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3.8 out of 5 stars26
3.8 out of 5 stars
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Throughout his career Sylvian has worked with many collaborators and this compilation brings together 15 of his collaborations from the past decade, with the final track being a solo production. Much like Sylvian's 2000 compilation "Everything is Nothing" most of the tracks have been remixed, but not to any radical extent. All the tracks have been remastered and the CD is housed in a neat digipak with some quality artwork.

Highlights include the three Nine Horses tracks, particularly "Wonderful World", where Sylvian's dulcet tenor vocals work in perfect tandem with Swedish songstress Stina Nordenstam, and the Ryuichi Sakamoto collaboration "World Citizen". It doesn't match 1983's "Forbidden Colours" (what does?), but it is a quality song nonetheless. "Exit/Delete" with Takagi Masakatsu has a simple but intricate folkish vibe and features some top drawer lyrics from Sylvian.

The one new track, "Five Lines" with Dai Fujikura, finds Sylvian accompanied by a string quartet. It's a sparse affair and it is, disappointingly, one of the weakest songs here. Sylvian and Fujikura are currently reworking Sylvians's 2009 "Manafon" album, which will feature original orchestration by Fujikura and some new compositions. It's due for release in 2011.

The list of collaborators and the original albums that these tracks are taken from:

1. Sleepwalkers: Martin Brandlmayr (The World Is Everything 2007 Tour Sampler).
2. Money For All: Nine Horses (Money for All).
3. Ballad of a Deadman: Steve Jansen (Slope).
4. Angels: Punkt (Crime Scenes).
5. World Citizen: Ryuichi Sakamoto (World Citizen).
6. Five Lines: Dai Fujikura (Previously unreleased).
7. The Day The Earth Stole Heaven: Nine Horses (Snow Borne Sorrow).
8. Playground Martyrs: Steve Jansen (Slope).
9. Exit/Delete: Takagi Masakatsu (Coieda).
10. Pure Genius: Tweaker (2 Am Wake Up Call).
11. Wonderful World: Nine Horses (Snow Borne Sorrow).
12. Transit: Fennesz (Venice).
13. The World Is Everything: Takuma Watanbe (The World Is Everything 2007 Tour Sampler).
14. Thermal: Arve Henriksen (Cartography).
15. Sugarfuel: Readymade (Bold).
16. Trauma: Solo track (Japanese CD and Limited Edition vinyl releases of "Blemish").
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on 20 October 2010
I've loved David Sylvian throughout his career: he defined my youth with his icy coolness in Japan, I felt I'd matured as his music evolved. Until his recent two albums, that is. I found Manafon and Blemish too abstract and out there for me. I was always a fan, but never a completest, so the majority of these tracks are new to me.
With few exceptions, they're outstanding. They actually follow the trajectory I expected Sylvian's career to take, there is a more accessible structure to the music, and there are sparklings from all his solo albums here. Many here have written far more eloquently than me, so all I will add to the growing number of positive reviews is that this is well and truly worth investigating, it's almost like he's back on track. Perhaps to some extent he's thinking commercially. It might be a complete ploy. Whatever - I've got what I wanted. A decent `new' Sylvian album.
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on 5 October 2010
For this collection of tracks David Sylvian has personally selected sequenced remixed and remastered some of the work he has done over the last decade with other artists such as his long term song writing partners in the form of Ryuichi Sakamoto and his brother Steve Jensen who appears as a solo artist and as a member of the Nine Horses collective.

The assembled tracks cover some of the work but as other reviewers have said there are some omissions hopefully this will be addressed in a future release, some of the material presented here some may find a little challenging, but the connecting element for the songs is the wonderful warm vocal of Mr Sylvian himself .

I personally could live without the spoken tracks Angel and Thermal I think they may been a little to personal for public consumption

Some of this material has only been available as outtakes on E.P.'s and import versions of albums and Five Lines has never appeared until this collection, that alone is reason for Sylvian collectors not to miss this album..
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This sixty-five-minute CD, released in 2010, is a compilation of work done since the millennium, many of collaborations that appeared originally on CDs by other artists. This CD also includes four pieces that had previously been unreleased. In all tracks Sylvian has written the music, the lyrics, or both.

Each of the sixteen tracks last between three and six minutes. Overall, the set is a disappointment, perhaps because they have not often been produced by Sylvian. Yet there are a few gems, mostly those where the work has been with old collaborators such as Steve Jansen, Ryuichi Sakamoto, or with Christian Fennesz. Three of the tracks come from the ‘Nine Horses’ album.

There are no five-star tracks here; and there are more three-star tracks than merit four. The best of the set is ‘World Citizen – I Won’t Be Disappointed’, with Sakamoto. It’s a shame it does not develop beyond its six minutes. Also good is ‘Transit’ (with Fennesz), which is haunting and reminded me of the work Sylvian did with Holger Czukay.

As well as the Czukay style, other tracks vary from the dislocated ballad that is ‘Sleepwalkers’, to the string quartet that plays ‘Five Lines’, to the narrated (i.e. not sung) ‘Thermal’ and ‘Angels’ (“High in the architecture, something’s moving … projections on falling masonry”). So there is much contrast between the tracks, and the listener is sure therefore to find something they like.

However, in general there is a lack of inspiring melodies or vocalisations, and there is much on this CD that is … well, just bland.
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It't difficult to know where to catagorise Mr Sylvian these days. Anyone who has followed his career since his days of Japan knows that after pushing the self destruct button on one of the most original bands to come out of the new romantic era, he metaphorically put his Nikes on and sprinted as far away from conventional pop music as he could possibly get.
I for one applaude him, as I myself now gallop (limp) toward my fifth decade I fully understand his need to explore new musical boundaries. As I have grown older there are few artists to whom I listened to as a kid, who are still producing new work which strives to be in anyway different from the albums and styles that made them sucessful in the first place. No problem there, but it is refreshing to also pick up a new album every few years or so and genuinely have no idea what is going to greet your ears when you first press play.
Sleepwalkers is a beautiful and sometimes challenging album featuring a selection of collaborative tracks from the last ten years or so. After the intensity of both "Blemish" and "Manafon", this is somewhat softer record. The experimental improvised style is represented (Trauma, Five Lines, Transit), but so to are some of the most beautiful honeyed songs I've heard in some time. Longtime collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto is featured with "World Citizen",and the selections from his brother, Steve Jansen's album "Slope" (Playground Martyrs and Ballad of a Deadman) make me sorry that I haven't already aquired that little gem.
Funnily enough the selections from the Nine Horses project are the ones that I would remove (possible exception, Money for Nothing). Don't get me wrong as an album I loved "Snow Bourne Sorrow" but somehow they just dont seem to fit with the rest of this selection.
Maybe repeated listens to Blemish and especially Manafon have educated my ears to appreciate his current direction.
The one constant is of course that voice. If like me you been soothed and cradled by it though the last three decades or so, then it will need no further explanation. If on the other hand, you don't get it...well you probably won't have read this far anyway.
So, definately not a greatest hits, but a wonderful place to start,or just to get an idea of what this grossly underrated artist has been doing for the last decade or so.
To quote a line from Mark Eitzel he "soaks the rules of dreamland in cotton wool and cement".
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on 17 October 2010
After the difficult Manafon album I approached David Sylvian's collection of collaborations with some trepidation. The cover art did little to entice me in either. However with relief I noticed the presence of some strong melodies here. Sure he his moments of pretension are numerous. There are difficult Manafon-esque pieces (the title track, Five Lines), spoken word pieces like Thermal and Angels (featuring some swearing which sounds awful), and jarring instrumentals like Trauma which sounds like a leftover from Blemish.

Leaving those aside, there are a couple of great songs here which restore my faith in Sylvian and his muse. Ballad of a Deadman is a gorgeous bluesy duet with Joan Wasser, with a sort of marching band tempo and a nice string part in the middle.

Ryuichi Sakamoto is someone who Sylvian has a history with, and on World Citizen - I Won't Be Disappointed they marry a somewhat simplistic lyric concerning the environment with a soothing electronica piece. It's a roaring success. There are a couple of tracks he made with Nine Horses here, the best of them being the relatively sparse The Day The Earth Stole Heaven. Based on an acoustic guitar and some `la la la la' backing vocals, and a great lead vocal, it was the prettiest track on Snow Borne Sorrow, and it's worth catching here.

After the brief piano ballad Playground Martyrs, a sweetly played acoustic guitar kicks off the next track Exit / Delete, a collaboration with Takagi Masakatsu featuring a strange tale of Caroline (a recurring character in Sylvian's more recent work) and deleted files, but it's a gorgeous summery piece of music.

Some of the more experimental pieces work well also, Transit is a collaboration with Christian Fennesz which takes glitch electronica textures, low feedback, distortion and blends them into a very 21st century European ballad.

This collection comes as a welcome relief after Manafon. Although quite a lot of it doesn't really work, it's nice to hear many of the more playful tracks gathered together in one place, and in even the less successful ones offer plenty to return to.
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on 5 September 2010
What a strange, pointless and ill informed review from the Croatian guy.
It says rather a lot more about him than it does about the album. Quite how Amazon allowed it is beyond me, it does real damage to an artists product.
There are a mix of tracks on here, if you are a Sylvian fan you will find much here. Its great to have all these tracks on one c.d.As Sylvian continues to be relevant, interesting and progressive it will also bring in newer fans.
Ten stars or more..
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on 25 June 2011
Having followed David Sylvian for decades like an unquestioning disciple, I was becoming a bit weary of endless introspective experimentation -Manafon- what a pleasant surprise this collection is. Many songs I know but some rare gems appear, especially "Exit/Delete" and "Sugarfuel". The voice is startlingly beautiful and the arrangements relaxed and effective. A fantastic collection for any Sylvian fan.
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on 4 September 2010
I've wanted Sylvian to release a set of his collaborations for a long time now and this makes a good start. However, There's so much great stuff missing... the Hector Zazou collabs, or the Undark stuff for starters. A nice start, can't wait for the definitive triple CD set though.... or is that just too hopeful
Love the cover - great artist
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on 13 October 2010
from the first track to the last david does not disappoint.
this body of work is far more accessible and having tweaked some and rebuilt other tracks,
i found having listened to the work there is a sign of optimism and david has yet again
proved he is pure genius.
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