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DAVID SYLVIAN

Crossover Prog • United Kingdom


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David Sylvian biography
David Alan Batt - Born 23 February 1958 (Beckenham, England)

It is difficult to describe David SYLVIAN's music. It is ambient, dark, although not heavy with sombre vocal and very experimental playing. David SYLVIAN was born as David Batt in Kent, England on February 23, 1958. In 1974 he formed Japan, initially a glam rock band, which eventually evolved into a stylish synth-pop group. After a quite successful career, Japan was dissolved in 1982. SYLVIAN's first solo album "Brilliant Trees" was released in 1984 featuring besides others Richard Barbieri (ex-Japan) and Holger Czukay (ex-CAN). "Brilliant Trees" is a very atmospheric record, mixing funk, jazz, and ambient in beautiful although eclectic music.

David SYLVIAN's next solo album was "Gone to Earth" with Robert Fripp, Mel Collins and SYLVIAN's ex-Japan colleagues Barbieri and Steve Janson. Although brilliant like his previous record, it was less accessible thus got less favourable response from critics. In 1987 SYLVIAN released his most successful and critically acclaimed album "Secrets of the Beehive". A fine and gentle record made with the help of Ryuichi Sakamoto with beautiful songs and elegant arrangements.

After three solo records, David SYLVIAN undertook a number of collaborations with other musicians. In 1988-89 he released two albums with Holger Czukay. In 1993 saw "The First Day", one of the greatest prog records with Robert Fripp, which was followed by a live version "Damage", which also featured Trey Gunn and Pat Mastelotto, would-be members of KING CRIMSON. The superb "Dead Bees on a Cake" followed in 1999; "Approaching Silence", a collection of instrumental material, appeared later that fall. In fall 2000 SYLVIAN returned with the double-disc "Everything & Nothing", which made for an excellent introduction to some of SYLVIAN's projects.

In 2003 David SYLVIAN released "Blemish", a minimalist records, where he plays with Derek Bailey and Christian Fennesz.

DISCOGRAPHY:

1984 Brilliant Trees - 2003 Brilliant Trees (remastered)
1985 Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities
1986 Gone To Earth - 2003 Gone To Earth (remastered)
1987 Secrets Of The Beehive - 2003 Secrets Of The Beehive (remastered)
1988 Plight and Premonition (with Holger Czukay)
1989 Flux + Mutability (with Holger Czukay)
1989 Weatherbox (5 disc box set, includes all previously released solo albums)
1991 Ember Glance - The Performance of Memory
1993 The First ...
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Dead Bees On A Cake (Expanded Edition)Dead Bees On A Cake (Expanded Edition)
Virgin Int'L 2018
$29.51
$40.85 (used)
ManafonManafon
SAMADHI SOUND UK 2009
$38.75
$22.00 (used)
Brilliant Trees /  David SylvianBrilliant Trees / David Sylvian
Remastered
spectrum 2017
$4.45
$5.97 (used)
Victim of Stars 1982-2012Victim of Stars 1982-2012
101 Distribution 2012
$7.00
$10.35 (used)
Secrets Of The Beehive /  David SylvianSecrets Of The Beehive / David Sylvian
spectrum 2017
$4.40
$6.81 (used)
Gone to EarthGone to Earth
Caroline 2007
$9.31
$8.35 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
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10h 50m
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15h 31m
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16h 11m
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DAVID SYLVIAN discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

DAVID SYLVIAN top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.75 | 98 ratings
Brilliant Trees
1984
3.25 | 46 ratings
Alchemy - An Index Of Possibilities
1985
3.75 | 101 ratings
Gone To Earth
1986
4.14 | 172 ratings
Secrets Of The Beehive
1987
3.77 | 35 ratings
David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Plight & Premonition
1988
3.29 | 30 ratings
David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Flux + Mutability
1989
3.79 | 100 ratings
David Sylvian & Robert Fripp: The First Day
1993
3.86 | 77 ratings
Dead Bees On A Cake
1999
2.62 | 29 ratings
Approaching Silence
1999
2.94 | 45 ratings
Blemish
2003
3.70 | 10 ratings
The Good Son vs The Only Daughter (The Blemish Remixes)
2005
4.00 | 47 ratings
Nine Horses: Snow Borne Sorrow
2005
3.94 | 28 ratings
Nine Horses: Money For All
2007
3.91 | 11 ratings
When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima
2007
3.65 | 35 ratings
Manafon
2009
2.43 | 16 ratings
Died In The Wool (Manafon Variations)
2011
4.83 | 11 ratings
David Sylvian, Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Sidsel Endresen & Arve Henriksen: Uncommon Deities
2012
3.50 | 9 ratings
There's A Light That Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight
2014

DAVID SYLVIAN Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.14 | 68 ratings
Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp)
1993

DAVID SYLVIAN Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

DAVID SYLVIAN Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.78 | 9 ratings
Weatherbox
1989
4.31 | 36 ratings
Everything And Nothing
2000
3.27 | 7 ratings
Camphor
2002
4.77 | 4 ratings
Monster - Original Soundtrack
2004
3.87 | 19 ratings
Sleepwalkers
2010
4.00 | 1 ratings
A Victim Of Stars 1982 - 2012
2012

DAVID SYLVIAN Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

0.00 | 0 ratings
The Ink In The Well
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Red Guitar
1984
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pulling Punches
1984
5.00 | 2 ratings
Words With The Shaman
1985
4.00 | 1 ratings
Silver Moon
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
A Little Girl Dreams Of Taking The Veil
1986
0.00 | 0 ratings
Let The Happiness In
1987
0.00 | 0 ratings
Orpheus
1988
0.00 | 0 ratings
Pop Song
1989
3.46 | 13 ratings
Darshan
1993
4.00 | 7 ratings
David Sylvian & Robert Fripp - Jean The Birdman
1993
0.00 | 0 ratings
I Surrender
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Godman
1999
0.00 | 0 ratings
Wonderful World
2006
0.00 | 0 ratings
Do You Know Me Now?
2013

DAVID SYLVIAN Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Flux + Mutability by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1989
3.29 | 30 ratings

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David Sylvian & Holger Czukay: Flux + Mutability
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

3 stars My conscience won't let me give this 4 stars despite enjoying a lot of this. We get two side long suites with David Sylvian adding guitar and keys(no vocals!) and Holger Czukay adding guitar, bass, electronics and vocals. Fellow CAN members Liebezeit(percussion, flute) and Koroli(guitar) help on track one. We also get flugelhorn on track one and samples. The thing is we get a lot of ebb and flow throughout both tracks that I like but man it's so samey, especially track two where there is virtually no change in the sound for 21 minutes. I just found myself getting annoyed long before it ends.

"Flux: A Big, Bright, Colourful World" opens with electronics and samples before percussion and manipulated vocals arrive along with spacey guitar. The vocals come and go along with some picked guitar. A pretty good sound here, kind of drifting with the spacey guitar, electronics and percussion. Some flugelhorn after 4 minutes. The flugelhorn is back after 6 minutes. Koroli before 6 1/2 minutes as his "sound" is unmistakable. He will come and go too. Some various vocal samples after 9 minutes. Flute at 10 1/2 minutes then more vocals and Koroli before 12 minutes. At 15 minutes it sort of dies but not quite as the spacey sounds start again but slower this time.

"Mutability: A New Beginning Is In The Offing" has these melancholic spacey guitar sounds along with an electronic atmosphere that pulses slowly and I'm sure there's more. It is an otherworldly sound but it continues for the whole 21 minutes.

Glad I finally got to spend some time with it and it comes across as an Electronic album more than anything else. Not a fan of the cover art either and 3 stars is all I got.

 There's A Light That Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2014
3.50 | 9 ratings

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There's A Light That Enters Houses With No Other House In Sight
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by Lewian

4 stars The first thing you should ask yourself if you want to know whether you'll like this album is whether you like the cover. As the cover, the music on the album is dark and mysterious with contours somewhat difficult to make out. The clearest contours come from the voice of the poet Fritz Wright, who recites some of his poetry here, which inspired this album. He has a quite expressive, calm and deep poet's voice, just right for his lyrical mood pictures. David Sylvian writes, on his website: " Franz, it has to be said, was gravely ill and stoically riding a considerable wave of heavy medication." The voice indeed sounds a bit as if he is fighting his way through the poems, which even adds weight, I'd say. Luckily we can read "Franz Wright has defied expectations and all prior prognoses and has returned from the precipice that is terminal cancer to a precarious, but passionately lived and thoroughly exploited, state of grace."

The music is a single long piece, it could be classified as somewhat minimalist experimental avantgarde music, dark, but with a very emotional , breathing character. It features a well balanced mix of freedom and recurring structures, mainly from the omnipresent pianos, never done in a formalist and rigid way. One could even call it "swinging", if this wouldn't create totally different associations. While something is always is motion, the motions are subtle, like a very gentle wind breezing through the scenery. The atmosphere doesn't change a lot through the about 64 minutes but there is enough variation to keep the attention up. Sounds are very important; the piano and guitar sound very natural and the many samples and electronics add to the "dark forest" mood; nothing of this sounds cold, intellectual and artificial.

This really belongs to the realm of contemporary art music but there it stands out for being emotional, lively and not academic. I think that this works perfectly as what it sets out to be. It is an extremely fascinating composition, but it needs listeners who are open to this kind of free atmospheric musical landscape. Don't look for songs, melodies or clear rhythms.

It is long ago now that David Sylvian started to leave conventional pop and rock music (be it progressive) and set out for less inhabited, stranger spheres. "There's a light that enters houses..." is a very mature work and very rewarding. It is a clear 5 stars for me personally and I'd call it a masterpiece indeed, but it's not "progressive rock" by any means, so the 4 stars description fits it better.

 Blemish by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2003
2.94 | 45 ratings

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Blemish
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by Dobermensch
Prog Reviewer

2 stars This is possibly the dreariest and least listenable of all Sylvian's releases. I don't care what any music snob says, I much prefer the last three 'Japan' albums to any solo release by David Sylvian.

I''m still a big fan of his first four solo albums, but from 'Dead Bees on a Cake' onwards he sounds like a spoiled child, crying and whining at the theft of a bag of jelly-babies that a bigger boy stole from him after stamping on his feet in a school playground.

The bloke may just have had a marriage split and is attempting to exorcise a few demons, but that's not something I want to listen to as entertainment.

There's a lot of strange glitchy and digital electronic effects on 'Blemish' and that's not necessarily a good thing. They're random and tuneless. I don't know what on earth has happened to David Sylvian during the last ten years or so. A once brilliant singer songwriter has plumbed the depths of misery and despair that no reasonable listener can tolerate or have any time for. Certainly not me, that's for sure.

'Blemish' sounds half-hearted and disinterested within itself displaying no discernible direction or raison d'etre. Derek Bailey's fractured stabs of atonal guitar do nothing to increase my interest. I've never heard an album where the lead singer sounds so dissociated and separate from proceedings.

An added star just for the fact that there's a lot happening on a subsonic level if listened to whilst wearing a good set of headphones. At the end of the day, it's instantly forgettable, poorly structured and is a mile removed from his monumental scores for 'Brilliant Trees' and 'Gone to Earth'.

You'll be hard pushed to hear such continual moaning and grumping anywhere in the Prog Archives. And you thought Leonard Cohen was a miserable git? What a dirge.

 Secrets Of The Beehive by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1987
4.14 | 172 ratings

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Secrets Of The Beehive
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars David Sylvian's style of ambient pop takes the laid-back, almost sedated tone of the slower sections of Japan's Tin Drum and strips out the orientalism (and, indeed, anything reminiscent of human cultures whatsoever) to craft something wholly unique. It is not an accessible album and at first seems cold and unappealing, and will require several listens to reveal the warmth hidden within. Many will find this worthwhile, especially if you after something calming and soft to play in the background; those who know David Sylvian as a New Romantic frontman may find themselves bored with this artier and more serious incarnation, however.
 Died In The Wool (Manafon Variations) by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2011
2.43 | 16 ratings

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Died In The Wool (Manafon Variations)
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Tiresome, inches away from boring.

The consequence of self-indulgence. David Sylvian's, self-aquired musical language does not save these "Manafon Variations" or the crumbs of that previous album, of being irrelevant. Even his best "discoveries" work against the music. The usually inviting and mysterious songwriting, is reduced to "raw" emotionless experimentations, that should never have been brought outside his private personal collection.

No attractive melodies, forget whole songs. His usual, charged with emotions, introspective "atmospheres" , sound as empty as repetitive. And the "melancholic" lyrical world it presents, is more exclusive than inclusive, therefore uninteresting for third parties. Go backwards and listen to the original "Manafon", that one is worth the ticket. This one not.

For "die hard fans" only.

Disappointing **2 PA stars.

 David Sylvian, Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Sidsel Endresen & Arve Henriksen: Uncommon Deities by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2012
4.83 | 11 ratings

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David Sylvian, Jan Bang, Erik Honoré, Sidsel Endresen & Arve Henriksen: Uncommon Deities
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Turns out that, my favorite up to this day prog-albums, are collaborations between two extraordinary musicians, in a single project. Colin Edwin & Jon Durant-2012-Burnt Belief, Steve MacLean & Chris Cutler - 2012 - The Year Of The Dragon and this a 3 musicians project. In fact David Sylvian's name is a bit overshadowed (in a gesture of humbleness, I suppose), being that it is more like some kind of guest appearance for Jan Bang and Erik Honore (also featuring-Sidsel Endresen and Arve Henriksen), but these guys are not included in the PA's page. So, whatever, who cares , this is a 5 star masterpiece of music. The musical language is daring, without having to be ingenious or innovative perforce. The conceptual context it attempts, its heights and pretentions, are counter-balanced by a sober performance, of a sometimes, almost naked, musical environment. So each of these, "unworshipped" deities, inspire a song, for their own, uncommon "attributes". Therefore, every composition is crafted especifically, music-wise, to the humour or somberness of the deity chosen. As far as this sounds, super-pretentious, David Sylvian's earthy and ethereal voice, in a closer to reading than singing style, brings everything down to earth, enhancing every aspect of Jan Bang and Erik Honore 's electronic/acoustic-musical backdrop, which in turn offers some uncommon kind of raw and deep beauty, close sometimes (in its own proportion, of course) to Hildergard von Bingen's medieval compositions. So, this is not , really an easy to tag or compare with something project. All I can think of, is the two albums, mentioned above, but as a reference of approaches, not musically... Its own conception and execution, sets it apart. If you like or are close to Sylvian's career, this will blow your mind. *****5 "without blinking", PA stars!!
 Monster - Original Soundtrack by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Boxset/Compilation, 2004
4.77 | 4 ratings

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Monster - Original Soundtrack
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by VOTOMS

5 stars "I was attracted to the Monster material by the moral dilemma faced by its central character. The calm surface of the music giving way to darker undercurrents signifying the conscience of the lead protagonist and the themes of morality, fate, resignation, and free will." - David Sylvian quote in the booklet of Monster - Original Soundtrack.

I was presented to David Sylvian music when I was looking for the OST from the thriller seinen (adult anime series) Monster. I fell into David Sylvian official website catalogue, since my favorite song, and probably the song that made me search for the OST, was For The Love Of Life. David Sylvian was a cooperator to the Monster animated series soundtrack, but the only track that was really written by him is For The Love of Life, and this one can't be found on any other Sylvian release, so I will focus my review on this single, but DEEP track. This song is one of the most brilliant songs that I have ever heard in terms of soundtrack composition. Genial. It's some kind of spacey atmospheric music, calm but with a thriller background. The beauty singing and vocal melody is just wonderful. At the first time I have heard For The Love of Life, i thought that the song was weird and I didn't get it. The good side of being an "ending theme" is that I had to listen to it after every single episode, and 'slowly I realise', this fits perfect! The song transmits exactly what it should! The background painting of a monster (something like a green witch) at the ending of the animated series is freak as hell, and makes the song very much more darker. Talking about this music as single, it's still an awesome 5/5 track. Trippy and catchy. Is a hard listening song, maybe you need time to understand the whole thing. A masterpiece.

The rest of the album is very well done, the soundtrack works perfect as a thriller soundtrack, dark and elaborated. The plot of the series is one of the most intelligent and one of my favorites, and the music there is brilliant as well.

 Dead Bees On A Cake by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 1999
3.86 | 77 ratings

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Dead Bees On A Cake
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by sinslice

4 stars David Sylvian is one of my weaknesses. His class is unique, his voice and singing style is inimitable. Maybe not as progressive or changeable as some would like or somewhat monotonous, but imposing your style with authority. And creator of sublime atmospheres, within emotional or spiritual context. Difficult to fit into a specific musical concept. His work includes songs rarely interrelated.

'I Surrender' is slow and repetitive, but subtle and moving, passionate. Smooth Jazz intelligent, distinctive, with a touch of Soul. Café Europe, Thalheim, Wanderlust are held in the same pillars. Krishna Blue is a bit more intimate and ethnic feel.

Other songs are introspective as Dobro, Alphabet Angle and The Shining of Things. Midnight Sun and its course Blues. Darkest Dreams is a grand finale. And some songs inconsistent for me as Godman, Pollen Path and Praise.

I couldn´t choose two or three references as a parameter to help someone who has never heard an idea of ​​how found, or who resembles his voice. Is David Sylvian, trademark....

 Nine Horses: Money For All by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Studio Album, 2007
3.94 | 28 ratings

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Nine Horses: Money For All
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

4 stars Clean, intelligent, AUSTERE and subversive Rock and Prog....."Freedom has its price"

Low profile by nature, David Sylvian's offerings have. also by nature. a certain elegance in both his songwriting and arrangement skills. The recording studio, as such, has always been, also part of his game. Intelligent and attractive poetry, is of course his main attribution to prog, rock, folk, you name it. Therefore when such a "great dish" is presented, with all its ingredients in top shape of substance and flavor, will seem senseless to just let go.

Every time, I play this "Nine Horses:Money for All", extended EP, it still thrills me, as the first time, so by logic, this is the kind of effort that I know, has become in my play ground, an evolving "essential" masterwork, or in "rating" language the 4.5 star deserving kind of album.

It really does not amaze me, the few ratings or attention given to such an uncomparable artist as David Sylvian is. A shame that it happens in such a "universal" page of Prog is. But still it ain't no surprise.

Now, to round things up, by subversive, I don't mean RiO, or Metal music, I mean, non-mainstream music that defies the "markets" because it never compromises, artistry for money, less subdue intelligent and emotional compositions, in able to become accessible to every "market". But otherwise completely appealing to non-mainstream, Prog/Rock audiophiles, who are kind of tired of the same old "new"? Prog repetitions and cliches.

4 becoming a 5 PA star work.................. Climb the ladder!

 Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp) by SYLVIAN, DAVID album cover Live, 1993
4.14 | 68 ratings

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Damage - Live (with Robert Fripp)
David Sylvian Crossover Prog

Review by admireArt
Prog Reviewer

5 stars The label Eclectic-Prog suits perfectly. Now that I am getting aquainted with the tag; and the recent music bands which turn out to be under this genre. By chance. Anyway this introduction serves the purpose to distance this David Sylvian effort as merely "crossover" in its strict sense. Even better/worse; the other guy (Robert Fripp) simply cannot be tagged down. Considering his vast amount of collaborations with any kind of bands; known and not; prog and not. At least 100 other than Crimson & solo projects. I follow the guy closely; I have to admit! This is one of the best live collaborations (dates) among these guys. Accompanied by close to both musicians (Trey Gunn, Pat Matellotto). Most!.. underline most;.. not all of course; front-men/women vocalist in this style of music (with all its sub-cats) and in general; suffer of what I call "The "Dylan- Syndrome" they get this weird idea that just because they sing in a band whatever f...k they sing is relevant to audiences and the rest of the world. Well Dylan did; and had an ugly voice...so by divine intervention "my thoughts are poetry because I AM the singer!!!of a Prog/Rock/?/band.!!!"...Not David Sylvian (founder of the 80´s proto-prog band "Japan" and apparently "early unclaimed Eclectic-Prog pioneer").. Styles come and go but; when you have nurtered, your naturally born wisdom with words; beyond music academies, more with real life "academies"; raw, dirty, real life! (like Dylan did, actually), you discover and construct your own-language, your mean of expression, and poetry, like Mr. Sylvian does, pure and deep poetry. There are things that simply cannot be taught at school; any school.... A great combination between already written songs ("The First Day" with Fripp) some personal prior "solo" work songs, some from earlier collaborations also with Fripp "Gone to Earth"; and the unmistakable- "Frippertronics" here and there. ..But above all; and best if you like surprises; when required Fripp shows a Hard/Rock guitar approach (like in the studio effort.) he normally does not show (opposite to the Crimson Metal one and his "normal" one). What makes also; this work very relevant; is the perfectly woven "live" performance of great and real intelligent songs. So Eclectic-Prog followers you should ALSO, appreciate this work, I guess. I did entirely! Just because, the whole thing is a perfect combination of songs played amazingly up-front "live"in a ****4.5 "my kind" of live album-Stars............. Every Colour You Are!
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