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David Sylvian - David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Plight & Premonition CD (album) cover


David Sylvian


Crossover Prog

3.82 | 39 ratings

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RIO/Avant/Zeuhl,Neo & Post/Math Teams
4 stars I'm reviewing an album 30 years after having bought it. At the end of the 80s I didn't like Japan so I don't remember how I actually went to buy an album by David Sylvian. I also knew CAN only by name, so it wasn't for Czukay for sure. I suppose that what raised my curiosity was the album having one track per side. In the same period I was into KLAUS SCHULZE's Dune, so this might have been a reason.

The album was quite a surprise. I remember to have forced myself in listening it in one shot. Japan were a new.wave electronic band, so I was expecting at least some electronic drums. Nothing at all. "Plight" is a keyboard driven soundscape with some flute-like sounds and progressions of notes that remind me to Claude DEBUSSY. It's dreamy. Listening to it I'm still able to create mental images of ice, white woods, but also elven, fairies and magical beings. This is surely influenced by the track subtitle: "spiralling of winter ghosts". With a bit of imagination it could bring the listener into space, or in the deep of the ocean.

Fans of the pink period of TANGERINE DREAM know what I mean. Some passages are darker, other are just relaxing. Some sounds have a far east flavor. This is the matter dreams are made of. An "astronaut like" voice closes the track, but I'm unable to understand the language he speaks.

"Premonition" is opened by another voice. Female and likely speaking in German. With the Vyil one doesn't realize how much the two tracks are interconnected. Effectively it could be just one single electronic suite. Probably it was conceived in this way, This track is lighter. The far east flavor is enhanced by the subtle dissonances of the untuned (synthetic) piano which adds variations to a base mainly made of major chords.

I remember walking in an airport in a morning, just after an intercontinental flight, stoned by the jet lag. Tired but relaxed with the announcements coming from the speakers like I was still sleeping. This track brings that sensations back to my mind. I hope it can give the idea. Some tracks by VANGELIS have a similar mood.

Calling it electronic ambient music is not wrong but it's reductive. I have the impression that all the dissonances, the balance between the various keyboards and electronic effects doesn't sound improvised. There must have been a lot of work at least in the engineering and mixing phases.

An excellent addition (if you like ambient music)

octopus-4 | 4/5 |


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