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David Sylvian - Secrets of the Beehive CD (album) cover


David Sylvian


Crossover Prog

4.14 | 201 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars David Sylvian's fourth solo album remains one of the best and more accessible efforts from one of the most distinctive voices in modern music. It was released on the heels of his 1986 double-disc 'Gone to Earth' (my own introduction to Sylvian's music, thanks to the marquee value of guest stars like ROBERT FRIPP and BILL NELSON), and the new album further refined the twin aesthetic impulses that continue to shape his career: urbane ambient pop and drifting ENO-esque instrumentals.

'Gone to Earth' had isolated the songs and the soundscapes onto separate LPs (later combined onto a single compact disc, but with omissions). This time Sylvian was able to blend the two musical paths into a unified style: not rock, but sometimes close; not jazz, but often jazzy; and not quite classical despite the woodwind arrangements and occasional flugelhorn.

And, unlike some of his more esoteric minimalist recordings (think of 'Blemish', or one of his collaborations with Krautrock guru HOLGER CZUKAY), 'Beehive' devotes equal attention to both atmospherics and melody. The result is a beautifully crafted album of exquisite art rock, featuring another impressive roster of guest talent. Old friends Steve Jansen (JAPAN) and Ryuichi Sakamoto (YELLOW MAGIC ORCHESTRA) are back, plus the ubiquitous Mark Isham and ECM experimental guitarist David Torn.

But Sylvian himself is the guiding light behind the spectrum of music here. And after more than twenty years this album might still be the perfect introduction to his intimate, sophisticated songwriting style.

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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