Author Topic: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD  (Read 3203 times)

drone on

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David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« on: September 16, 2009, 12:01:56 AM »
Went to my local record store to pick up Robin Guthrie's new one on Darla ("Carousel") and lo and behold the clerk stocking all the new Tuesday releases holds in his hand a brand new release by David Sylvian, which I wasn't even aware of until today.  The cover art on this is gorgeous!  Bought it of course with hopes that the true followup to "Secrets of the Beehive" had finally seen the light of day.  My biggest fear: that it's the followup to the awful "Blemish", full of atonal glitch noise, little or no melodies, and more avant-weird gloom packed lyrics.  Unfortunately, it's the latter: sparse, barely-there music, atonal guitars, Fennesz (again), no atmospheric synths, no drums, disjointed and bizarre lyrics, etc.  This album is a bit warmer and a few tracks are quite good (but would've been better with a full band arrangement).  I dunno what DS is aiming for with his releases now.  I don't think he's going to win many new fans with stuff like this (and possibly he doesn't care one way or the other).  It's interesting, it's avant garde, it's different, but is it good?  I may grow to love this, who knows.  One difference I hear now compared to the "classic" Sylvian is the romantic side to him seems to have been replaced by a kind of bitterness and increasing isolation which manifests in somewhat bizarre, non-sensical lyrics.  It's hard to relate to much of the imagery, it is so esoteric and "out there" (or should I say "in there"?)  Sometimes I think after his divorce he went a little extreme with the gloomy lyrics and bleak music.  With such sparse backing music now, I don't know if the records hold up on the strength of THE VOICE alone, but it seems to take precedence now whereas soundscaping and the MUSIC was the true strength of his earlier solo career.  I guess I am still hoping he will snap out of it and get Steve Jansen (playing real drums instead of laptops/programming) and Fripp back in the studio and produce something gorgeous (and more traditional) again.  Any opinions on this subject? I apologize for this long-winded post, especially if you hate Sylvian. 

Mark Mushet

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2009, 12:16:52 AM »
There's no going back. It's a personal journey that seems set for the heart of darkness...yet the music is really more about other people's sound than his own.
I mean, he's smart, says the "right" things and has cutesy illustrations of himself on his website. But that cold, controlled, arch photo of him on the WIRE cover recently reminded me of Tom Cruise's impenetrable aloofness in Vanity Fair's photo spread awhile back. 'nuff said. I've found his guest spots on others' recent discs (like Arve Henriksen's Cartography) to be ill-fitting and irritating. Nine Horses is good though.

drone on

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #2 on: September 16, 2009, 12:38:04 AM »
Yes, that's a good way of putting it: it's about other people's music instead of his own.  I notice he is also sharing song credits with all the guest musicians on this album.  So do you think he'll mutate into spoken word next and leave out the music altogether? (gee I hope not!) I liked the Nine Horses material, too, although musically that seemed to be all Steve Jansen with programming and computers (the "cut n' paste" approach).  I will have to check out that issue of The Wire, thanks for heads up...

uhurit

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #3 on: September 16, 2009, 01:03:30 PM »
I can respect DS for trying to get away from the crooner stereotype...does the world need yet another one? I loved his earlier works, they're classic. His newer experimental works do take some getting used to, that's for sure

Mark Mushet

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #4 on: September 16, 2009, 05:11:08 PM »
I loved his earlier works, they're classic. His newer experimental works do take some getting used to, that's for sure.

I suspect he'll continue to find outlets for straighter song forms under different banners. I do like Steve Jansen's drumming alot.

I don't find DS experimental at all. I mean, how long have these collaborators been around doing what they do? Keith Rowe is, what, 60?

uhurit

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2009, 07:02:07 PM »
Experimental on "Blemish"  in a sense of incorporating fractured melody + clicks'n'cuts +some glitchy moments...definitely, not mainstream, IMO. Not as far out as "Autechre" melody-wise either, fortunately

But I do hope he continues to record "traditional" songs as well

jdh

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #6 on: September 16, 2009, 09:03:11 PM »
I am a big listener of DS,since latter day Japan.I agree,Blemish was not a favourite though I got the remix version which I find better.For plenty of info and samples of every track off Manafon,go to his website.I may not like it but I do respect him for going in his own direction,no matter the market conditions.

jdh

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #7 on: September 16, 2009, 09:06:48 PM »
And I should add,how is the new Robin Guthrie? I greatly enjoy his music,along with Cocteau Twins but there is an example of the artist doing the exact same thing nearly every time,though he created the sound or template of that sound, so who can blame him.

Mark Mushet

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2009, 11:18:33 PM »
And I should add,how is the new Robin Guthrie? I greatly enjoy his music,along with Cocteau Twins but there is an example of the artist doing the exact same thing nearly every time

Oh no! This one's waaaay different!  ;)

drone on

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2009, 10:39:50 PM »
The new Guthrie is nothing new but he always does it so well.  I'm glad that despite Cocteau Twins' disband in the 90's he is still true to his original sound and did not either 1) quit music or 2) go off on some weird tangent.  His collabs with Harold Budd and John Foxx are essential listening! Looking forward to Robin's next e.p. in November, also on Darla Records.

Mark Mushet

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #10 on: September 19, 2009, 05:47:45 PM »
The new Guthrie is nothing new but he always does it so well.  I'm glad that despite Cocteau Twins' disband in the 90's he is still true to his original sound and did not either 1) quit music or 2) go off on some weird tangent.  His collabs with Harold Budd and John Foxx are essential listening! Looking forward to Robin's next e.p. in November, also on Darla Records.

The collab with John Foxx reminds me a bit of Stephan Micus. Quite lovely. It's very tough to find collaborators when your sound is so completely dense to begin with. There's very little breathing room. I do find the same-ness is beginning to beg for a shift. And the EPs should be on the album. I can't see the reason for separate releases except to boost sales.

drone on

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #11 on: September 19, 2009, 11:25:50 PM »
Yes the e.p.'s are a waste of space and money.  Darla pissed me off when they released the two Guthrie/Budd discs separately when with slight editing could have fit on one CD. 

rikm

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #12 on: September 20, 2009, 04:53:23 AM »

I'm most interested to hear this release, and I'm optimistic that it will be a return to form for Sylvian.  I had problems with Blemish, but I found Nine Horses to be a really nice work that reminded me of the Rain Tree Crow disc, so I guess it could go either way for me...

Regardless of his missteps, he remains one of those artists that I can't help getting excited over and his back catalog is strong enough to maintain my interest in new material.

drone on

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #13 on: September 21, 2009, 01:23:04 AM »
You should read the customer reviews of this on Amazon.  It's split between "this is a masterpiece" and "this is total garbage."  I still need to give it some really deep listening on the headphones as I haven't decided what I think yet.  There's also a website dedicated to this release, www.manafon.com

Regardless of what one may think of this album, Sylvian should be given credit for his creative integrity.  He's doing what he wants without relying on major labels like Virgin trying to "market" him.  Integrity is not something the man has ever lacked in his career.   

zzzone.net

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Re: David Sylvian "Manafon" new CD
« Reply #14 on: September 26, 2009, 03:21:10 PM »
I'm a big fan of Sylvian AND Manafon.

It's Sylvian crooning over almost classical instrumentation with found sounds in a jazzy context (if that makes sense).

I like his ambient stuff too.