Monday, October 26, 2009

Album Review: David Sylvian - Manafon


David Sylvian continues his retreat from the mainstream with his latest album. Entitled Manafon, which is a parish in Wales, the music within is unconventional to say the least. Almost all of the 9 songs take the same form, sparse instrumentation, made up of some brief snatches of classical music, occasional acoustic guitar and other random noises, with Sylvian's voice centre-stage on all but one of the tracks. Upon repeated listens, his voice becomes almost intrusive in parts. The music is compelling, in that it does not follow linear, 'song-like' forms, though it's a stretch to say it's thoroughly enjoyable.

The overall effect is that of Sylvian warbling over almost random music (all the backing tracks were improvised with a large cast of collaborators). It's possibly his most difficult album, you need to be in a certain frame of mind to listen to it. It's light years away from his solo work of the 80s and 90s. I can't honestly say it's a success as after about 5 weeks of listening I'm no further into it.