New York Times - David Sylvian "Manafon"

28.09.09

Maturity comes on as a wrenching process in the songs that make up “Manafon” (Samadhisound), an artfully elusive new album by David Sylvian. “I’m dumping you, my childish things,” he sings in the opening track, “Small Metal Gods.” Later, on the ballad “Random Acts of Senseless Violence,” he issues this progress report: “I’ve put away my childish things/Abandoned my silence too.” It may be that Mr. Sylvian, the former front man of the new-wave band Japan, is denouncing his own glossy history. Here he’s on haunted-troubadour territory, as he was on his 2003 album “Blemish,” slowly enunciating his verses in a dark and confidential baritone. He places every kind of faith in the judgment of his musicians, experimentalists like the electronics artist Christian Fennesz, the turntable specialist Otomo Yoshihide and the saxophonist Evan Parker. Paired with his calmly despairing lyrics, their textures add up to a stark and ruthless tapestry. The songs themselves are wisps; the sentiments are heavy as lead.

NATE CHINEN

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