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David Sylvian - Alchemy - An Index Of Possibilities CD (album) cover


David Sylvian


Crossover Prog

3.25 | 56 ratings

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3 stars A mini album, originally only released on cassette, between Brilliant Trees and Gone to Earth, the material collected here was recorded for a number or different projects, inlcuding, in the case of steel cathedrals, for an art installation. It is largely instrumental, with some chants and incantatory vocals liberally splashed across the long arrangements, some of which are extraordinarilt pretty. Words with the Shaman is the stand-out track as far as I'm concerned, being set up with some tribal-sounding drums and then being fleshed out with the chanting vocals, the arabic/north african sounds and a lulling progression. It's superb chill-out music. The music is definitely akin to the second side (wailing wall etc) of Brilliant Trees but is more ambient in texture. It should be noted that the sound quality on a lot of the pieces is not of the highest quality as the tapes on which they were recorded were not in the best of order by the time they were committed to this min-album. While it's not essentual Sylvian it rises above the collectors only category usually reserved for mini-albums, collections of rarities and off-cuts. The music is beguiling, stimulating, atmospheric, evocative and at times very beautiful. Recommended with the caveat of it being poorly recorded in parts and sparse musically in places,. But with a stellar cast around him, in particular the work of Fripp and trumpet player Hassell are noteworthy, this is definitely worth a listen, though overpriced on its recent remaster. The unremastered version included on a special edition pack alongside Brilliant Trees may sonically less improved but is better value.
arcer | 3/5 |


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