- Audio CD (27 Feb. 2012)
- Number of Discs: 2
- Format: Double CD
- Label: Virgin Catalogue
- ASIN: B006TX276C
- Other Editions: Audio CD | MP3 Download
- Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 117,923 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)
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A Victim of Stars, 1982-2012 Double CD
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A Victim of Stars picks the best from David Sylvian's 30-year musical career, from '80s pop-funk via jazz in the 90s to the 2000s leaning to electronica. This compilation of the former Japan front man's greatest hits also includes a newly recorded single, "Where's Your Gravity?".
Scott Walker and Mike Patton aside, was there ever a Top of the Pops regular as thrillingly un-pop as David Sylvian? Even the fact he ended up there seems almost accidental; after all, when Japan emerged at the height of punk, they were all high art and preposterous glamour – a kind of Proxy Music, if you will, with the erstwhile Mr Batt as their Ferry-cum-Bowie – and if New Romantic hadn't happened they'd've been little more than a cultish footnote.
Not, mind you, that that would've stopped Sylvian ploughing the furrow spotlit by this retrospective, since him claiming to be captain commerciality would've been spurious at best. Take the opener here, Japan's ostensible swansong and zenith Ghosts: even in the eclectic landscape of 1982, its melancholic miasma, arcane synthalia and otherly distress calls made it a striking top five hit, while heard again here it might as well be from another universe to anything that's passed for pop in years. Indeed, as CD one here illustrates magnificently, he'd enjoy continued popular success with numerous aloof, oblique records that skipped unsettlingly between several overlapping melodies, the lachrymosely filmic Forbidden Colours being the most celebrated, with the puzzling Red Guitar remaining a standout.
In fact, it was only when he actually did start borrowing from the zeitgeist, all none-more-80s sax and Pino Palladino-style basslines, that he began to suffer, leading to the genuinely futurist and liberatingly atonal Pop Song, after which cavalierness sets thoroughly in, as dramatically showcased on the second disc, where we get toes dipped in improv waters, the deliciously unwieldy glory of The Banality of Evil, the 10-years-early invention of James Blake (hello, A Fire in the Forest!) and his adieu to top 40 life I Surrender, which is a nine-minute slice of Sade-ian sophisti-pop with separate flute and trumpet solos taken from the album Dead Bees on a Cake. It would be, wouldn't it?
Yes, it's a ridiculous, sometimes patchy affair, but that feels entirely apposite. After all, this is Exhibits A through Z and beyond in the case for Sylvian as practically the male Kate Bush, and, amid the rampant self-satisfaction evidenced by the BRIT Awards, it's a timely reminder that, at its best, the mainstream's been able to accommodate many kinds of magic.
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Top Customer Reviews
So, please bear with me for one moment while I reassure you that I bought this compilation because I think this is exceptional, astounding music. And although there are a couple of track choices on this selection that I think are misguided, the music itself is not the problem, but the audio quality is.
Briefly, the two tracks I think represent wasted opportunities are, ironically, the two 'hits': Ghosts and Forbidden Colours. To be honest I am not sure why Ghosts needs to be included in any David Sylvian release - sure, it's a corker, but it's a Japan track, hence once again on this comp we get the 'remix' which is actually a re-recording, at least of the vocals. I don't enjoy David Sylvian's performance. It's one of those 'I've sung this song so many times, to make it interesting for myself I'm going to have to take the melody all over the place and play around with the phrasing'. Thanks, but no.
As for Forbidden Colours, once again this is not the original version - it's the version Sylvian recorded later, replete with a string section that may well be a sample. I don't know ... anyway, it's not a bad version. It's fine and dandy, but it is not the original version. It's more than possible that the original versions of these two songs are subject to copyright issues. But if that is the case, I would have happily foregone having them on this comp.
About the audio. Sadly, it doesn't appear these tracks have been remastered for this particular compilation. They sound exactly like the remasters from a few years ago, and let's face it, those remasters weren't impressive.Read more ›
Small Metal Gods and Manafon add a bit of clarity to the later work and update the story, though they are some lonely highlights to what have been indifferent records recently. Listeners will also wonder how remixed Bamboo Houses actually is while the album version of Heartbeat I happen to like more though this restrained remix is okay too. That aside, Sylvian's dedication to the style and mastery of his music shines through here.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is an interesting, near enough chronological account of Sylvian's work over a period of 30 years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by HAYLING BOOK & MUSIC VENUE
If You Love David Sylvian Then You Will Love This Album. Great Value Too!Published 3 months ago by Janey Hopwood
A kind of best of David Sylvian
one disc is great the other one sounds like a desperate nightmare
David Sylvian-A victim of Stars 1982-2012 weds highlights from an era in the life of a pioneer. Read more
If you want an introduction to the wonderful work of DS, then this isn't a bad place to start. Lots of the artist's grooviest pop moments are here, my faves being:... Read morePublished 9 months ago by Gerard O'Doherty