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on 27 February 2015
Very Nice...
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on 14 January 2015
Utter rubbish from a genius. What a waste of cardboard and plastic. Avoid. Go buy Nine Horses instead.
4 people found this helpful
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on 9 February 2010
After the joy of listening to Sylvian's recent collaboration - Nine Horses, and a recommendation to buy Manafon from a friend, I genuinely looked forward to listening to this.

I think that I do get what he is trying to achieve here, there are sometimes occasional glimpses of music between the drone, the creaking of timbers and the Myst like percussive sounds. These glimpses are sadly all too rare. Sparse though it might be, what Sylvian and his fellow musicians have managed to create is as crassly self indulgent as a Yes album from the 70's. The reviewer's who compare this to some of Miles Davis's output have massively overrated this nonsensical and pretentious drivel.

Sometimes beauty is inherent in some of our saddest and sparsest of music. This level of artistry makes me smile...Manafon only makes me grimace..

Although there are more than a dozen five star ratings for Manafon, I wish that i had noted the nine reviewers who had given it one star. I will next time.
11 people found this helpful
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on 6 February 2013
I loved Japan without reservations, and Sylvian with some reservations. Sylvian is a world unto himself in music, capable of brilliance and soaring beauty. But but but he can also drift off and produce an irritating scratchy irrelevance such as this. This is actually the worst record I've ever heard by an artist I love, and by a huge margin. It defies listening, and after several attempts, I've still not found the urge to hear it all the way through.
A strong recommendation is to try to listen to it on you-tube before spending money, as this is (as the other reviews show) very much a love-it-or-hate-it album.
5 people found this helpful
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on 16 September 2009
Sylvian has produced an excellent body of work with the inclusion of Japan, Rain Tree Crow & Nine Horses. I truly admire his desire to push the boundaries and his constant ability to change rather than reproduce the obvious. Blemish was a difficult album to listen to, but taking everything into consideration (particularly the reason for the album and very personal subject matter) it was brilliant. Unfortunately, Blemish 2 (or Manafon for the uninitiated) is a step too far, obvious, repetitive and self indulgent trash. A committed Sylvian fan, desperately disappointed, who never expected to be writing a review with this negative content, but hopeful for something better in the future...Nine Horses 2?
12 people found this helpful
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on 21 September 2009
David Sylvian apparently lives in isolation in the woods these days, and this album seemingly holds a mirror to this, capturing silence and space between notes, with myriad organic textures created by an array of some fourteen leading free improvisers playing the part of the sounds of nature. Sylvian sings sacred melodies over a sparse backdrop of abstract beauty.

There are no beats, and no chord sequences, this is music beyond that. Evan Parker, John Tilbury and Keith Rowe (to name but 3 contributors) have each dedicated a lifetime to freely improvised music, Sylvian has surrounded himself with these people because this is where he wants his music to be placed. This requires a huge leap of faith for ears unaccustomed to listening in a different way. It's not `easy', and it requires concentration, but it is rewarding.

Sylvian's brave sojurn to the outer reaches of his imagination reminds me of two other similar journeys by singers both of whom started out as `pop stars': Mark Hollis whose sole post Talk Talk album (and seemingly his last) occupies similar hallowed territory, and Julie Tippetts (nee Driscoll) whose new release with Martin Archer Ghosts of Gold combines vocal melody with free improvisation and textural work to very rewarding effect. Both of these albums come highly recommended for those who appreciate this approach to music.
2 people found this helpful
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on 15 September 2009
David Sylvian's career has spanned a thirty-year period, initially finding its way through the popular New Romantic movement with the band Japan. Sylvian subsequently went on to produce a quality body of mature solo work, his debut emerging in 1984 with Brilliant Trees. Going from strength to strength ever since, he's reinvented himself musically at various stages along the way.
His latest release, Manafon, is an unconventional work and perhaps one of the most diverse to date, and testament to his development. It sees Sylvian stripped bare of any lavish trimmings. The compositions reach out with naked hands, clinging to intelligent and sometimes complex observations and rigorous study of character.

Sylvian scratches the edges of some dark surfaces; however the centrefold is even more expressive with its hues of jaded normality - a conceptual status throughout.

Sylvian portrays deep insights with his lonely textured vocals, grasping the heart of the subject and shaping it in a way that only his own strength of voice could direct. Instrumentation is sparse yet effective and orchestrated in a unique way - the diverse sounds intervene at all the right moments integrating well with the mood. His haunting lullaby has a strong sense of purpose - pivoted centrally throughout the album against its dark fabric - the colours of which are all exceptionally responsive. With production that's crystal clear - every creek or stirring within the atmosphere can be heard - all reacting and responding with an immense sharpness.

"Maybe I'm attracted to the stories of individuals who search for meaning on their own terms," says Sylvian. "But what I'm fascinated by is the devotion to a creative discipline. The meaning with which the work imbues the life regardless of its reception and, to a certain extent, its importance."

Manafon isn't just a listening experience - it's a work that encompasses every nuance of explicit chamber instrumentation, melody and structure - the qualities of which become more engrained with every listen.
8 people found this helpful
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on 8 October 2009
This is very much in the vein of Blemish, his last solo album, which was hard work to listen to but was ultimately rewarding to anyone who put in the effort! He has pushed on and dispensed with melody here, so that Blemish, in comparison, sounds as poppy as the cheeky girls! However, if you are willing to immerse yourself in this I think it will be worth it-I can only admire him for his uncomprimising approach.
3 people found this helpful
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on 2 October 2009
The music on this album is inspiring and always engaging, creating an interesting and unique aural experience. But for me Sylvian's structured lyrics and vocals are at odds with the music's free form and for me a distraction. This also has the impact of making his vocal style too mannered, a problem I did not find with Blemish. Time will tell, but this album presently ranks alongside Dead Bees on A Cake (Darkest Dreaming excluded) as my least favourite Sylvian offering.

However, the deluxe version is certainly worth getting for the 5.1 mix and the excellent Amplified Gesture documentary.
4 people found this helpful
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on 18 September 2009
I love it when someone says about a work of art,a movie or a piece of music "Oh Well of course Anyone can do that"
It says so much more about themselves than anything else!
Obviously everyone cant do it or everyone would be doing it
Some constructive criticism of the work might not go amiss but alas no......
I love David`s voice, i love most of his output some more than others but this new recording is never less than interesting and in places is fabulous...
I love it.......
I wonder if the artists themselves ever look at Amazon reviews and think "Hmmmmm"
I wish I could write a poem, a novel or a piece of music of real merit but having tried I realize I can`t do it.
Perhaps I should ask the people who write these reviews how to do it?
Perhaps not...............
2 people found this helpful
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