Magnet - David Sylvian "Blemish"

01.06.05

Look past his polite, crushed-velvet croon, the somber sequencers and his talk of secret beehives, and my guess is David Sylvian wants to make noise. On his first self-released album, Sylvian—with occasional contributions from sampler-wiz Christian Fennesz and guitarist Derek Bailey—ditches the moody orchestrations, Satie-still pianos and drip-dry jazz passages. Instead, Blemish holds the natural ambience of a studio hostage by any means necessary: violently with stabbing guitars, passively with puckering reverberation and burning tube amps. Sylvian's melting-ice voice and dadaist lyrics seem like an afterthought grafted to the buzz of the title track, the spooky "The Good Son" and the unkempt "She Is Not." His non-linear vocal melodies (he can't not sound as if he's crooning) slither through plucked bits of "How Little We Need To Be Happy" with smiling discomfort. Faced with conventional, if not threadbare, tunes, Sylvian becomes grand in comparison, humming and mumbling through the subtlest opera of tweaked, quaking noises.

A.D. AMOROSI

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