and Nothing retrospective. In 2018 it was finally given its place in the running order of Dead Bees... when the album was given its first vinyl release.

The rhythms are unlike anything else on the album and were created by Andreas Allen and Sebastian Morton. The article includes input from Andreas and Sebastian who reveal who played some of the live parts they treated, and give an insight into how the drum programming was achieved with the technology of the time.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/04/30/the ... -magnolia/

Thanks for reading.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby kitaj on Tue May 04, 2021 6:26 am

Thanks again, David J.

Your interpretation of several passages of the song's lyrics are insightful, and also interesting because I have for myself come to think this song actually marked a dent in the overall positivity of the love intoxication narrated throughout Dead Bees - a thematically darkened moment that had kind of begun with 'Darkest Dreaming' and was to go on, documenting and deepening this newfound divide all the way up to 'Before and Afterlife'; but at this stage, it reads like a new restlessness ("gaining the world", "leaving America", "ambush the world") after the blissful loving seclusion that had lasted the years before. The driving pace of the Allen/Morton version bears this restlessness out - the protagonist in motion and unrest, travelling, both literally and internally, again. Also, I somehow didn't think the "girl" was Ingrid - more Ameera, maybe? Like, a greater empathy establishing itself between father and child than the one between the child's mother and her soon-to-be-estranged husband. (And yes, I too wonder about its exclusion from 'Hypergraphia'.) I think he may have rewritten the lyrics for the new 'Scent of Magnolia' version - the old title, '100 Years', doesn't ring any bell to these new lyrics for me.

By the way, how did you all fellow fans take to the extended version of Dead Bees in the end? I haven't bought the vinyl, but I've not been able to get used to the new track order in the mirroring playlist I made myself listen to, so I came up with a personally more satisfying one, wherein among other track order changes I put 'Magnolia' between 'Dobro #1' and 'Midnight Sun', which works a charm for me also considering my above interpretation of the song's narrative. However, I didn't think the Allen/Morton version fits in that well with the whole album stylistically - it really feels like a late addendum to the collection, thus I prefer to consider it more of a shoulda-been single/12" standalone version; so I put the 'Portobello mix' in its place to be the 'album version' - which one, by the way, bears out the Indian sonic influence much more in Steve's percussion timbres and patterns, thus linking it both with 'Krishna Blue' and even 'Brilliant Trees', I'm happy to say.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby javier on Fri May 07, 2021 7:17 am

kitaj wrote:However, I didn't think the Allen/Morton version fits in that well with the whole album stylistically - it really feels like a late addendum to the collection, thus I prefer to consider it more of a shoulda-been single/12" standalone version; so I put the 'Portobello mix' in its place to be the 'album version' - which one, by the way, bears the Indian sonic influence much more in Steve's percussion timbres and patterns, thus linking it both with 'Krishna Blue' and even 'Brilliant Trees', I'm happy to say.


Absolutely agree with this. The original version always felt out of place to me too, but the Portobello mix slides in nicely with the overall feeling of the album.

Switching it out in this way (in an iTunes playlist) I have come to really enjoy the longer version of the album more than the original, including the different track order.

That said, I have reordered the album in a way that for me feels more cohesive thematically. 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.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Sat May 15, 2021 3:12 am

Some interesting thoughts on the expanded 'Dead Bees...' running order above, thanks kitaj and javier.

This update just to say that I have updated the article on Sylvian/Fripp's 'Firepower'. I will shortly publish a new piece about this collaboration and whilst researching for that some new insights came to light about 'Firepower', so I've incorporated them into the earlier piece first published in 2018.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2018/07/27/firepower/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri May 21, 2021 2:24 pm

I just published a new article about 'God's Monkey', the opening track from Sylvian/Fripp's The First Day.

David Bottrill's input to the album grew from engineer to programmer when drummer Jerry Marotta left the sessions, with 'God's Monkey' based around a groove Bottrill created from recordings of Marotta's improvisations whilst tuning up. Ultimately The First Day became Bottrill's debut full-album producer's credit, alongside Sylvian.

Percussionist Marc Anderson was invited by Sylvian to join the project and told me about his experiences at Dreamland studio.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/05/21/gods-monkey/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby Blemished on Fri May 28, 2021 6:16 am

Really enjoyed this one (well they're all brilliant of course). Always been fascinated by David Bottrill given his work with David and Peter Gabriel especially. The sound of those two Gabriel albums - Passion and Us - is really beautiful.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Jun 11, 2021 12:06 pm

Thanks, Blemished, for the feedback on the 'God's Monkey' article.

The latest article published is about the Concert for Japan in 2011, specifically Ryuichi Sakamoto's set which included input from David Sylvian and Christian Fennesz.

Sakamoto had been in Japan when the earthquake and tsunami hit. The concert was staged within a month of the catastrophe, Sakamoto's music drawing on various cultural references to reflect on events that would have a profound impact on him and the country of his birth in the coming years.

Sylvian read a series of poems by Arseny Tarkovsky which took on a new resonance in the aftermath of the tragedy.

Here's the link, which includes the video of the performance (courtesy of davidsylvian.net): https://sylvianvista.com/2021/06/11/concert-for-japan/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Jun 25, 2021 1:47 pm

I've just published a much expanded article on 'Plight' from David Sylvian's first collaboration with Holger Czukay, released in 1988.

The sessions for 'Plight & Premonition' were much earlier - in 1986, in fact. It's no exaggeration to say that this record changed the way I listen to music and took me into new musical territory. I love every note of it.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2018/05/18/plight/
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