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on 23 November 1999
many of us are extremely fond of sylvian and his concerts are sublime but is has to be said that there's a lot of bad stuff on almost all of his records. this is the exception: i fell in love for the first time at 22 (it was september too !)and this was the soundtrack so maybe i'm biased but my whole body tingles whenever i hear this chilling record. how damn good is orpheus ? total quality, sadly only to be hinted at since.
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#1 HALL OF FAMEon 9 September 2001
When asked my favourite Sylvian record, I usually never give the same answer twice. Often I will answer 'Gentlemen Take Polaroids', 'Brilliant Trees', 'Rain Tree Crow', 'Damage', 'Tin Drum', 'Gone to Earth', 'Dead Bees on a Cake' and this. Then again the more experimental ambient works are just as good. 'The First Day' is the only so-so record he's done since 'Quiet Life'- & that has moments such as 'Brightness Falls' (& also produced the out-takes 'Earthbound' & 'Endgame'). This is one of the albums I've played since it came out and still play today. Along with 'Happy Sad', 'Spirit of Eden', 'Pink Moon','Astral Weeks', 'In a Silent Way' & '60 Watt Silver Lining' it is one of my fave nightime albums (the point where you sink into sleep; between the drudge of day & the slip of dreams...).
Sylvian was on a bit of a roll- an unreleased collaboration with Scott Walker; the 'Gone to Earth' double-set (which featured classics 'Laughter & Forgetting' & 'River Man', amongst others) & the brilliant Mick Karn-Steve Jansen single 'Buoy'. Taking the latter as a starting point, the result is this album, which sounds like a jazzy Scott Walker.
'September' is the short opener, "sipping coke & playing games", which captures the passing moment. From the Summer of life to the Autumn of realisation. A happysad melancholia...'The Boy with the Gun' is a guitar & string drenched song- taking instrumentals such as 'Campfire Coyote Country' as a template (& moving towards 'Rain Tree Crow'). 'Maria', with a Turkish sounding female backing vocal (it reminds me of 'Persian Love Song' by Dead Can Dance) & a minor-key synth is a more worldly advance on 'Ghosts'.The gloom is abated for 'Orpheus', one of Sylvian's best songs. One of the best songs ever!. The vocal & lyrics are rich & happysad once more- Mark Isham's horn interlude is particularly lovely; as is Ryuichi Sakamoto's keyboards (not forgetting Brian Gascgoine's string arrangements). It'll make you want to read 'Orpheus in the Underworld'& view Cocteau's 'Orphee' (if you haven't already). My favourite lyric, though I'm not sure why, is "sleepers sleep as we row the boat/ Just you the weather and I gave up hope"- which is as poetic as anything. 'The Devil's Own' is a dark song; from the underworld we move to the Spanish setting detailed in the earlier 'The Ink in the Well'. 'When Poets Dreamed of Angels' is an almost violent Spanish-acoustic song, we think of Picasso & Lorca & 'Spirit of the Beehive'. 'Mother & Child' uses the excellent Danny Thompson, star of tracks on 'Brilliant Trees' & 'Dream Letter' (to name but a few!). 'Let the Happiness In' (lovely cover by The Hope Blister)begins on a simple keyboard & expands to allow further instruments & emotions in. Another awesome moment is 'Waterfront', another bleak Walkeresque study of melancholy "in Catalonian bars".It is as good as Walker tracks like 'The Bridge', 'Big Louise' & 'On Your Own Again'. The bonus track here is a re-recording of the Sakamoto/Sylvian single 'Forbidden Colours' (from 1983's 'Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence). This is a more organic, classical take on it- the famous synth refrain is translated to piano & strings. This is a wonderful version- Sylvian knows why he left it off 'Everything & Nothing'. A sublime conclusion to a sublime record. Then again,can we expect anything else from Sylvian?
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on 6 May 2002
Secrets of the Beehives is one of the best albums of the eighties,you find yourself submerged similar to listening to Nick Drake you find yourself in another world unable to listen to anything else because of the unique sound that is set before you.
It has an incredible mood similar to David Bowie's album 1.Outside providing wonderfull relaxing images. The finest songs are 'september''Orpheus''let the happiness in''the boy with the gun' and 'Forbidden Colours'
the later being based on sakamoto's own composition but with a wonderfull piano bringing out the melody put together with david's melted velvet chocolate voice
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on 23 September 2002
Sylvian's 'Secrets of the Beehive' is the bridge between and 'Brilliant Trees' and 'Gone to Earth'. Each track is an art formed; poetry forged with a melodic orchestral sense. The warm, deep and original tones of Sylvians voice bring essence and understanding to each piece.
'September' introduces the theme of the album; like a melancholy algebraic equation, resolved quickly but not losing any of its substance or structure.
'The Boy with the Gun'.. teasing strings and daring lyrics, BE WARNED there are many layers!
'Maria' is an introduction to the albums peak .. 'Orpheus', Sylvian at his best, its undulating motion captures maturity and wisdom in every bar, (if you've ever wondered what it's like to sail down a river in Middleearth).. (with a full moon). 'The Devils Own' a suitable precursor to 'When Poets dreamed of Angels'... another peak in this masterpiece. The three last songs bring the listener to a heavy and meditative end enabling one to hear all elements introduced in the earlier tracks.
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on 14 February 2002
This is Sylvian at his best....beautiful tunes with moving, angsty and sometimes dark lyrics.....what was going through his head when he wrote The Boy with the Gun?
Orpheus is possibly his most popular track with a wonderfully bleak line: "I wrestle with an outlook on life that shifts between darkness and shadowy light." There is suffering in the lyrics, which makes them all the more meaningful.
Sylvian is very difficult to classify....I think he is unique. This is a beautiful album.
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So much has been said about this piece of david's work that it almost defies further comment - however. This album IS beautiful and all the wonderfully kind/constructive things that have been said about it are quite true; just listen and you will find the sense in what has been said. As a lifelong 'Sylvian' devotee, however, I must say that all the reviews I have read so far have missed out one small nuance. This is a piece of work - an essay - which says reveals more about 'David Sylvian' the person than the totally gorgeous 'Dead Bees On A Cake', however much I hate myself for saying it. David, I defy you to gainsay me publicly on that point (apologies). This is a totally wonderful work because, quite simply, it is honest in its open discussion of insecurity - of inner torment and the open admission that we all have a devil in the soul. Brilliant but Human. It doesn't get much better than this.
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on 2 September 2011
I discovered this album just recently and it blew me away
I knew Japan was very good but this album is music of the Gods.
This music penetrates the soul in the most magical way.
I will have to get all of Sylvian's work now...
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on 1 May 2016
Great CD. Memorable, thought provoking lyrics. Orpheus is an absolute Sylvian masterpiece. Received the CD within the seller specified timescales.
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on 30 October 2002
From the first moment that you pick up the case of this album and inspect the sleeve, you can't but think this looks like a piece of art. "Vaughan Oliver" who is the designer has created the perfect sleeve for Mr Sylvian music.

As always David has put together an excellent cast of players for this set of songs.

With the likes of "Ryuichi Sakamoto" doing the string arrangements and playing keyboards and the great "Danny Thompson" playing the double bass, and the superb "Mark Isham" playing some sublime trumpet and flugelhorn also playing drums "Steve Jensen" David brother.

While the listener hears what has been recorded he can't help but gasp at the skill of these musicians and the beautiful songs that "David" has written.

Sometimes when you buy a album you feel as if some of the songs are just "filler",(you just taking up space and time) not so with this album every song can be enjoyed.
These are not just songs but "audio art" everything has been done so well from the production to the arrangements.

This version of the album has an extra track that does not appear on the original vinyl version or the Japanese version or the version of the C.D. in the "Weather box" five C.D. box-set, the tenth track which was originally a "B-side to the "Red Guitar" single "Forbidden Colours" (re-recorded version) not the Film soundtrack version from "Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence".

This version is more stripped down and more enjoyable for it!!!
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on 10 January 2015
Not because its a bad album. It simply hasn't arrived.
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