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Brilliant Trees


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Biography

The David Sylvian that fronted new wave pop band Japan wore luminescent hair and glam make-up; on the cover of his solo debut, 1984's Brilliant Trees, he was stylish and refined, a gentleman popster. But the illustration that introduces 2003's Blemish sends a different message: he's bedraggled and unshaven, his far-off expression turned haunted. The new millennium has seen a more ... Read more in Amazon's David Sylvian Store

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Brilliant Trees + Secrets Of The Beehive + Gone To Earth
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Product details

  • Audio CD (23 July 1984)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Virgin
  • ASIN: B000025JV7
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  Audio Cassette  |  Vinyl  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 48,929 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Pulling Punches
2. The Ink In The Well
3. Nostalgia
4. Red Guitar
5. Weathered Wall
6. Backwaters
7. Brilliant Trees

Product Description

VIR 786464 cdmp; VIRGIN - Italia;

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 35 people found the following review helpful By pjr VINE VOICE on 11 Mar 2008
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I always consider that David Sylvian should be cast in a similar role to that of Scott Walker. Both turned their backs on what were enormously successful bands to follow their own muse with little real care for commercial rewards. Instead they simply went about creating a distinctive niche from which both are still putting out records which bear little interest in commercial realities and are more artistic statements.

"Brilliant Trees" is where Sylvian began his journey. Here is a record which is steeped in French literature and art from the Paris of the inter-war years of Satre and musical cues coming from jazzy time signtures of ECM, the forth world ambience of Brian Eno, and echoes of a band who coloured a great deal of his music took cues from throughout the 80's, Can.

There is an echo of former group Japan in the opening track "Pulling Punches", which could have easily fit onto the final "Tin Drum" album, but from then on it really takes no interest in anything of his past legacy. The jazzy time signatures of "Ink In The Well" and "Red Guitar" mark them as two of the most distinctive top 40 records of the whole decade. Whilst a good deal of the rest of the album is filled with gentle textures and a quite ambient feel about it. Although this contains faint echoes of Japan it is fuzzier and lacks the clinical feel some of their work contains.

What makes the album for me is some of the contributions from the support musicians. Danny Thompson's double bass sounds as rich and warm here as he did when working with Nick Drake and the solo by Kenny Wheeler on "Ink In The Well" gives the track a really blistering second half.
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Jason Parkes #1 HALL OF FAME on 9 Sep 2001
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
David Sylvian's debut from 1984 remains an undoubted classic. The break between 'Tin Drum'/'Oil on Canvas' & this album, though only a year or so, had given Sylvian chance to grow & develop. The supporting cast- including Ryuichi Sakamoto, Danny Thompson, Mark Isham, Steve Jansen, Holger Czuckay & Richard Barbieri all add wonderfully to the record.
'Pulling Punches' is a more organic continuation of the rockier end of Japan- such as 'The Art of Parties'. It also reminds me of 'Scary Monsters'-Bowie & 'Lightning Strikes' by The Clash. It would be the last time Sylvian would 'rock out' til 'The First Day'...'The Ink in the Well' contrasts with this, a mellow lull aided by Thompson's jazzy double bass. Think Scott Walker sings Tim Buckley (in blue). Sylvian, still kind of a pop-star, singing about Picasso (It seems 80's popstars had musical ambitions, rather than commercial ones)...'Nostalgia' takes an Oriental vocal & the type of ambient space of 'My New Career'& 'A Foreign Place'to fresh lengths. It provided title for the Japan compilation 'Exorcising Ghosts' & seems to be doing just that. Along with the later 'Maria' & 'Godman' it seems to be taking the template of 'Ghosts' to previously uncharted territories. 'Red Guitar' is one of Sylvian's great songs; the piano has a warm jazzy feel- the song itself has the drama of a Bond theme & the brilliant, resigned "It's been this way for years"...'Weathered Wall' continues the Yellow Magic/Sakamoto-inflections of 'Bamboo Houses/Music' & 'Taking Islands in Africa'. Co-written with Jon Hassell, it takes us to the kind of ambient plain Eno dreamt up a few decades ago.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By russell clarke TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 27 Sep 2008
Format: Audio CD
Brilliant Trees , the 1984 debut album from David Sylvian is one of those moments where an artist completely confounds expectations. There had been hints in Sylvians work with Ryuichi Sakamoto ( who plays keyboards on Brilliant Trees) in 1982 ( "Bamboo Houses") and 1983 ( " Forbidden Colours") and indeed with Japan on the Tin Drum: Remastered album but this albums evocative mixture of jazz, ambient, world music , electronic and rock is truly startling in its complexity and textural depth.
That it is brilliant is not the issue though it is undoubtedly the case , it,s how the depth of the arrangements is allied to melodically rich songs that makes Brilliant Trees such a rewarding listening experience.
The old side one of the vinyl version with "Pulling Punches" , "The Ink In The Well ", "Nostalgia" and most notably the quite superb "Red Guitar" ( a song i never ever tire of hearing - since when has a song as sonically captivating as this made the top 20? - it made number 17 ) is as good a side of music as has ever been my pleasure to listen to. It is just glorious stuff and the only reason side two - "Weathered Wall" ( written with Jon Hassel who plays exquisite evocative trumpet) "Backwaters" and the title track ( again written with Jon Hassell) palls is that it comes after side one . Pretty much everything in rock history would.
Holger Czukay plays French horn and guitar while Steve Jansen ( formerly of Japan of course) provides percussion and synthesisers. Sylvian plays piano, guitar , percussion synths and provides treatments and the whole gives the music extraordinary depth and complexity with huge gradations in the moods and ambience.
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