Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Beautifully unlistenable?

One of the comments on a recent post about David Sylvian described his most recent releases (Mana fon and Died in the Wool) as beautifully unlistenable which sums it up perfectly

Both lps contain virtually the same tracks as each other although Died in the Wool is slightly more accessible .....just.

The words (in a couple of tracks poems by Emily Dickinson) seem to have come from a completely different place to the music. At first is seems like a whole lot of mess, the worst kind of random free form playing and . However gradually snatches of tunes, rhythm, structure and places where the his vocal melody swims alongside that of the backing track start to emerge. Then the music starts to wash over you and pulls you under so that the words and the music begin to blend in a way that feels like they were made for each other.

Beautifully unlistenable , soothingly uncomfortable, naturally awkward, jarringly relaxing ... they all kind of fit.

I've posted one of the tracks with the words of Emily Dickinson

A Certain Slant of Light - David Sylvian

You can buy Died in the Wool here and there is a more detailed explanation of the lps origins at his website here


  1. Ok, you've convinced me to buy it.
    Do I need to get Manofon to 'get' Died in the Wool or can you come to it cold?

  2. Hi Trev

    I would skip Manofon and go straight to Died in the Wool

  3. They are both wonderful works of art for me. There is an immediacy to Manafon that is kind of dark, kind of cold, but still thrilling. Yes it can take some getting around to get to the beauty, but I think you did! I think the idea of the music and lyrics washing together is what Sylvian was attempting to acheive.
    He's just announced a tour in March of 2012...Booking my travel to London next week!


Leave a comment and let me know what you are listening to.