Jun 30, 2013

Sundaze 1326

Hello, so tonight The Rolling Stones finally got their Ya Ya's out at Glastobury, it was an impressive display by the senior rockers. Mick Jagger looked like his 20 something selve, apart from his well grooved face showing his age, he'll be 70 next month, same goes for his partner in crime, Keith Richards who'll have to wait 5 months longer for his seventh cross. I wonder how those of their generation who watched tonight felt, how this was possible whilst looking at themselves. Still i suppose they must have felt proud seeing their generation represented like this. "They still can't get no Satisfaction" !

We had Richard Barbieri, Steve Jansen, Mick Karn and I won't deny you the man in the foreground, the singer and poet noire for whom keeping his cool is a lifestyle. David Sylvian (David Batt, 23 February 1958) came to prominence in the late 1970s as the lead vocalist and main songwriter in the group Japan. His subsequent solo work encompasses not only solo projects but also a series of fascinating collaborative efforts in a variety of musical styles and genres, including jazz, avant-garde, ambient, electronic, and progressive rock.

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Japan became an alternative glam rock outfit in the mould of David Bowie, T.Rex, and The New York Dolls. Over a period of a few years their music became more sophisticated, drawing initially on the art rock stylings of Roxy Music. Their visual image also evolved and the band was tagged with the New Romantic label. Indeed, it could be argued that Japan was at the forefront of the entire New Romantic movement, even though the band never associated itself with it.

Japan recorded five studio albums between March 1978 and November 1981. In 1980, the band signed with Virgin Records, where Sylvian remained as a recording artist for the next twenty years. The band suffered from personal and creative clashes, particularly between Sylvian and Karn, with tensions springing from Sylvian's relationship with Yuka Fujii, a photographer, artist and designer, and Karn's former girlfriend. Fujii quickly became an influential figure in Sylvian's life. She was the first person to introduce Sylvian seriously to jazz, which in turn inspired him to follow musical avenues not otherwise open to him. She also encouraged Sylvian to incorporate spiritual discipline into his daily routine. Throughout his solo career, Fujii maintained a large role in the design of artwork for his albums.

In 1982, Sylvian released his first collaborative effort with Ryuichi Sakamoto, entitled "Bamboo Houses/Bamboo Music". Followed by the UK Top 20 song "Forbidden Colours" (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence). Sylvian's debut solo album, Brilliant Trees (1984), met with critical acclaim. The album included contributions from Ryuichi Sakamoto, trumpeter Jon Hassell, and former Can bassist Holger Czukay. In 1985, Sylvian released an instrumental mini-album Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities, in collaboration with Jansen, Hassell and Czukay. The next release was the ambitious two-record set Gone to Earth (1986),  featuring one record of atmospheric vocal tracks and a second record consisting of ambient instrumentals. The album contained significant contributions from noted guitarists Bill Nelson and Robert Fripp .

Secrets of the Beehive (1987) made greater use of acoustic instruments and was musically oriented towards sombre, emotive ballads laced with shimmering string arrangements. The album yielded one of Sylvian's most well-received songs, "Orpheus," and was later supported by his first solo tour, 1988's 'In Praise of Shamans.' Sylvian then collaborated with Holger Czukay. Plight and Premonition, issued in 1988, and Flux and Mutability, recorded and released the following year, also included contributions from Can members Jaki Liebezeit and Michael Karoli.

Sylvian reunited with the former members of Japan for a new project, Rain Tree Cow. Unlike their past work, Sylvian decided to use methods of improvisation like those he explored in his work with Czukay. Ingrid Chavez, an artist signed to Prince's Paisley Park Records, sent Sylvian a copy of her first album. He liked what he heard and thought her voice would fit well with some material that both Ryuichi Sakamoto and he were working on for a new Sakamoto release. Chavez and Sylvian quickly developed a bond and decided to travel together throughout the UK and the USA, where they eventually settled after marrying in 1992.

In the early 1990s, guitarist Robert Fripp invited Sylvian to join a new version of King Crimson. Sylvian declined the invitation, but he and Fripp recorded the album The First Day released in July 1993. To capitalize on the album's success, the musicians went back out on the road in the autumn of 1993. A live recording, called Damage and released in 1994.

A period of relative musical inactivity followed, during which Sylvian and Ingrid Chavez moved from Minnesota to the Napa Valley. Chavez had given birth to two daughters, Ameera-Daya (born 1993) and Isobel (born 1997), and pursued her interest in photography and music. In 1999, Sylvian released Dead Bees on a Cake, it gathered together the most eclectic influences of all his recordings, ranging from soul music to jazz fusion to blues to Eastern-inflected spiritual chants, and most of the songs' lyrics reflected the now 41-year-old Sylvian's inner peace resulting from his marriage, family, and beliefs.

Next Sylvian released a pair of compilation albums, a two-disc retrospective, Everything and Nothing, and an instrumental collection, Camphor. Both albums contained previously released material, some remixes, and several new or previously unreleased tracks which Sylvian finished especially for the projects. Sylvian parted ways with Virgin and launched his own independent label, Samadhi Sound. He released the album Blemish. A fusion of styles, including jazz and electronica, the tour enabled Sylvian to perform music from the Nine Horses project, as well as various selections from his back catalogue.

A new solo album entitled Manafon was released on September 14, 2009 the a;lbum features contributions from leading figures in electroacoustic improvisation such as saxophonist Evan Parker, multi-instrumentalist Otomo Yoshihide, Christian Fennesz, Sachiko M and AMM alumnists guitarist Keith Rowe, percussionist Eddie Prévost and pianist John Tilbury.

In 2010, Sylvian's Samadhisound imprint released Sleepwalkers, a 16-track compilation of his collaborations from the 2000s, including his Nine Horses project and World Citizen with Sakamoto. It also included one new song, "Five Lines," a collaboration with Dai Fujikura. In 2011, Sylvian released Died in the Wool (Manafon Variations). It featured reworkings -- more than remixes -- of some tracks from Manafon, and included six new cuts. The double digipack also included the cd for Sylvian's audio installation, when we return you won’t recognise us.

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"Brilliant Trees" is a brave and exciting album. Like his work with his previous band, Sylvian is prepared to turn his back on his previous accomplishments-- gone are the pseudo-Eastern trappings of "Tin Drum", replaced with a jazz sensibility. Gone is the slithering bass and wailing sax of Mick Karn, instead an atmospheric swirl, or a funky backdrop (depending on the song), carefully constructed by Sylvian and collaborator Holger Czukay, and brass leads (provided ably by Czukay, Kenny Wheeler, Jon Hassell or Mark Isham) dominate the record. And yet, it feels like the followup to "Tin Drum" in it's own way-- certainly Sylvian's voice, while it has gained a depth to it, maintains its distinctive smokey baritone that he was developing, and the presence of brother Steve Jansen on drums, whose subtle and tasteful playing so delicately worked on "Tin Drum", works here as well. And with appearances by Japan keyboardist Richard Barbieri, frequent collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto, and producer Steve Nye, there's a sense of continuity.

David Sylvian - Brilliant Trees (230mb)

01 Pulling Punches 5:02
02 The Ink In The Well 4:30
03 Nostalgia 5:41
04 Red Guitar 5:09
05 Weathered Wall 5:44
06 Backwaters 4:52
07 Brilliant Trees 8:39

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Streamlining the muted, organic atmospheres of the previous Gone to Earth to forge a more cohesive listening experience, Secrets of the Beehive is arguably David Sylvian's most accessible record, a delicate, jazz-inflected work boasting elegant string arrangements courtesy of Ryuichi Sakamoto. This album is breathtaking in its power. Sylvian, with an array of talented musicians (including frequent collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto who arranged string and horns, guitarist David Torn, trumpeter Mark Isham, bassist Danny Thompson, and drummer as well as ex-Japan bandmate and Sylvian's brother, Steve Jansen), constructed a record of such stunning and fragile beauty that it really must be heard to be appreciated. Impeccably produced by Steve Nye, the songs are stripped to their bare essentials, making judicious use of the synths, tape loops, and treated pianos which bring them to life; Sylvian's evocative vocals are instead front and center, rendering standouts like "The Boy With the Gun" and the near-hit "Orpheus" -- both among the most conventional yet penetrating songs he's ever written -- with soothing strength and assurance.

David Sylvian - Secrets Of The Beehive (205mb)

01 September 1:18
02 The Boy With The Gun 5:18
03 Maria 2:50
04 Orpheus 4:51
05 The Devil's Own 3:12
06 When Poets Dreamed Of Angels 4:47
07 Mother And Child 3:15
08 Let The Happiness In 5:37
09 Waterfront 3:36
10 Promise (The Cult Of Eurydice) 3:28

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Fans of David Sylvian may consider some of his earlier releases to have been autumnal spectacles filled with intoxicating arrangements and some of the most beautifully heartbreaking songs ever composed. Dead Bees on a Cake is some of the cleanest and sharpest recording he's ever done. His voice envelops you and takes over your senses. Lyrics are pensive, provoking and rich. One can admire the impeccable instrumental performances by Talvin Singh, Steve Jansen, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and Marc Ribot, among others; however, for David Sylvian, even beautiful tracks like "The Shining of Things" are the sonic equivalent of running on a treadmill. One song makes this worth the price of admission: "Midnight Sun"; while the vocals are classic Sylvian, the bluesy, swampy sound of this track is completely new to him. It would have been fantastic if other songs on the album had followed in a similarly inventive vein.

David Sylvian - Dead Bees On A Cake (522mb)

01 I Surrender 9:24
02 Dobro #1 1:29
03 Midnight Sun 4:01
04 Thalhiem 6:09
05 God Man 4:02
06 Alphabet Angel 2:07
07 Krishna Blue 8:12
08 The Shining Of Things 3:10
09 Café Europa 7:01
10 Pollen Path 3:25
11 All Of My Mother's Names 6:10
12 Wanderlust 6:45
13 Praise 4:02
14 Darkest Dreaming 4:01
Xtra I Surrender EP
15 Les Fleurs Du Mal 6:51
16 Starred And Dreaming 2:01
17 I Surrender (Single Edit) 4:50
18 Whose Trip Is This? 7:19
19 Remembering Julia 4:46

David Sylvian - Dead Bees On A Cake (ogg 213mb)

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earlier, Sundaze 1106 now in flac

David Sylvian - Camphor (473mb) re-upped

David Sylvian - Damage (reissue) (393mb) re-upped too

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Music Lover said...

A great post!

David Sylvian is one of my favorite artists.
Briliant Trees is one of my very favorite albums...

I've got Dead Bees On A Cake, but not the EP.

Cheers !

Simon John said...

Any chance of uploading Brilliant Trees again please (in FLAC)
Regards Simon John

Simon John said...

Sorry for the delay but many thanks for the David Sylvian re-ups very much appreciated.
Regards Simon John

Anonymous said...

Hello. Could you re-up Secrets of the Beehive when you get a chance? Thank you very much.

winston said...

Secrets of the Beehive seems to be down, could you reupload it?

Anonymous said...

Any chance of Sylvian re-ups please?