The Guardian - David Sylvian "The Good Son vs The Only Daughter"


The Good Son vs The Only Daughter comprises nine remixed songs from the 2003 album Blemish by former Japan singer David Sylvian. What's fascinating about these reworkings is the uncliched way in which they flesh out and narrow down Sylvian's wayward originals to make a better album. Burnt Friedman's remix of the endless title track clocks in at 4.50, its spare structure shaded subtly by Hayden Chisholm's clarinet. The Heart Knows Better, remixed by Sweet Billy Pilgrim, is almost funky, with a clattering rhythm part. Jan Bang and Erik Honore's version of The Only Daughter has brooding trumpet by Nils Petter Molvaer.

Whether the remixers' tastes run to music boxes (A Fire in the Forest), acoustic chamber ensembles (Ryoji Ikeda's version of The Only Daughter) or throbbing laptop bass (The Good Son mixed by Yoshihiro Hanno) the mixes suit Sylvian's mannered delivery to a T. There are moments in The Good Son when you might image that it's Phil Cornwell doing a backstage David Bowie impersonation while Billy Jenkins practises in the background. In fact the scenario is even more unlikely: guitarist Derek Bailey is the song's co-composer. The big production number of this new, highly recommended collection is another Sylvian/ Bailey winner called How Little We Need to Be Happy, mixed by Tatsuhiko Asano with a lush, Tears for Fears-style electronic orchestration. Derek Bailey on pop radio? About time!

February 11, 2005

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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.