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.
Keith Tippett RIP – One of the giants of British jazz has left us. Keith Graham Tippetts, known professionally as Keith Tippett, died today at the age of 72. His work from the late 60s into the 70s and beyond includes some of the greatest jazz produced in the UK, and stands as an impressive oevre to this day. » Read more
Phil May of The Pretty Things RIP – We were saddened to learn that Phil May, lead singer and founding member of The Pretty Things, has died at the age of 75. The band's 1968 album S.F. Sorrow is one of the enduring classics of the psychedelic era, and the group existed in various forms until finally retiring in 2018. » Read more
Jorge Santana RIP – Jorge Santana, noted guitarist, leader of the band Malo and brother to Carlos Santana, died on May 14 at the age of 68. Jorge and Carlos worked together on a number of occasions, though Jorge's career was centered around Malo, solo work, and with Fania All-Stars. » Read more
Shindig Festival Goes Lock-Down – Here's what they're saying: It's A Happening Thing! The Shindig! Magazine Lockdown Festival. In our days of no large gatherings of people, maybe it's still possible to have a music festival. Shindig! Magazine is giving it a go with a multi-artist streaming extravaganza on Saturday April 25. » Read more