Customer Review

6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still relevant at 53; more so than ever, 9 Jun. 2011
This review is from: Died In The Wool (Audio CD)
It's heartening to see an artist so far into his career, still capable of polarising the listening public with new work. Had Sylvian continued to bang out joyless copies of Secrets of the Beehive, as many seem to wish, he would have become an irrelevant caricature long ago. Instead, he has consistently reinvented himself, with each new album offering a surprise. Each time, he loses some fans and gains some new ones. This album is no different. In fact it's quite funny to see people say "Well, I liked Manafon but this is just a step too far!" Fujikura's strings are sublime: they bob and weave, bringing drama and movement where Manafon was trapped in deathly stasis. Harmonically (though not rhythmically) reminiscent of Steve Reich at times, they underpin Sylvian's vocals, adding a rich tonality to these variations not found on the original. The result is a highly rewarding listen. The two Emily Dickinson poems are beautiful, too, but different to the Fujikura material and seem to want to belong to another collection. And that's my only quibble with this record. I wish it was all just Sylvian singing over Fujikura's strings. Of course, that would complete his epic, career-long journey from pop to contemporary concert music. Should he dare? Is a self-confessed "non-musician" allowed to occupy that rarefied territory? The two Dickinson poems -- with their pleasing Nick Drake melancholia, strummed guitar and familiar atmospherics courtesy of Bang, Honoré and Henriksen -- suggest he's hesitating on the brink, just in case there's no way back.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 9 Jun 2011 17:38:57 BDT
Last edited by the author on 9 Jun 2011 17:39:57 BDT
sleepwalkers says:
>>I wish it was all just Sylvian singing over Fujikura's strings. Of course, that would complete his epic, career-long journey from pop to contemporary concert music. Should he dare? Is a self-confessed "non-musician" allowed to occupy that rarefied territory?<<

Just so that you are made aware, that is exactly the next project being planned...a more expansive collaboration between Sylvian and Fujikura. One could basically look upon Died In The Wool as a transitional bridge between the electro-acoustic improvisation of Manafon and the contemporary orchestral music of their full-fledged effort due for release at some point next year.
And DITW also conveniently cleaned up a few loose ends: those sessions which took place with John Butcher and Eddie Prevost in 2008 which were never destined for Manafon, the miniature pieces utilizing the poems of Emily Dickinson which was a commission for Fennesz and Sylvian that only went so far, the commissioned re-interpretations by Fujikura and the one leftover from Manafon which was a cut and splice job gathering random elements rather than a legitimate improvisation. The impressive factor is how the new material seems to fit together fairly well due to the dark subject matter of death and dying.

In reply to an earlier post on 9 Jun 2011 18:13:26 BDT
so. great. he should dare after all. that will finally be the album I was anticipating with the pre-manafon "modern chamber music" tag. bring it on.
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