Exposé Online banner

David Sylvian — Approaching Silence
(Shakti 72438-48177-2-5, 1990/1999, CD)

by Jeff Melton, Published 2000-10-01

Approaching Silence Cover art

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.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 20, 1999 releases, 1990 recordings

Related artist(s): Robert Fripp, David Sylvian

Latest news

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more

2017-05-19
First ProgStock Festival Set for October – October 2017 will see the inaugural edition of a festival called ProgStock in Rahway, New Jersey at the Union County Performing Arts Center. With a definite slant towards neo-progressive music, the event is sure to please many fans with the inclusion of such artists as Echolyn, Glass Hammer, and Aisles. The festival will take place October 13-15. » Read more

2017-05-05
Clive Brooks RIP – Word reaches us today of another sad passing in the music world. Drummer Clive Brooks, best known as a member of such Canterbury bands as Egg, Uriel / Arzachel, and Groundhogs, has died at the age of 67. Details are sketchy at this point. The news was reported on Nick Mason's Facebook page — Brooks was Mason's drum tech. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

La Tulipe Noir - Nostiman Hemar – This Greek quintet has been around since the mid-90s, this being their fourth release, a concept album about Homer's Odyssey. The best thing about this band are the idiosyncratic vocals of lead...  (2007) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues