Vista blog

Talk about anything David Sylvian related.

Re: Vista blog

Postby javier on Mon Nov 08, 2021 1:15 am

silentwings wrote:the In Praise of Shamans tour of 1988. Sylvian has seldom spoken warmly about this tour but it remains a cherished memory for me. It was my first time seeing these musicians live and it really was a stellar line-up with Steve Jansen/Richard Barbieri/David Torn/Mark Isham/Robbie Aceto and Ian Maidman.

Maybe it didn't reach the heights that Sylvian aspired to, but hearing this material played was nothing short of a thrill for me.


I wasn't living in a country where this tour went, so I didn't get to see it live. I'm sure it would have been a great experience.
Having listened to bootlegs though, I do understand why Sylvian might not be very positive about the tour. From a purely musical perspective, many of the live arrangements of tracks didn't measure up to their studio versions. As you mention in the article, without Jon Hassell and others, their atmospheric quality was bound to be absent.

This stands in stark comparison to The Road To Graceland tour with Fripp, where I think many of the tracks from The First Day sound far more powerful in their live versions. Perhaps that's why the Damage album exists, whereas there has never been an In Praise Of Shamans album.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Nov 26, 2021 3:02 pm

I've just published a new article about David Sylvian's sound installation held on Gran Canaria in 2009.

This slipped by un-publicised at the time; I don't remember hearing anything about it until the piece was released as part of Died in the Wool two years later.

Sylvian visited the Canary Islands in preparation for the commission, his research into the island communities informing the directions he provided for the musicians involved.

The sessions themselves were interesting in that a string sextet and a group of improvising musicians were recorded all together at London's Air studios. John Butcher, the saxophone player, and Ros Stephen, who was in the string ensemble, told me about their experiences recording the track.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/11/26/whe ... ognise-us/
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” att to Jack Kerouac
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Dec 17, 2021 1:25 pm

For the final article of 2021 I have returned to Japan's Tin Drum album which, incredibly, has just passed the 40th anniversary of its release.

Exploring the influence of Karlheinz Stockhausen on the arrangement of 'Ghosts', and why this song marked such a watershed moment. Deconstructing the pop song would be something that Sylvian would return to again and again throughout his career.

I hope you enjoy. Thank you for visiting the site this year and I send everyone season's greetings and best wishes for 2022.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2021/12/17/ghosts/
“Great things are not accomplished by those who yield to trends and fads and popular opinion.” att to Jack Kerouac
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Jan 07, 2022 1:04 pm

The latest article is all about 'Before the Bullfight'.

It seems to me that the song has the perfect line-up of musicians to bring out the best in the composition, Sylvian being joined by Steve Jansen with a structural drum part, Richard Barbieri enhancing the atmospherics, Kenny Wheeler bringing shades of Sketches of Spain in his flugelhorn playing, and exquisite lead guitar from Bill Nelson. It was the first time Nelson and Sylvian had worked together.

What a truly wonderful song.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/01/07/bef ... bullfight/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Jan 28, 2022 1:14 pm

Back to Dead Bees on a Cake for the latest article, which explores 'Praise (Pratah Smarami)'.

Sung by Indian holy woman, Shree Maa, and recorded when the saint stayed with David and Ingrid in Minneapolis in 1997. The song became very important to the couple and for the album the vocal is accompanied only by Sylvian's looping guitar.

The words come from the Chandi Path and the article includes the original and translated lyric.

The experience of Shree Maa's visit was so profound that the family moved across the States to be close to her Napa ashram.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/01/28/pra ... h-smarami/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby javier on Sun Jan 30, 2022 6:11 am

This article on Praise is so engaging and informative. One of your best so far.

Thanks as always.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Feb 25, 2022 2:07 pm

Thank you javier for the kind words about the article on 'Praise'.

I have just published a new article about 'Zero Landmine'. In 2001, Ryuichi Sakamoto called upon David Sylvian to write lyrics for his project seeking to help rid the world of the scourge of landmines. Sakamoto had something a little different in mind from the Western 'charity single' concept, seeking to weave into his piece music from nations impacted by these indiscriminate weapons.

Sylvian contributed to the full piece and recorded a beautiful vocal/piano version alongside Sakamoto. He even appeared in a live TV broadcast of the track, beamed into the Japanese studio from New York. Steve Jansen contributed drums.

Sakamoto could later look back knowing the project had a demonstrable impact on making land safe in Mozambique and elsewhere.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/02/25/zero-landmine/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Mar 18, 2022 1:35 pm

Just published on Vista is a new article about Japan's 'The Other Side of Life'.

The song exemplifies Sylvian's move to more keyboard-based songwriting as well as the musical development of the whole band, each of whom contribute beautifully to the piece. No doubt new producer John Punter had a part to play in a new-found confidence that led to an uncluttered mix where every instrument shines. Ann O'Dell's string arrangement is magnificently judged.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/03/18/the ... e-of-life/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby Quiet Visitor on Sun Mar 20, 2022 9:37 am

Thanks again.
Wonderful track and a perfect closing song for my favorite Japan-album.
Although not present in this track Mick once told on his (still working) forum (https://mickkarn.proboards.com/) that he was particulary proud of Quiet Life because he had a great deal of arranging the wind-instruments for the first time.
I guess Quiet Life is the best documented album of Japan, so it must have been a joy to put this article together.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Apr 08, 2022 1:22 pm

Glad you enjoyed the last article, Quiet Visitor. It was certainly enjoyable to write. I didn't know that Mick Karn board still existed.

I have just published a new article on Sylvian & Sakamoto's 'Heartbeat (Tainai Kaiki II)'. The story of Sylvian's appearance at Sakamoto's London show in October 1991, his fascination with the final track on the original Japanese release of Ryuichi's 'Heartbeat' album, and a whirlwind few months in which he met and married Ingrid Chavez - this song bringing them together.
And in the middle of all this, Sylvian wrote, rehearsed and played shows in Japan with Robert Fripp and Trey Gunn.

A beautifully constructed song which was supported by Kevin Westenberg's only pop promo video.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/04/08/hea ... -kaiki-ii/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby Quiet Visitor on Sun Apr 10, 2022 8:27 am

Thanks. Great stuff again. I think Anthony Reynolds can use plenty of it for his third Japan-biography ;-)

Although I have quite some Sakamoto-albums, non of them are pop-CD's. Most of them are soundtracks and related stuff.
But lucky me Heart Beat (Tainai Kaiki II) is on two Sylvian-compilation disks, Everything And Nothing and A Victim Of Stars.
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Apr 29, 2022 12:46 pm

The next article has just been published. When the Sleepwalkers compilation of collaborations was first released in 2010 there was a previously unreleased track included: 'Five Lines'. The music was created by Dai Fujikura and performed by a string quartet comprising members of the ICE ensemble.

Fujikura originally composed a vocal line for Sylvian, but in the event he created his own and what emerged was a unique song in which two completely different musical worlds meet.

It's one of those wonderful 'non-album' tracks that we've been treated to over the years.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/04/29/five-lines/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri May 20, 2022 1:00 pm

I've just published a new article about 'Emily Dickinson' which emerged from the final sessions for Manafon held in London in 2007. Listening to this song repeatedly over the last few weeks it hit me again what a great track it is.

Evan Parker was high on Sylvian's list of potential participants and the veteran free-improviser contributes a wonderful saxophone solo. The article explores Evan's thoughts on music, which really helped me to understand the perspective of an improvising musician and perhaps give some insight into why this genre fascinates David Sylvian so much.

Also looking into the lyric - which isn't really about the American poet.

Here's the link - and thanks as always for reading: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/05/20/emily-dickinson/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby silentwings on Fri Jun 10, 2022 1:03 pm

I've added to my series of articles on Brilliant Trees with a new piece on 'The Ink in the Well'.

The last song to be written and recorded for the album, it was a product of the London sessions with a great line-up of Danny Thompson on bass, Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn, Phil Palmer on guitar and Steve Jansen on drums. There are some insights into the recording including some comments that Phil Palmer shared with me about how the song was developed.

The track was inspired by Picasso and Anton Corbijn directed the video, as he had done with 'Red Guitar' previously.

Here's the link: https://sylvianvista.com/2022/06/10/the ... -the-well/
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Re: Vista blog

Postby Quiet Visitor on Sun Jun 12, 2022 8:39 am

Thanks. Nice to read David loved the music of Nick Drake too. I've been listening to his work since 1981, so long before a VW-add made him into an unreal star. I always liked that both David and Nick wrote a song about a man at the river :wink:
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