Died in the Wool — variations on David Sylvian's 2009 release Manafon with the addition of 6 new pieces, including collaborations with acclaimed composer Dai Fujikura, producers Jan Bang and Erik Honoré and a stellar roster of contemporary musicians and improvisers. Released as a Double CD digipak in a hardboard slipcase. Disc Two featuring audio from the installation When We Return You Won't Recognise Us.
With a well-received studio album in the form of The First Day issued in summer 1993, Sylvian/Fripp took to the road for a lengthy tour to support the release. Trey Gunn reprised his role from the earlier tour and studio recordings as stick player, while Pat Mastelotto joined the group on drums, a position which led to his being offered a role in the 1990s King Crimson, a band in which he has remained a member of every line-up since. Producer and recordings artist Michael Brook completed the touring ensemble.
Following on from their glorious and lyrical collaborative work on Gone To Earth, David Sylvian and Robert Fripp produced the unexpectedly fiery and funky The First Day in 1993. Hypnotically groovy and intensely vicious, while showcasing Fripp's Soundscapes identity, the album marked a departure for Sylvian and can be more easily understood as a missing King Crimson link between Three Of A Perfect Pair and Thrak than a typical post-Japan Sylvian venture.
Rain Tree Crow is the result of a collaboration between former Japan members David Sylvian and Mick Karn. Sylvian and Karn teamed with keyboardist Richard Barbieri and Steve Jansen, adding guitarists Phil Palmer and Bill Nelson for their self-titled debut. Like a mellower, new age-oriented version of Japan, Rain Tree Crow explores stark soundscapes that sound alternately beautiful and desolate. Although it is a bit too challenging to provide a good introduction to Sylvian and Karn's music, the album remains fascinating for their fans.
The music on this disc is just incidentally something remotely 'ambient'. Most of the time it's experimental electronic music, vaguely remembering the avant-garde scene from the late 60's and seventies. At first listen, that is. When you listen more closely, you'll hear that this music perfectly fits the 2006 timeframe. It's clicks, cuts, hums and bleeps, but there's something most other recordings in this field mostly seem to lack: emotion. (It's exactly that in which this music resembles Murcof's 'Remembranza')
While the album's overall ambience is consistently quiet, sensual, and dimly lit, there are subtle dynamic shifts among the individual compositions. The moodily acoustic "When Poets Dreamed of Angels" is countered by the hymn-like "Let the Happiness In," while the rhythmic pulse of "The Boy With the Gun" is followed by the almost abstract "Maria." The result is an album varied in texture yet unified in mood. Arguably Sylvian's finest effort, SECRETS OF THE BEEHIVE offers a haunting, sustained musical experience.
Digitally remastered reissue, in standard jewel case, of this 1986 album from the former vocalist of Japan. 20 tracks total including seven bonus tracks, 'River Man' (Remix), 'Gone To Earth' (Remix), 'Camp Fire-Coyote Country' (Remix), 'Silver Moon Over Sleeping Steeples' 'Camp Fire-Coyote Country', 'A Bird Of Prey Vanishes Into A Bright Blue Cloudless Sky' & 'Sunlight Seen Through Towering Trees'. Guests include Bill Nelson, Robert Fripp, & Mel Collins.
Released to highly positive reviews in 2007, Slope was the debut album from Steve Jansen (Japan / Rain Tree Crow). Exhibiting a bold combination of inventive rhythms, intricate programming and emotive vocal performances, the album features guest contributions from an impressive line-up including David Sylvian, Tim Elsenburg (Sweet Billy Pilgrim), Joan Wasser (Joan As Policewoman), Thomas Feiner, Anja Garbarek, Nina Kinert, and Theo Travis. As Jansen explains, "With Slope, I approached composition attempting to avoid chord and song structures and the usual familiar building blocks. Instead, in an attempt to deviate from my own trappings as a musician, I wanted to piece together unrelated sounds, music samples, rhythms and 'events'."
This reissue of Alchemy is a thoughtful one- comprising the original 1985 tape-only release that saw tracks Preperation for a Journey & Steel Cathedrals released alongside the Words with the Shaman ep with the hard to find b-sides to 1989's Pop Song single (found on the deleted Weatherbox set). As a collection of Sylvian's instrumental work, it blends together very well- though anyone who didn't enjoy his other instrumental work (the Czuckay albums Flux&Mutability / Plight&Premonition, the last sides of Gone to Earth) may not be that enamoured.