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Alternative & Indie - Released November 7, 1987 | Virgin

Distinctions Best New Reissue
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Alternative & Indie - Released September 13, 1986 | Virgin

Distinctions Best New Reissue
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Alternative & Indie - Released July 7, 1984 | Virgin

Distinctions Best New Reissue
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Alternative & Indie - Released February 27, 2012 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

This two-disc compilation spans the solo career of the former Japan frontman, who in the last thirty years has gone from new romantic icon to avant-garde figurehead. This collection charts that course, ranging from the art rock of his early releases to the electronic experiments and pure free improv of his later work, featuring contributions along the way from some of the very biggest names in the world of experimental music. © TiVo
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Pop - Released October 1, 2000 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMI Marketing

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Alternative & Indie - Released March 29, 1999 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released January 1, 1999 | Virgin Records

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. At face value, Dead Bees on a Cake should have been one of David Sylvian's most spiritually fulfilled and innovative releases -- maybe next time. One can admire the rich vocals and 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. © Sanz Lashley /TiVo
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Rock - Released January 1, 2002 | Venture

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Alternative & Indie - Released September 14, 2009 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Alternative & Indie - Released December 14, 1985 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 3, 2003 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Rock - Released June 18, 2002 | Discipline Global Mobile

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Rock - Released July 5, 1993 | Discipline Global Mobile

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 7, 2005 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

The fractured, stark yin to Dead Bees on a Cake's tranquil, sensuous yang, Blemish is an unforeseen detour taken by David Sylvian, who has made eight of his most bare, anguished, and intense songs, all of which are neither pleasant nor the least bit settling. For half of the album, Sylvian is completely alone, accompanied only by his own guitar and electronic treatments. On the others, he is joined by either Derek Bailey or Christian Fennesz, two guitarists with indispensable roles. The opening title track sets the tone, with heavily echoed noise fibers warping and reverberating for nearly 14 minutes. The effects swell and recede at a disquieting but sunken volume, while Sylvian's upfront voice -- more stripped and vulnerable than it was in Japan's "Ghosts" -- slips in lines like "I fall outside of her," "Give me one more chance to do things right," and "Life's for the taking, so they say -- take it away." Bailey's improvised work appears in three songs and is most complementary during "The Good Son," in which his prickles and sudden spasms carry and push, rather than support, Sylvian's voice. "A Fire in the Forest," the album's own "Somewhere Over the Rainbow," lets the listener out with a battered sense of optimism. Featuring an arrangement from Fennesz, a melody struggles to find its way out of twisted fragments and soft beams of noise, as Sylvian sings of his search to reach the sunshine that awaits him above gray skies. Throughout the album, clues are dropped about the events that transpired and the circumstances surrounding them, but it's all left to be pieced together and interpreted by the listener, who will have to sift through the hedged lines, meticulously organized sounds -- from rattling shopping carts to handclaps to delicate fragments of guitar -- and numerous disfigurations of clear-cut linear thought. Blemish is the kind of record that provokes many longtime followers to throw up their arms in aggravation -- it's very much a "final straw" record. A work of beautiful, desolate fragility, Blemish is also the kind of record that will have the opposite effect on a select few, most of whom no doubt obsess over records like Scott Walker's Tilt and Mark Hollis' Mark Hollis. © Andy Kellman /TiVo

Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | EMI Marketing

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 18, 2011 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

David Sylvian's MANAFON (2009) appeared as a collection of disciplined art songs that relied on his collaborators to inform not only their textures, but their forms. Those players -- Jan Bang, Evan Parker, John Tilbury, Dai Fujikura, Erik Honoré, Otoma Yoshide, and Christian Fennesz among them -- created airy, often gently dissonant structures for Sylvian's lyrics and melodic ideas. Died in the Wool (MANAFON Variations) re-employs these players (with some new ones) in the considerable reworking of five of MANAFON's compositions. There are also six new songs that include unused outtakes, and two poems by Emily Dickinson set to music and sung by Sylvian. The new music here relies heavily on Sylvian's association with Fujikura: he composed, arranged, and conducted chamber strings that are prevalent. Where MANAFON's "Small Metal Gods" was orchestrated by acoustic guitar, laptop, electronics, bass, and cello, this one employs a string quartet that provides greatly expanded harmonics, which underscore the desolate power in Sylvian's lyrics. On "Snow White in Appalachia," strings shift the tune's original sonic gears into diffused, vaporous sonorities. On the title track, Fujikura uses a composed clarinet sample to introduce John Butcher's saxophone, a mixing board, an all-but-unrecognizable guitar, cymbals, and samples to stretch a narrative melody to its ghostly breaking point. Dickinson's poem, "I Should Not Dare," is a standout; its gentle, accessible melody, accompanied by Sylvian's acoustic guitar, is made sharper by Fennesz's electric and samples from Honoré. Parker adds a gorgeous nocturnal saxophone line and Bang provides an unusual string arrangement to create the feeling of deep longing across great distance. "A Certain Slant of Light," also by Dickinson, is less formal but more moodily cinematic with its layers of samples. A delightfully fragmented redo of "Emily Dickinson" completes the sonic re-creation of her image as this set's Muse. On "Anomaly at Taw Head," Fujikura's string abstractions -- introduced by Parker's bluesy saxophone and Tilbury's minimal piano -- add dimension to Sylvian's open field melodic structure. The underlining poetic is tense, but seductive. There is a bonus second disc, too, in Sylvian's 18-minute sound installation "When We Return You Won't Recognize Us." It is a stellar, ambient work featuring Arve Henricksen, Butcher, the Elysian Quartet, Eddie Prevost, Toshimaru Nakamura, and Gunter Muller. It should be listened to on headphones to grasp all of its intricacies. Died in the Wool (MANAFON Variations) showcases Sylvian's restless discipline in expanding his music's parameters, and those of song itself, while offering even greater opportunities for his collaborators to influence its creation. © Thom Jurek /TiVo

Alternative & Indie - Released August 8, 2013 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

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Alternative & Indie - Released October 8, 2003 | UMC (Universal Music Catalogue)

Rock - Released January 1, 2003 | Virgin Records Ltd

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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. 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. © Jason Ankeny /TiVo