Sunday, February 23, 2014

February 22, 2014



February 22, 2014

Since the early eighties, the presence of David Sylvian, has weighted heavily in my mind and soul, which are not that odd.   Of course, my love for Sylvian’s music and image would mean nothing if it wasn’t attached to a memory of a love that didn’t happen.  It should have happened, but alas, the stars were not working towards my favor.  I pretty much put all of this in the back of my mind, but by chance this morning, I ran across the girl in question and the recent Sylvian album “Died In The Wool.”

Some years ago I was attracted to a girl where everything between us seemed perfect, but she was involved with another, and her affair with the young man was going back and forth.  It was as if a tide was hitting the shore, where he came upon her life and then leaves.  I would somehow come in-between the waves, but I could never stay long, due that he always was on his way to her home, her heart, and it was totally accepted by her friends that this was her long-suffering boyfriend.  The thing that really connects me to her was not her record collection, but the fact the fact that she owned 12” singles of early Japan releases with a few Sylvian recordings.  Japan was Sylvian’s first band, and what is interesting about them at the time was that they were not that interesting.  When I first heard them, I thought they were a Roxy Music rip-off, and of course, their name… It is common knowledge that all bands that name themselves after cities or countries tend to suck.   But after I got over that prejudice, I noticed the textural beauty and tension between Sylvian’s Bryan Ferry like-vocals, and the instrumentation that was full, but spare at the same time.  There was surface like oriental sounds to their arrangements, but what makes it all work, was Sylvian’s voice and the slippery fretless bass of Mick Karn and the minimal backing of David’s brother Steve Jansen on drums and keyboardist Richard Barbieri.



Over time I would lose interest in the David Sylvian world, not due to this excellent music-making, but more to the fact that my life was changing and I was adopting new music or thoughts in my world that didn’t have anything to do with my past.  This was something that I had in common with Sylvian was his need not to repute the past, but keep going on a forward direction.  For the casual listener, the Sylvian catalog sounds not that different, but the fact is in existence is a whole philosophy in the works, with respect how he sees his music.  So the thought that he would do material from the Japan days on stage is unthinkable.  One does not really know if he is comfortable with his past, due that he was very much set in the pop music world as a teen idol of sorts.  He was, or is, regarded as the most beautiful man in British Pop, but I don’t think he had the personality to carry that over to his private life.  



His privacy is virtually fortress like, as a fan I rarely know what or where he is.  One gets a series of facts, for instance he has two children from a marriage with Ingrid Chavez.  But beyond that his life is a mystery to me.   The late and great Mick Karn was considered to his equal in Japan, but they had a disagreement, that is customary when one is in a band together.  The curious thing is that there are two distinctive sounds in Japan.  One is Sylvian’s voice, and the other is the bass playing by Karn.  For me, the big difference on a Sylvian solo project is the absence of a bass sound.  The music, overall, is not that different, but there is only space there on the solo recordings in replacement for the fretless bass by Karn.  So in a sense, Karn is only replaced by silence.  This I think is very beautiful.

Not long ago, and by total chance, I ran into the girl, which instantly reminded me of David Sylvian.  The one thing that came to mind was she was as exquisite as ever, and she eventually married her boyfriend and now has a family.   The funny thing is that our relationship hasn’t really changed, except there is a great deal of silence between us.  On the other hand, she asked if I still liked David Sylvian's music, and told me about the “Died In The Wool” album, and said I should get it. We hugged and then she left my world.  Later, I purchased the Sylvian album, and even though it didn’t exactly bring me back to the past, it was a voice from yesterday, but talking to me today.   Currently I am grateful that she is healthy and seems happy, and I now have a new David Sylvian album to listen to.
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