David Sylvian — Approaching Silence
(Shakti 72438-48177-2-5, 1990/1999, CD)
by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-10-01
After a decade of “ambient” silence, Virgin subsidiary label Shakti has released a set of mysterious instrumental pieces by composer David Sylvian. This is the artist’s third collection of textural, non-vocal excursions, chosen from two Japanese multi-media presentations (1990 and 1994). The first track, “The Beekeeper’s Apprentice,” is a re-release from the limited edition Emberglance (a book of fine art plus CD) which was done with graphic designer Russell Mills. The tone of the track is cold and metallic with swelling bells and a vague sense of hazy disturbance. As is consistent with most drone compositions, a layer of backdrop is present over which eerie interjections of bells and gongs (by co-writer, percussionist Frank Perry) are applied like a subtle brushstroke. The title track is a joint working title with Robert Fripp who supplies Frippertronics as well as philosophical statements on the almost forty minute murmur. The sound collage suggests a mood of serenity as well as structure in watery ether, while the short connecting track, “Epiphany,” is Sylvian’s haiku of collected voices over a short train ride. Despite missing the visual aspect of the presentations, the trio of washes lead you to conjure stark imagery as well as curious backdrops shrouded by elusive optimism. Compared to Sylvian’s joint collaborations with Holger Czukay, this set of pieces matches the intensity of Flux and Mutability despite relying on a drone base.
Ginger Baker RIP – Legendary English drummer Ginger Baker has died at the age of 80. After coming to fame with Cream in the 60s alongside Eric Clapton and Jack Bruce, he became one of the most recognized and influential drummers of the rock era. On September 25, his family announced that he was critically ill, and on October 6 his death was confirmed. » Read more
Alex's Hand Seeks Spa Treatment – American / European band Alex's Hand has a new album in the works called Hungarian Spa, which looks to be their biggest and best yet, featuring a large roster of guest musicians. They're seeking funding to take the project on the road, and are looking for help from the crowd of wisdom. » Read more
Legendary Co-Founder of The 13th Floor Elevators Passes Away at Age 71 – Sadly, Roky Erickson passed away on May 31, 2019. Known as the father of psychedelic music and co-founder of the ground breaking 13th Floor Elevators, Roky had a profound influence on music from the 60s to today. Plagued by his own personal demons, Roky had a difficult life and is now free of these burdens. » Read more
Tea & Symphony - An Asylum for the Musically Insane – There's not two albums like this in the world (with the possible exception of the band's second album, Jo Sago, not yet out on CD). Tea and Symphony were a trio of Jef Daw (guitars, flutes, cello),... (1994) » Read more