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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Wonderful, Literate, Masterpiece
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...
Published on 11 Mar 2008 by pjr

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13 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Remastered often means ruined...
10 years ago I was burgled and my CD collection disappeared.

I slowly replaced the lost CDs; Sylvian's Brilliant Trees was at that time a 'compact price' disc.

I had high hopes for the remastered version.

First impressions of the CD were a little disappointing. Unlike the vinyl LP and original CD the cover and inserts were bland, lacking...
Published on 12 Sep 2006 by Steve Ayres


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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant....brilliant....brilliant....Three Brilliants!, 17 Jan 2011
By 
Carl Hubbard (Dublin, Ireland) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brilliant Trees (Audio CD)
Genius doesn't get better than this - Red Guitar is the highlight, replicating Japan's rhythmic drums and bass lines while Nostalgia was the template for much of Mr Sylvian's subsequent mood pieces. Weathered Wall has a Monteverdian vocal quality (kind of?) and opens like a blossoming flower and while Gone to Earth is a worthy successor - Riverman, magical! - this remains, for me at least, the high point of the maestro's still-refining 35 year career. He is a one-off, without a doubt...Buy it!
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5.0 out of 5 stars An absolute classic, 6 Nov 2009
By 
PaulR "PaulR" (Central England) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Brilliant Trees (Audio CD)
The start of David Sylvians solo career may have put pressure on him for following releases by creating such an excellent debut album.
This album was one of 3 albums that I used to choose my CD player - flipping between playing my vinyl copy and the CD on trial CD player - I got to know the album, the feel and the sound extremely well. It is a beautiful album, very well crafted, with high quality musicianship (if such a word exists ?) topped by that voice - the vocal equivalent of a welcoming mug of hot chocolate after a winter walk in the woods.
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4.0 out of 5 stars "These are years for the genius of living", 6 Sep 2009
By 
Nicholas Casley (Plymouth, Devon, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brilliant Trees (Audio CD)
It's often difficult to judge for whom you are writing a review. A different kind of review is needed for those who have come to this page knowing full well who David Sylvian is than for someone, presumably born in the 1980s or later, whose curiosity has landed on this page without any preconceptions. To the latter, all that can briefly be said is that Sylvian was a leading player in the arthouse band Japan, and who went solo to explore fresh musical pathways when that band split up. It might help to quote the names of the artists on this, Sylvian's first album from 1984, who helped create the soundworld through his songs. Thus we have Holger Czukay on guitar and French horn; Steve Jansen on drums and Richard Barbieri and Steve Nye on keyboards (all intimately involved in the group Japan); Riuchi Sakamoto (from the country Japan) on keyboards; Jon Hassell and Mark Isham on trumpet; and Kenny Wheeler on flugelhorn.

My review is from the original CD version of the album. There are seven tracks, and I will attempt to take you through them one by one. The first is arguably the worst on the album. `Pulling Punches' has awkward rhythms and synthetic brass, and demonstrates just how much the group Japan was David Sylvian. But the lyrics are evocative: "We'll dream of love never-ending".

`The Ink in the Well' has a laid-back jazz feel, with some marvellous double-bass work by Danny Thompson. Again, the lyrics are worthy of much quotation: who else would write, "Picasso is painting the ships in the harbour, the wind and the sails. These are years of the genius for living." The third track, `Nostalgia', is again laid back and has lyrical hints of the singer's former life in the group Japan: "I'm cutting branches from the trees, shaped by years of memories, to exorcise the ghosts from inside of me."

The catchy `Red Guitar' is really the only commercial-sounding track on the album and is followed by the fifth and, in my opinion, best track: `Weathered Wall'. It has a mesmerising slow beat reminiscent of the desert wind. Track six, `Backwaters' has a subtle soundscape of complex beauty yet framed in simple rhythms, like most of the album in fact, a little like an aural version of a film by Tarkovsky.

The final title-track is the longest (at over eight-and-a-half minutes) but is, for me, quite disappointing. The first half appears to be a paean but to what or whom? Sylvian's fragile and often difficult voice gives thanks for making his life possible with only a bare `organ' accompaniment. The second half is a long instrumental extrapolation of the first.

So, this is a fine album, and I remember playing it many, many times when I purchased it on LP back in 1984. It was undoubtedly one of the best of the year and has stood up well to the test of time. Sylvian turned his back on the obvious commercial opportunities open to him following the break up of Japan, and it is to his credit that he chose to write and perform what he wanted to write and perform.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Masterpiece, 3 Sep 2009
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This review is from: Brilliant Trees (Audio CD)
Not much to add to others really i bought this when it first came out at the age of 25 yes i am getting old.I loved it then and still do. I think its his best album i have some of the others but this is my favourite.A bit of a warning i have just updated to the remaster version i dont think it adds much to the original CD and you can hear hissing.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of his best, 9 Feb 2009
By 
M. Wiltshire "The Machine" (Isle of Man) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brilliant Trees (MP3 Download)
Sylvian was on top form when he did this album. Take the best stuff that he ever did with Japan and add even more atmosphere. One or two tunes you could describe as 'pop', almost, but as ever with Sylvian on a different level to your average pop record.
His poetry is sublime.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The difficult first solo album., 15 Oct 2005
This review is from: Brilliant Trees (Audio CD)
I have a lot of respect for David Sylvian. There he was, right on the verge of mega startdom with Japan, and he ups and leaves and releases this. To say that it is different would I feel be an understatement.
I remember hearing it on it's release, and being more than a little suprised at its sound. In fact it was at least 10 years after it was released that I actually made my way back to it, and began to enjoy it.
Anyone new to Sylvian I would recommend to buy Secrets of the Beehive, then his more recent (yes, he still makes music) Dead Bees on a Cake, perhaps the Gone to Earth, before coming to this album. I love it, but it isn't his most easy to listen to album. (Not that I am suggesting that 'easy' is a good tag to attach to music.)
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13 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Remastered often means ruined..., 12 Sep 2006
By 
Steve Ayres "bearuk" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Brilliant Trees (Audio CD)
10 years ago I was burgled and my CD collection disappeared.

I slowly replaced the lost CDs; Sylvian's Brilliant Trees was at that time a 'compact price' disc.

I had high hopes for the remastered version.

First impressions of the CD were a little disappointing. Unlike the vinyl LP and original CD the cover and inserts were bland, lacking the look and 'style' of the original.

Listening to the CD was also a disappointment. New background hiss not present on my 'compact price' CD was apparent. I had to check both discs in case I was imagining a cleaner sound from my old CD.

OK, I have a reasonably high spec system (Consonance Droplet CD, Pathos amplifier, Quad 989 speakers). Maybe another system would mask the differences. If you've never heard the original vinyl or CD it might not matter. But you'll still miss the artwork and miss some of the thought that went into making the album.

You can copy a CD or download an mp3, but for me the 'sleeve notes', the artwork, they all add to the richness of the experience of listening to music. Do yourself a favour and avoid this remaster.

I'd have given this 1 star, but for the fact that Sylvian's Brilliant Trees is a masterpiece.
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Brilliant Trees by David Sylvian (Audio CD - 2006)
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