Saturday, April 13, 2013

Why Brilliant Trees?

Why is David Sylvian's 1984 release Brilliant Trees my seventh favorite album of all-time?

The moods and melodies of post rock maestro David Sylvian. Free of his band, JAPAN, (and its glam image) for the first time, David is writing and performing the experimental music he wants to write.

The amazing, incomparable voice of David Sylvian.

The unique drumming/percussion contributions of David's brother, Steve Jansen.

The presence of trumpeters extraordinaire Kenny Wheeler, Mark Isham and John Hassell.

The unique contribution of synthesizer/keyboard master, Ryuichi Sakamoto.

The presence and ingenius contributions of former Can member and radio-head, Holger Czukay.

The diversity of Side One.

The beauty and emotion of "Nostalgia." Kenny Wheeler's horn play is amazing--as is David's vocal.

The incredible flow and perfection of Side Two--one of those all-too rare "perfect sides."

The drop dead beauty of "Weathered Wall." The genius of the collaboration of Jon Hassell and David Sylvian is first unleashed.

The incredible innovativeness of "Backwaters." The genius of the match of Holger Czukay and David Sylvian is first unleashed.

The of the album's finale, its title song, "Brilliant Trees." The genius of the collaboration between Jon Hassell and David Sylvian is repeated with breathtaking effect.

My review from ProgArchives:

One of my all-time favorite album sides (Side 2) from one of the 80's few and true innovators of musical sound, structure and mood.

1. "Pulling Punches" (5:01) a great, quirky start to this eye-opening album. (8/10) 

2. "The Ink in the Well" (4:29) beautiful and spacey, though lacking catchy melody. (6/10) 

3. "Nostalgia" (5:39) is a prog "pop" masterpiece. What a mood, what powerful melody and lyrics, what horns (trumpet grâce á Kenny Wheeler). The song that made me a David Sylvian devoté. (10/10) 

4. "Red Guitar" (5:07) is an okay song--more like JAPAN than his new direction. (5/10) 

5. "Weathered Wall" (5:40) my second introduction to JON HASSELL (ENO's "Ambient 4: On Land" was my first). Stunning emotional impact everytime I listen to it. One of the great songs ever recorded. (11/10) 

6. "Backwaters" (4:49) has amazing samples/radio inicidentals from HOLGER CZUKAY. Love the bass line. (9/10) 

7. "Brilliant Trees" (8:35) almost as powerful and awesome as "Weathered Wall" HASSELL just blows me away!! (10/10)

This album has some 'weaker' songs and therefore can't quite gain masterpiece status, but, as with MANY other albums, there are some masterful songs contained herein--including that rarest of feats--a near-'perfect' side! Plus, this album stands up very well over time (as opposed to so many other albums from the 80s). 

4.5 stars marked down for 'Foxtrot/Selling England-like' lows.

1 comment:

  1. Hi: do you know the name of the singer in the sample used at the start of "Nostalgia"?