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Blemish

3.4 out of 5 stars 54 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Audio CD (1 April 2013)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: EMI
  • ASIN: B00009YWAW
  • Other Editions: Audio CD
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (54 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 107,133 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Track Listings

Disc: 1

  1. Blemish
  2. The Good Son
  3. The Only Daughter
  4. The Heart Knows Better
  5. She Is Not
  6. Late Night Shopping
  7. How Little We Need to Be Happy
  8. A Fire in the Forest

Product Description

Product Description

I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.

Amazon.co.uk

Blemish is ex-Japan frontman David Sylvian's long-awaited follow-up to 1999's Dead Bees on a Cake. That album was, in part at least, a celebration of his love for wife Ingrid Chavez and couched in suitably blissful and luxuriant jazz/ambient tones. Blemish, by contrast, is a fraught, wracked and occasionally embittered affair, a more difficult though equally rewarding listening experience. The opening title track, for example, is a lengthy and anguished excursion, its lyrical theme of estrangement set to a broody, quivering guitar chord and punctuated by moments of musical violence.

There are three bold collaborations with veteran British improv guitarist Derek Bailey, whose spare, atonal haiku tones will present a challenge to those who turn to Sylvian for comfort listening. The scratchy, CD-skipping effects of "The Only Daughter" are also calculated to disconcert the listener, while "Late Night Shopping" is shot through with disquieting intentions and laced with sinister strains of avant-garde noise. This, however, is a brave album and in its own way as beautiful as its predecessor in its starkness. --David Stubbs

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Audio CD
This first release on David Sylvian’s new independent label, samadhisound, doesn't make for easy listening. Lyrically, the collection of songs is rather painfully introspective; and Sylvian's seemingly total rejection of obvious rhythm, harmony and melody in favour of choppy discord and intrusive electronic noise ensures that it can never become mere background. (Track 3, the only daughter, goes so far as to disrupt the recording with crackle and to simulate the track “jumping”).
It’s not an album to dip in and out of at all but demands an attentive listen right through. You need to have had your nerves jarred by the discord properly to appreciate the gentle hopefulness of “a fire in the forest” at the end. The overall effect is decidedly strange but compelling.
The normal band of musicians one associates with Sylvian recordings is entirely absent -- no Robert Fripp, brother Steve Jansen, Mark Isham etc. The new musical style has much to do with the extraordinary approach of avant garde jazz guitarist Derek Bailey, who features heavily. Nevertheless devoted Sylvian fans will pick up echoes from earlier recordings and will probably get the logic of where he’s at and how he got there.
A must buy, then, for the devoted follower, but not a particularly logical starting place for anybody new to David Sylvian’s work.
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Format: Audio CD
Forget Blood on the Tracks, Blemish is the only album I can think of that truly captures the pain and discomfort of relationship turmoil. As a result, it's a difficult album to like, throwing the listener into a pool of fragmented self-pity and dissonant instrumentation, merging ambient, electronic backing tracks, with Derek Bailey's harsh and uncompromising improvised guitar work, to create a record that really evokes the feelings of loss and separation so rooted within the idea of marital, and, indeed, relationship strife. As Sylvian has noted in several sources since it's release, Blemish was his way of coming to terms with the slow disintegration of his marriage to former muse Ingrid Chavez, the woman who had been so instrumental to the sound and sense of warmth of his previous solo album, the soulful Dead Bees on a Cake from 1999. That sense of heart and soul is still present here... but it's been battered and bruised. Songs like The Good Son, The Heart Knows Better and She Is Not seem to want to repulse the listener almost as much as songs like Late Night Shopping, the title track and that hopeful coda, A Fire In The Forrest, seem to captivate and enthral.
It's an album of contradictions then... which is fitting, given the atmosphere in which it was conceived, with Sylvian playing off the notion of heartache, loneliness and solitude by recording much of Blemish by himself in his home studio. The album, according to Sylvian, was written, produced and performed over an unbelievably short period of time (about six weeks) and that sense of urgency is apparent in the breathless delivery and the random stream of lyrics, which really seem to suggest the occasional sting of bitterness and remorse, as opposed to characters or scenarios.
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Format: Audio CD
I can see why many long-term Sylvian fans might be somewhat disgusted with this release, but coming at it from a different angle (ie- a love of electronica/improv and avant-songwriters such as Scott Walker and late period Talk Talk) its a totally different story! The thing that is most striking here is the sheer anger and fury in some of these songs, but one which is hidden behind fractured instrumental backdrops and easy crooned vocals. This discrepency creates a genuine sense of emotional complexity, which given the largely bitter subject matter (divorce and long term relationship break-up) makes a lot of sense. Whilst the late Derek Bailey's contributions at first appear ugly and atonal, the way in which Sylvian reponds and actually creates (relatively) cohesive songs around them is an impresive achievement in itself. But the real treasures here are the title track and "The Only Daughter". Whilst the former seethes with electronic rage, the latter is calming glitch-ambient. Lyrically these tracks are certainly Sylvian on top form, the best lyric being "her heart's a foreign place, I visited for a while, and although I tried to please her, she came at night and stole my visa..." Five stars.
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Format: Audio CD
Though Sylvian's back catalogue of vocal material is uniformly and uniquely beautiful, even the traditionally protracted periods between releases can't entirely dispel the notion that, over the last few releases, we've been treated to a series of studies in how to make David Sylvian records.
Blemish is Sylvian's first release on his own label, and it's hard not to see it as a statement of independence. There are reference points here to previous songs, but none come easily, and though the production still emphasises Sylvian's vocal performances, there's less reverence for the voice here; at times sampled and chopped up in a way that surprises.
Here too is the spirit of adventure that has characterised some of Sylvian's instrumental collaborations - songs improvised around jagged guitar tracks recorded a continent away from the vocal, and on "A Fire in the Forest" a unsettling re-working process more in the spirit of Momus's recent "Oskar Tennis Champion". Elsewhere Sylvian's lyrics take on an oblique sense of detachment reminiscent of Scott Walker on "Climate of Hunter" or even a less dark "Tilt".
Ironically, it's on this final track that Blemish also comes closest to Sylvian-by-numbers, with less of a distance between vocal and musical backing. Here the atmospherics cradle the singer in a way reminiscent of the best tracks on "Gone to Earth". A flower of delicate and tender beauty in a garden of thornier delights.
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