Tag Archives: David Sylvian

Hidden 80′s Gems – Part 3 1983

In 1983, me and my girlfriend walked into my favourite record store, not looking for anything special, just in the mood for looking through the boxes, as we so often did back then. Right there was this strange face in this wonderful painting, looking at something we could not see.

I bought the record without listening first, had to get that album, just because I instantly loved the cover.
Turns out it was Japan – Oil on Canvas – 1983, a live album with a few unreleased tracks, by a new wave band, I had never heard of before. Later I came to love David Sylvian’s solo works, not to mention what Richard Barbieri would do with Porcupine Tree. At this point I was just stunned by having picked up this masterpiece.

Turns out at the point I discovered Japan, they had just split up, the album was mainly live tracks from their last tour, and a few studio tracks recorded by the members separately. They would reunite for the “Rain Tree Crow” one album project (1991) but this was the last Japan album.

Today I know all Japan albums, but this one still is my “Japan” album, seems to me, all the studio albums misses something spiritual, something extra, that I get from Oli on Canvas, a sense that I’m in this Asian temple, and the music is only playing in my mind to get me in the right mood, and I can’t get it out, can concentrate, for my Zen Buddhist meditation session, that I’m having with this beautiful Asian girl, dressed in orange. (wake up, wake up,finish the post !!)

David Sylvian and Robert Fripp

Friday is Fripp day
What a Fripp
So lets Fripp out.

Fripp and Sylvian had been working together on some of Sylvians solo albums and in 1993 they did an album together as “David Sylvian and Robert Fripp”, The First Day. With former Peter Gabriel drummer Jerry Marotta, and Fripp’s “guitar craft” student Trey Gunn, who had also participated on Fripp’s “Sunday All Over the World” project, with Fripp’s wife Toyah Willcox as vocalist.
The First Day, was followed by touring and a life album, “Damage”.

The band had changed a bit, on “Damage” Jerry Marotta was replaced by former Mr. Mister drummer Pat Mastelotto. He would, like Trey Gunn, soon become members of Fripp’s flagship, King Crimson, and they had expanded with Infinite Guitarist Michael Brook (*).

“Damage” works better for me than “The First Day”, it becomes much more interesting live. Sylvians soft voice, the music stretching from sometimes ambient, sometimes very catchy and accessible, to long heavy almost Industrial sections, pointing towards the music King Crimson would later be making in the 90’s and 00’s. Everything Spiced up by Fripp’s unique soloing.

(*) Michael Brook created The Infinite Guitar, allowing an electric guitar note to be held with infinite sustain. In addition to his own instrument, Brook produced two Infinite Guitars, one of which belongs to Daniel Lanois, the other to The Edge of U2.