19 of 24 people found the following review helpful
Blemish- The Sound of a Can of Worms Opening,
This review is from: Blemish (Audio CD)
I have to start this review by saying, that I have been an admirer of Sylvian’s music from the early days of Japan, through to the present day. The beauty of his music has always touched me in a way that no other artist has. His musicality is unique. I have enjoyed his vocal works and instrumental pieces alike, especially his collaborations with Holgar Czukay and Robert Fripp (don’t mention ‘The First Day’ Album). Every album is a special album for me. In fact a new album from David Sylvian, is always looked forward to with much anticipation.
His new album, which pains me to say, is not of the usual quality, the usual depth of ‘voice’ associated with Sylvian. When listening to it for the first time, I tried to hold back my initial disappointment, saying it is one of those albums that grows on you. Well after several listens, it has grown on me a bit more, but not enough. Tracks which stand out for me are ‘A Fire in the Forest’ and ‘Blemish’ (although this meanders, even for Sylvian) At best, the rest of the album sound like sketches for future tracks, a tinkling with ideas. I hear the Grolsch Man saying “,Schtop! What are you doing, this album isn’t ready yet.”This experimentation is great for an EP, but not on an album, especially an album post Virgin, with all the baggage that would inevitably be connected to it. If Sylvian fans were worried that the change of label would affect the music, then this album gives them grounds to think they were right. This could be due to the departure fromVirgin and the creative barriers that are enevitably connected with being with a large commercial record label for so long. The shackles are off and the expression and the art floweth forth just a wee bit too much. What I have liked about David Sylvian’s music, is that it is artistic and creative without the overwhelming need to nod and stroke one’s chin when listening to it. He occasionally goes off on one, but returns, it seems, wiser and more creative for it. With Blemish, however, it’s a chin stroking extravaganza.
On the grounds that I thought my ears were deceiving me, I played it to friends over a coffee one night. Normally with a Sylvian Album I get a ‘,Who’s this ?” or “,This is good!”. With Blemish I got the sound all Sylvian fans dread, the sound of surpressed giggles. I am not saying that this album is bad, perhaps it is, perhaps I am too much of a Luddite to appreciate its subtle qualities. In my opinion, if you are new to Sylvian try ‘Secrets of the Beehive’. It will take your breath away. If you are a Sylvian veteran (Ay! See you at Royal Festival Hall) and haven’t heard Blemish yet, be prepared.