Speaking from the drift, he sounds confident. By the time Sylvian released his solo debut Brilliant Trees in , his group of musicians included Sakamoto, members of Can and Pentangle , and atmospheric trumpeters Jon Hassell and Mark Isham. His next two releases—the entirely instrumental Alchemy: An Index of Possibilities and the double album Gone to Earth —are more transitional. The former is a strange hodgepodge of collaborations and soundtrack material.
This new edition—its first complete release on vinyl—makes this reissue series more comprehensive, but it remains an album more interesting in concept than practice. Gone to Earth is more essential. Split into an LP of traditional compositions and an instrumental companion, its scope summarizes where Sylvian had been and foreshadows his next moves. The ambient side, featuring guitar contributions from Fripp and Bill Nelson , offers shadows where once there were songs.
If Gone to Earth feels like a labored portrait of the artist, then its follow-up was made on instinct. Conceptually heavy but structurally light, Secrets of the Beehive seems to forecast a storm that lingers in the distance. This only adds to its mysterious pull. All of this, of course, can seem a bit bleak. This intensity subsequently pushed Sylvian to seek spiritual guidance and shake things up creatively. Following the release of Secrets of the Beehive and his first-ever solo tour, he focused more on collaborative work, from a pair of ambient albums with Holger Czukay and two excellent releases with Fripp to music with artists like Fennesz decades later.
The shine of "Brilliant Trees" starts by a sublime melody of the trumpet of Jon Hassell. His trumpet is surely reformative for the performance method. The flow of the tune tossed about secret lyrics and space is a suitable tune for the decoration of the end of the album.
The tune drifts as it is and comes in succession with a racial rhythm. Tunes of the remainder are all tunes of Sylvian though two is work of cooperation with Hassell. And, the music character that Sylvian thinks about gradually establishes the idea and directionality. And, the element of the music of those reformative Sylvian starts from this album everything and derives.
It's uptempo and kind of funky at times. Some prominant double bass in this one. Acoustic guitar stands out and we get some flugelhorn before 3 minutes. Some good atmosphere in this one. Drums after a minute followed by vocals. I'll again mention the atmosphere that makes this sound so good, much like many of those NO MAN records.
So a good album that seems to be lacking what made "Secrets Of The Beehive" so great. The album kicks off with a relatively 'lively' composition; Pulling Punches is a pretty funky introduction with dynamic slam bass lines and an 80's poppy feeling presumably something that is brought over from Japan years. On this funky background of complex mid-tempo drumming or should I say 'programming' and fashionable synths, Sylvian sings in a rather dark and melancholic way, giving a distinct touch to the track.
Short guitar and sax-sounding solos fit brilliantly to this - happy and sad at the same time - interesting opening. The following two compositions are probably the highlights of the album. Slow, acoustic guitars are dominant throughout The Ink in the Well while Sylvian's vocals are fit-for-purpose in this moody ballad. The track's refrain melodies are beautifully performed and the bits of trumpet and tuned-down bass bring a sad, bluesy feeling to the composition.
Nostalgia opens with oriental vocals and a deep, ambient atmosphere takes on from there. Experimentation with percussion and sounds is abundant, while the track flows in a completely relaxed mood with the deepest vocals on the album. Although the melodies are simple, they create an indeed nostalgic atmosphere. The 80's synth-pop influences return in Red Guitar. However, this time the major tunes are played by jazz-driven joyful pianos. The King Crimson influences appear vivid in the bass lines.
The vocals continue to be moody, approaching electronic patterns and slightly reminding of Dead Can Dance. More bizarre arrangements can be expected in Backwaters with the bass being the dominant instrument, balancing on dark jazz harmonies, but the track proceeds relatively repetitively and becomes uninteresting after the first few minutes. Although being instantly impressed after the first few listens, the rather simplistic melodies of the album made me think again.
However, Brilliant Trees undoubtedly maintains a strong ambient character that can make this record an intriguing experience. Not necessarily essential, these trees sound quite brilliant and deserve 3. Stunning emotional impact everytime I listen to it. One of the great songs ever recorded. Love the bass line.
Plus, this album stands up very well over time as opposed to so many other albums from the 80s. Some really tasteful French Horn played by Holger Czuckay and brilliant trumpet on behalf of Jon Hassell really raise this album to something more than it should have been. Sylvian certainly had some good connections. It's not until Track 2 'Ink in the Well' begins that you'll realise there's no comparison with Japan bar the vocals which maintain that Sylvian dreariness throughout.
Not until hearing 'Brilliant Trees' will you come to the conclusion what a huge influence Mick Karn had on Japan. An off kilter and somewhat askew jazz tune that had no place in any charts. An unusual album with many tunes and beats that'll leave you scratching your head in bewilderment - none more so than on the excellent 'Backwaters' with its repetitive bass but very odd beat and instrumentation.
The title track sees us out with its beautiful but miserable conclusion. Once again the singing hits some very odd and off key notes which just seem to hit all the right buttons. Hassell, Sakamoto and Czuckay have free reign for the last 4 minutes creating the most beautiful of endings you can imagine. Unlike Japan, 'Brilliant Trees' hasn't dated one iota. The first of a fantastic trilogy of albums ending with 'Secrets of the Beehive' social review comments Review Permalink Posted Friday, March 18, Review this album Report Review He sings in a Bowie-style over slap-bass and funky brasses.
The lineup is impressive: the newage guru Mark Isham at trumpet, the krautrocker Holger Czukay, Ryouchi Sakamoto, more or less the top of the musical creativity in the 80s. Melodic enough to be appealing from the first listen but with more than a touch of jazz-club brought by trumpet and fretless bass. A highlight. Great arrangement. The nice thing is that I can't hear any guitar. The instrumental riff is played by bass and piano.
The good of this track is for me the fact that if you don't pay attention to the Bowie-like vocals, it's verysimilar in the sounds to Rick Wright's "Strange Rhythm" from ZEE. That album has a very low rating but I like it, sorry for repeating. It's still very electronic but Mark Isham makes the difference with his trumpet.
This is the album's highlight. A repetitive rhythm that makes the song rhythmless, unusual chords progression in a chill-out mood. Relax and enjoy. The trumpet in the background should be from Jon Hassell here. Another very good track. The closer and title track is excatly how it should be. No drums. Ambient keyboard's background, very jazzy with the dark bass voice of David Sylvian making an excellent work.
In a periond during which I was going onto newage because of the general poorness of the musical scene this album has been one of the few valuable exceptions.
On this Sylvian's first solo album, he immersed himself in a fine array of musicians. But the big draw for me is Jon Hassell, who also co-wrote some of the songs. Hassell's effects enhanced trumpet adds an eeriness that no other instrument can achieve.
The compositions are fairly simple. The band sets up a simple rhythm, and layers the instrumentation over it into a complex sounding pastiche.
The technique works quite well, even though Sylvian often seems to be making up the melodies as he is going along. It makes this an intriguing and fun album to listen to, but the songs don't remain in your head after it's over. It's a good album, and a nice start ti his solo career. You must be a forum member to post a review, please register here if you are not. Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved.
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