As Mr S prepares to tread the boards once more, his own label issues this single piece of musique concrete recorded to be part of an art installation in the titular island's major gallery to whet more adventurous fans' appetites. For those who found Sylvian’s project with Fennesz and Derek Bailey, Blemish, a little challenging may be well advised to stop reading now. When Loud Weather…definitely sits in the box marked ‘left field’
Conceived as a work in progress to be completed by the external sounds of the actual Chichu Art Gallery, When Loud Weather…is a collage of found sound, drones and contributions from a ensemble of big-hitters in the European avant fraternity including shakuhachi maestro, Clive Bell, guitarist Christian Fennesz and Norwegian trumpet/electronics genius, Arve Henriksen.
Moving between snatched conversation, tape hiss, meteorological ambience and the contributions of the above players, Sylvian hoped to create a ‘multiple exposure’ of the spiritual and emotional life of this ancient island where old and new exist cheek-by-jowl. The various sounds of the island are mixed into the original recording to give one a sense of how it must have sounded in situ.
A formal discussion of something so nebulous can only result in empty conjecture. But with such a stellar cast Sylvian’s on safe ground anyway. All of the players involve have been responsible for some of the most beautiful music of the last few years. Not least Henriksen, whose angelic vocal chords are here used to stunning effect.
This isn’t as such one of Sylvian’s major works, but it shows how far the man has come in recent years and how carefully and wisely he’s choosing his fellow travellers. Never less than beautiful, When Loud Weather... deserves to given space next to his more mainstream work.
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