sparkle - David Sylvian "Manafon"


David Sylvian has been on a real artistic journey since his glam-era beginnings as lead singer in “Japan” in the late 70´s, and then his New Romantic 80´s tag as the “most beautiful man in pop”, through to his intelligent solo-work where he grew into an innovative and experimental writer and performer. Manafon, is his 21st album release after Japan and is one to cherish.

His voice is so rich in texture throughout that the sparse musical backing emphasizes its subtle grace.
The songs sound very personal and are rich in imagery, but several tracks stand-out for me. “Emily Dickenson” is a beautiful track which ends with some great abstract music.

I also love “Small Metal Gods” in which David sings “I’ve placed the gods in a zip lock bag, I’ve put them in a draw, they’ve refused my prayers for the umpteenth time, so I’m evening the score.”
The centre piece of this album is the 11 minute “The Greatest Living Englishman” with David’s underplayed vocal letting the story unfold and breathe .The song is about a suicide note and includes the lines “Well he was never gonna be the greatest living Englishman, he had ideas above his station. Minor virtues go unmentioned”

A truly captivating album by David which you need to take time to listen to, but you will be rewarded by its beauty and depth with repeated plays.

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Website design and build: Rebels In Control, after cover art by Chris Bigg. Art direction: David Sylvian. Banner images from the Hypergraphia book.