Blesok no. 56, September-October, 2007
Sound Reviews


When the Poet Sleeps with the Angels
David Sylvian in Skopje

Angel Sitnovski – Boys


On 13th of October, in a not overcrowded, freezing and frazzled Universal Hall, we had an opportunity to see another great name of the contemporary music. This time, again through Skopje based “Avalon Production”, we saw the famous David Sylvian for the first time, within his The World is Everything tour.

In 2007, David Sylvian is pretty far away from his music beginnings and the era of post-punk and new romantics. Since his days with Japan, his music has been through many artistic changes; something that many musicians do not have faith or talent to employ.
    David Sylvian started his music career as a singer, composer and poet of the then-famous band Japan. The band had its biggest success in 1982 with the song Ghosts that reached top 3 at UK charts. That song somehow indicated where Sylvian's artistic production was heading to.
    Later, Sylvian would comment on this song as a breakthrough within himself, that he touched something sincere. After the creation of this song, he felt an obligation to find its own way in music and, finding his own voice color, to follow his inner call.
    Sylvian's further musical career is in many ways marked by the renowned Japanese composer Ryuchi Sakamoto. In early 1983, Sakamoto invites Sylvian to write and perform the vocal version of famous and awarded movie theme Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence. The result was Forbidden Colours, his first international hit. Since then, Sakamoto has remained an immense source of inspiration. In 1984 Sylvian created his masterpiece Brilliant Trees. It was his first solo album with guest appearances of many renowned musicians: Sakamoto, Holger Czukay, experimental jazz trumpeters Joe Hassell and Kenny Wheeler, as well as Japan members – the drummer Steve Jansen and the keyboardist Richard Barbieri. Sylvian reached top 4 of the British album chart.
    Further Sylvian's art work includes various experiments in visual arts. He experienced many specific, powerful and interesting moments while working on the album Gone to Earth, where he had new teammates. One of the most important is Robert Fripp, the leader of the legendary King Crimson, as well as Bill Nelson. The album, published in 1985, contains seven vocal and ten instrumental compositions, and was praised by the critics. More successes follow, not to count them all here.

Within his The World Is Everything world tour, Sylvian appeared in Skopje with the former Japan drummer Steve Jansen, Kit Lowe on bass and Takuma Watanabe on keyboards. With the first sounds from his guitar, Sylvian presented himself as an inscrutable artist. Without showing emotions, set up on a high chair, without moving away from it, he played his two-hour concert. He presented his latest works, but also performed some of the olds, as well as some from the Japan era. His music was melodic, obsessive and effusive. As he has embraced his poetry and world music gains, he sang in his characteristic voice, with his identifiable atmospheric vocal, appreciated by many. When the poet sleeps with the angels, the music carries you to some higher spheres of imagination. Such were David Sylvian's songs: carefully crafted, with excellent mixture of acoustic instruments and electronics. Sylvian did not communicate with the audience, except through his music. The audience was watchful and reacted with acclamations to known songs. The sound was good, with the usual stage lights. On the big screen in the background, as part of the music, there were scenes from Sylvian's visual arts.
    At the end of his Skopje concert, on the encore he sang two more songs and left, leaving the crowd satisfied.

Translated by: Igor Isakovski
Edited by: Elizabeta Bakovska
Photos by: Boys




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